Recently, the VMRC Wellness Center offered a brain health series and food demonstration to help residents and Wellness Center members mind their mental fitness. The information and recipes provided were designed to optimize brain health and inform about the risk factors and preventative measures for dementia.

VMRC registered dietitian Julie Thurnau shared ways to prevent cognitive decline through diet. She opened her talk by citing an alarming statistic. 

“Dementia is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and it drives many people to search for ways to improve their cognition,” said Julie. “We all want to look for ways to pr

eserve it or make it stronger,” she added.

Risk factors for cognitive impairment include: 

  • Family History
  • Education Level
  • Brain Injury
  • Exposure to Pesticides or Toxins
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Chronic Conditions such as Heart Disease and Stroke

To decrease risk, Julie discussed the MIND diet, an acronym for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. 

The MIND diet focuses on avoiding trans and saturated fats and promotes plant-based eating. This diet also recommends whole grains, fruits and fish. Fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for our health.  VMRC’s dining team members provided a cooking demonstration – showing the audience how to prepare a smoked trout salad. The dish and others like it nourish the brain and body.

Exercise is also an essential factor for brain health.

Kylie Revely, Wellness Center fitness assistant, discussed cognition and physical activity. When we get moving, we enhance our learning, thinking, problem-solving and memory balance, according to Kylie.

“When you are physically active or when you exercise, your body goes through a process called neurogenesis, said Kylie. “Which is creating neurons in your brain.”

As we get older, neurogenesis, or the process of making nervous tissue such as neurons, begins to slow down. Regular exercise helps to induce neurogenesis. We can all make several types of activities part of our daily regimen. They include:   

  • Aerobics 
  • Resistance Training
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga

A guide to the types of activities that provide good workouts for our brains can be found here.

Have a little bit of time now?

Anytime is a good time to join VMRC’s Wellness Center. Call 540.574.3850 to inquire and become part of VMRC’s wellness family.

To see a recording of the full-length live broadcast watch below.