As we age, our cognitive function—which includes memory, decision-making, processing speed, wisdom, and learning—begins to decline, too. From memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s, an aging brain can be affected by many conditions that impact our day-to-day activities.

According to a recent study carried out by the Institute of Medicine, [1] certain factors that have a high influence on our aging brain can be controlled. Here are the top three actions you can take to protect the cognitive health of your brain.

1. Regular Exercise
The report highlighted several specific actions scientifically proven to keep your brain healthy, the most important of which was regular physical exercise. Various scientific studies carried out in the past have shown a direct correlation between exercise and a healthy functioning brain. [2] Experts recommend aerobic exercise as one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of early memory decline. [3] A moderate exercise routine every day can also reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

2. Manage Your Cardiovascular Health
Diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels have a huge impact on your brain health. Maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system from early childhood not only decreases your risk of heart ailments, but is also associated with increased intelligence and better cognitive skills. People with a healthy heart and blood vessels have healthier brains and are at a lower risk of strokes, a major cause of cognitive impairment. Here’s how you can keep your heart healthy.

3. Eat A Brain-Boosting Diet
A healthy diet loaded with brain-boosting nutrients can protect your brain from age-related mental illnesses. Cocoa, which is rich in flavanols, has been shown to improve the functions of a specific part of the brain associated with memory loss due to aging. Foods packed with omega-3 fats like fish, walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds are beneficial, too. Antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries, pomegranate, cranberries and certain herbs can also protect brain against the damage of free radicals.

For more interesting stories, visit our Health page and read about other Natural Remedies here.

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1. Institute of Medicine Report: Cognitive Aging An Action Guide for Individuals and Families

2. Tomporowski PD. Effects of acute bouts of exercise on cognition. Acta Psychol (Amst). 2003 Mar;112(3):297-324. Review. PubMed PMID: 12595152.

3. Hindin SB, Zelinski EM. Extended practice and aerobic exercise interventions benefit untrained cognitive outcomes in older adults: a meta-analysis. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 Jan;60(1):136-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03761.x. Epub 2011 Dec 8. Review. PubMed PMID: 22150209; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4130646.