What is it?
Cognition is the ability to process information and transform it into knowledge, based on a set of brain skills such as perception, attention, association, imagination, judgment, reasoning, and memory.
How does aging affect cognition?
It is physiological that there will be a reduction in the brain over the years, called brain atrophy. This process of brain tissue loss is normal and occurs with all people, but may also be related to neurological diseases, such as dementia, when this loss occurs earlier than expected or in greater volume than physiological. Dementia also interferes with the independence of the elderly to perform daily activities.
How to maintain a good cognition?
Among the modifiable factors that can help keep the brain healthy are maintaining regular physical activities, doing cognitive training and maintaining a healthy diet, especially with a Mediterranean diet pattern, adequate omega 3 intake and a good variety of vegetables. The intake of B-complex vitamins and antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E can protect against cognitive decline. Adequate protein supply is also an important point to be raised, especially for the elderly, who already have a greater tendency to present with sarcopenia, so it is important both for the brain and for the maintenance of their muscle mass, and consequently, their independence.
How can feeding influence cognition?
The quality of the diet can influence cognition through the protective effects of food. Foods that act as antioxidants and free radical destroyers can reduce oxidative damage, negatively regulate inflammation and strengthen the antioxidant defense of neurons. Vegetables, fruits, soy products and whole grains are rich in antioxidants and phenolic compounds (e.g., flavonoids and lignanas), which have a neuroprotective effect. Seafood and fish are rich in N-3 fatty acids, which are antithrombotic and are also known to maintain neuronal membrane integrity.
Breastfeeding and child cognitive development
. 2019; 11(7):1666.