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November 23, 2021 4 min read

So what does cognitive aging mean? We’re sure it doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone that as we get older, our mental functions decrease and aspects of our memory decline. We’ll talk about how we can improve cognitive function naturally a little later but for now, let’s look at the effects of cognitive aging. According to Leslie Kernisan, MD there are four key ways that cognitive function is affected by aging.

Slower Processing speed

As the name suggests, this refers to how quickly the brain can process information and then provide a response. Processing speed decreases with age and starts in early adulthood. This means that older adults (especially in their 70’s and 80’s) need more time to take in information to think of a response. Slow processing times can also make complex tasks that require quick decision-making a major struggle. A practical example of this is driving since it involves noticing and processing a lot of information and requires quick, decision-making skills.


Memory Loss

Memory is such a broad category including a variety of sub-types like working memory (the ability to temporarily hold information), semantic long-term memory (factual information), episodic memory (personal experiences), procedural memory (learning and remembering a skill set), and more. What’s so interesting is that although memory definitely changes with age, different types will decline and others that remain stable. For example, according to SOURCE working, episodic and prospective memory all tend to decline with age. However, procedural and semantic memory tends to maintain stability with age.

Declines in working memory mean that older adults may take longer solving complex problems, be more forgetful, and may need more time to learn a new skill set.


Decreased Level of Attention

Like memory, there are different forms or levels of attention. As adults get older, their selective (focused regardless of present distractions) attention and divided (multi-tasking) attention levels tend to get worse with aging. However, sustained, or the ability to remain concentrated on something for a long period is not overtly effective by the aging process. What this means is that older adults are more easily distracted by noise and will also struggle with multi-tasking.


Language Skills

Although a person’s vocabulary and reading comprehension tend to remain stable with aging, speech comprehension can decline with age. For example, an older adult may pause more while they’re in the middle of talking and spelling becomes increasingly difficult.


How To Improve Cognitive Function Naturally

Ok, are you ready for the good news? With the right action plan, you can improve your cognitive function naturally. Here’s how to improve Cognitive function naturally:


1. Continuously learn new things

According to Dr. Axe, learning new things and getting out of your comfort zone enables your brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections. Here are some ideas that you can try:

  • Learn a new language or instrument
  • Play challenging games like chess or even scrabble
  • Learn a new sport or activity
  • Play Board games or crossword puzzles

  • 2. Exercise

    Staying active can help cognitive function by:

  • Building resilience against stress
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Increase circulation and oxygen to your brain
  • Managing inflammation

  • Rritual Superfoods - How To Improve Cognitive Function Naturally


    3. Get enough sleep

    As the saying goes, we need about 7-8 hours of good quality sleep each night. This allows us to wake up feeling more energized, focused, creative and enhance our problem-solving abilities. Some ways that you can ensure you catch enough z’s is to:

  • Limit screen time before bed
  • Decrease your alcohol intake
  • Enjoy soothing activities like stretching and listening to music before bed

  • 4. Prioritize relationships

    Did you know that studies have shown that meaningful relationships can help defend the brain against damage? You can start to implement more of this in your life by:

  • Make an effort to reach out to others often
  • Find an active community that interests you or try a new hobby
  • Laughter and physical affection can help to release happy hormones like oxytocin
  • Spend time with positive people and those who make you feel good


  • What Foods Improve Cognitive Function

    Spoiler alert: the foods you eat massively impact your brain health. So, to keep it in peak working condition here’s our top 10 list of foods that you can introduce into your diet that will help promote cognitive function.

  • Fatty fish
  • Coffee
  • Blueberries
  • Turmeric
  • Broccoli
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Oranges
  • Eggs
  • In addition to these natural food sources, sometimes it is beneficial to include supplements as well. Rritual’s Lion’s Mane Focus supplement powder helps support a healthy response to stress and helps promote mental agility, focus, creativity, and overall cognitive performance.


    How To Test Cognitive Function

    If you’re concerned about your own or a loved one’s cognitive function, it’s important to know the difference between normal signs of aging and more worrisome changes. Taking note of these symptoms and bringing them to the attention of your health care provider is always a great idea. This is a great resource if you’d like more information on how you can test cognitive function.

     

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