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What Is Cognitive Health, And How Do You Improve It?

August 02, 2022
What Is Cognitive Health, And How Do You Improve It?

Do you ever feel like you can’t focus? That your mind is just a little too foggy for your liking? You’re not alone. Cognitive health is something that a lot of people struggle with, especially as they get older. But what is cognitive health, exactly? And more importantly, how can you improve your cognitive function and protect your brain from age-related decline? Stay tuned – we’re about to find out!

How Does The Brain work?

A picture of a plastic brain model and kidney model

Before we dive into the topic of cognitive health, let’s take a quick look at how the brain works. The human brain is made up of billions of nerve cells or neurons. These neurons communicate with each other through electrical and chemical signals.

The electrical signals are created by the movement of ions across the cell membrane. This creates a tiny current that travels down the length of the neuron. The chemical signals are created by neurotransmitters, which are released from one neuron and bind to receptors on another neuron.

This process is known as synaptic transmission, and it’s how information flows from one neuron to another. When information reaches the end of a neuron, it triggers an electrical signal that then travels to the next neuron in line.

The brain is constantly processing information, and it does this by sending electrical signals back and forth between neurons. All of these functions are known as neural communication.

What Is Cognitive Health?

Simply put, cognitive health is your brain’s ability to function at its best. This includes everything from your ability to remember things to your capacity for critical thinking and decision-making. When your cognitive function is strong, you’re able to think clearly and make decisions quickly and easily. However, when it starts to decline, you may find yourself struggling with things like forgetfulness, brain fog, and difficulty concentrating.

According to studies, risk factors for cognitive decline include some medicines, incorrect usage of them, lack of physical activity, poor diet, and smoking. They can also be caused by drinking too much alcohol, having sleep difficulties, limited social interaction, or being alone most of the time.

Why Is Cognitive Health Important?

A picture of a plastic brain model sliced into two

Cognitive health is important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it’s essential for your overall quality of life. When your cognitive function starts to decline, it can have a major impact on your ability to do the things you enjoy and live independently.

Additionally, cognitive decline has been linked to an increased risk of developing dementia, which is a progressive brain disorder that causes memory loss, changes in behavior, and difficulties with activities of daily living.

What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment?

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a term used to describe the transition between normal cognitive decline associated with aging and the first signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. According to research, 10% to 20% of people over 65 years old have Mild Cognitive Impairment, and this is often difficult to detect.

Mild Cognitive Impairment could be categorized into two different types:

Amnestic mild cognitive impairment: This refers to memory issues, such as forgetting recent facts and details of conversations or losing personal items.

Non-amnestic mild cognitive impairment: This refers to difficulties in other areas, such as attention and focus, rather than memory. It also includes issues with planning and decision-making abilities, language skills (for example, difficulty in locating or choosing words), and so on.

Although recognizing Mild Cognitive Impairment might be tough, it is critical because it is the first step to detecting it before it deteriorates any further.

Cognitive Health: What Are Cognitive Disorders?

A cognitive disorder is any condition that impacts your cognitive abilities, such as thinking and processing information. These disorders can range from mild to severe, and they can be temporary or permanent. Some common examples of cognitive disorders include Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, ADHD, and autism.

Cognitive disorders can have a major impact on your quality of life, as they affect cognitive functioning. Additionally, cognitive disorders are often accompanied by other mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression.

Cognitive disorders are usually diagnosed by a team of healthcare professionals, including a psychiatrist, neurologist, and psychologist. The diagnosis process usually involves a comprehensive evaluation that includes a medical history, physical examination, cognitive testing, and sometimes brain imaging.

Examples of cognitive disorders include:

Alzheimer’s disease: Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative brain disorder that causes memory loss, changes in behavior, and difficulties with activities of daily living. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and it affects more than 5 million Americans.

Motor function disorders: Motor function disorders are conditions that impact your ability to control your muscles. Some common examples of motor skill disorders include Parkinson’s disease and cerebral palsy.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes difficulties with focus, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. It is one of the most common childhood disorders, and it often persists into adulthood.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD): ASD is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social interaction, communication, and behavior. ASD can range from mild to severe, and it impacts 1 in 59 children in the United States.

What Are Common Symptoms Of Cognitive Disorders?

Symptoms of cognitive disorders can vary depending on the specific disorder. However, some common symptoms include memory loss, difficulty concentrating, problems with executive function (such as planning and decision-making), and changes in behavior or mood.

Cognitive Health: What Is The Difference Between Mild Cognitive Impairment and Cognitive disorders?

Dementia Spelled With Scrabble Tiles

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a condition that is characterized by cognitive decline that is greater than what would be expected for an individual’s age and educational level. MCI does not necessarily impact an individual’s ability to function in everyday life. However, individuals with MCI are at an increased risk for developing dementia or other cognitive disorders.

Cognitive disorders, on the other hand, are conditions that cause significant impairment in A picture of a plastic brain model and kidney model cognition and daily functioning.

If you think you or someone you know may be struggling with a cognitive disorder, it’s important to seek professional help. A mental health professional will be able to diagnose the condition and develop a treatment plan that can improve your cognitive health.

Ways To Improve Your Cognitive Health And Build Cognitive Reserve

A picture of a plastic brain model

Although there is no cure for cognitive disorders, there are treatments that can help maintain cognitive health and improve quality of life. Additionally, there are some steps you can take to keep your brain healthy and reduce your risk of developing a cognitive disorder. Here are things you can do to improve brain health:

1. Eat A Plant-Based Diet

Research has shown that eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can improve cognitive function and protect against cognitive decline. Plant-based diets are also associated with lower rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Aim to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Also, include whole grains such as oats, quinoa, barley, and brown rice in your diet. Lastly, limit processed foods, sugary drinks, and red meat

2. Get Regular Exercise

Exercise has numerous benefits for our overall health, including improved brain function. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which helps to deliver essential nutrients and oxygen.

Additionally, exercise promotes the growth of new brain cells and connections. A sedentary lifestyle, on the other hand, has been linked to cognitive decline. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is essential for our overall health, including our cognitive health. Sleep gives our brains a chance to rest and repair. It also helps to consolidate memories and supports learning and decision-making. Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, there are some things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene:

4. Find Healthy Ways To Manage Stress

Chronic stress can have a negative impact on our cognitive health. When we’re stressed, our bodies release cortisol, a hormone that can damage brain cells and lead to inflammation. Chronic stress has also been linked to memory problems and an increased risk of dementia. There are some things you can do to reduce stress:

  • Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation

  • Spend time with friends and family

  • Do something you enjoy every day

5. Stimulate Your Mind

Cognitive stimulation — or mental stimulation — has been shown to improve cognitive function and protect against cognitive decline. Activities that challenge your mind can help keep your brain active and engaged. Some examples of cognitively stimulating activities include:

  • Reading books
  • Taking classes or learning a new skill
  • Traveling to new places

6. See Your Doctor Regularly

See your doctor regularly, even if you’re feeling healthy. This is especially important as you get older. Your doctor can screen for conditions that may contribute to cognitive decline, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Early diagnosis and treatment of these conditions can help to improve cognitive health and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

7. Take Advantage Of Natural Supplements

Natural supplements like maca root, shilajit, and sea moss have been shown to improve cognitive function. Maca root helps to improve memory and learning, while shilajit has been shown to improve reaction time and mental clarity.

Sea moss is rich in iodine, which is essential for cognitive function. Iodine helps to keep the thyroid gland functioning properly, which in turn helps to maintain a healthy brain.

You can get all of these supplements and more from our store. Click here to shop now.

Bottom Line

Cognitive disorders are conditions that impact your ability to think, remember, and process information. These disorders can range from mild to severe and can be temporary or permanent.

Some common examples of cognitive disorders include Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, ADHD, and autism.

If you think you or someone you know may be struggling with a cognitive disorder, it’s important to seek professional help. A mental health professional will be able to diagnose the condition and develop a treatment plan that can improve symptoms and functioning.

 

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