Making Meaning of Menopause: Nourishing Your Noggin

With an aging US population, Alzhemiers and Dementia have been a hot topic around aging. These conditions are diseases which impact the brain that can lead to changes in daily function. The onset of menopause can influence the production, connectivity, and death of brain cells. These dynamics, in turn, can impact brain regions essential for memory.¹ However, there are steps one can take to minimize the progression of cognitive decline that occurs during aging–keep reading to find out!

Preventive steps for optimal brain health

  1. Eating healthy. Did you know brain health is connected to heart health? Those with cardiovascular diseases are at higher risk for diseases such Alzhiemers.  Thus, it comes with no surprise that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables–and even fish can be beneficial for the brain. Specifically, research has proven that Mediterranean diets can significantly decrease risk of such brain impairments.²
  2. Physical activity. Staying physically active and eating a balanced diet often go hand-in-hand. In terms of brain health, this is no exception. Exercise does not just impact your physical health, but moderate exercise can also help protect against cognitive decline. Consider ways you can include more physical activity into your daily routines.
  3. Social Interaction. Research indicates that individuals with strong social connections are less prone to cognitive decline. One study revealed that individuals experiencing loneliness may face up to a 40% increased risk of dementia.³ Engaging in social activities not only enhances attention and memory, but also may strengthen the connections between brain cells. You may want to consider connecting with old friends, or perhaps joining different social groups such as places of worship or volunteering organizations. 
  4. Brain Exercises. Engaging in moderately difficult cognitive tasks may delay the onset of certain neurological diseases. One study found that those who had more engagement in cognitive tasks such as reading and completing puzzles, were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s later in life in comparison to those who were diagnosed at a younger age with lower activity levels. As you age, continue to read, whether that’s a book, news article, or blogs like this one. Even if you are not a fan of reading, engaging in mindfulness games such as chess can provide benefits!

In many cases, it is easy to overlook the connection between brain health and menopause. However, there are several opportunities to prevent or delay declines in cognitive function as we age. If you have any questions or concerns regarding what to expect during your transition into menopause, schedule an appointment with us!!

  1. Goldstein. Menopause and memory: Know the facts. Harvard Health. Published November 3, 2021.
  2. MPH MT MD. What’s good for the heart is good for the mind. Harvard Health. Published November 23, 2018.
  3. Sutin AR, Stephan Y, Luchetti M, Terracciano A (2018) Loneliness and risk of dementia. J Gerontol Series B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 75, 1414–1422.

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