Although memory loss is a common sign of aging, leading a healthy lifestyle can help prevent or at least lessen cognitive decline as we get older. Diet plays an important role in regulating mental health—certain herbs and foods can boost brain health—and healthy eating habits can maintain consistent blood sugar levels, which also helps prevent cognitive decline.
Levels of glucose in our blood are directly tied to our abilities to functional mentally. When blood sugar levels are low, we have trouble concentrating and processing information. High blood sugar, however, has the ability to affect our cognitive performance over the long run. Recent research from Columbia University Medical Center has shown that high blood sugar levels lead to decreased blood flow to the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in forming and storing memories. When blood sugar levels are consistently high, the body makes extra insulin, leading to inflammation and oxidative stress of the brain. As we grow older, our bodies become less capable of regulating blood sugar, which may help explain age-related memory decline.
To maintain consistent blood sugar levels, avoid foods high in refined carbohydrates, which your body will quickly turn into sugar, and opt instead for foods high fiber. Food such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains are a good choice.