Earlier this year, Dr. Lisa Ryan, spoke at KHNI’s 2023 Health and Nutrition Trends webinar, highlighting the pivotal role of cognitive health in tying together various wellness trends. Emphasizing that mental well-being is the foundation for achieving desired activity levels and daily routines, Dr. Ryan stressed the impact of the pandemic on prompting reflection about the significance of mental health.
In the area of cognitive health, Dr. Ryan outlined several key aspects, including the ability to cope with daily routines, manage stress and anxiety, memory function, mood, and presence in daily life. Linking nutrition to cognitive health, she discussed the longstanding recommendations regarding Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a crucial omega-3 fatty acid, for children’s brain development. Notably, studies increasingly highlight the importance of omega-3s, both EPA and DHA, in maintaining cognitive health and potentially reducing cognitive decline throughout life.
Addressing oxidative stress, Dr. Ryan underscored the significance of antioxidants and polyphenols in the diet to support cognitive health and prevent decline. She recommended a diverse mix of antioxidants and polyphenols, emphasizing that no single antioxidant can effectively support the brain.
Hydration was identified as a consistent factor linked to cognitive health and function. Even a small percentage of dehydration can impact daily tasks, making it crucial to ensure adequate hydration. Dr. Ryan suggested exploring nutritional options that support both hydration and water retention.
Intriguingly, Dr. Ryan introduced the emerging category of adaptogens, acknowledging that while evidence is still being developed, there is adult and historical evidence suggesting their potential importance. Adaptogens, such as those found in certain communities, may play a role in managing stress and supporting cognitive health.
Dr. Ryan’s insights highlighted the intricate connection between cognitive health and overall well-being, with nutrition playing a crucial role in maintaining mental acuity and preventing cognitive decline. Dr. Lisa Ryan’s insights offered a holistic perspective, encouraging individuals to consider a comprehensive approach to support their cognitive health through nutrition, hydration, and emerging strategies like adaptogens.