Nourish your brain for optimal health

Did you know that cognitive decline can be delayed even later in life if you make lifestyle changes?

Many studies done on brain health have indicated that improving your diet and exercising your brain can help cognitive activity. Eating foods rich in antioxidants, physical activity, and keeping your brain sharp with games and learning are all important for a healthy brain.

Even though cognitive decline can begin as early as our 20s, not all cognitive functions decline at an early age. Cognitive skills refer to our ability to make rapid comparisons, remember unrelated information and detect relationships. However, vocabulary or general knowledge consistently increases until at least age 60, so we still can gain knowledge even though the brain’s ability to make connections slows.

If you’d like to make some changes in your diet or lifestyle to improve your brain health, the North Dakota State University Extension Service can help. The Extension office in Ward County is holding a class from 10 to 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 31, in the Ex-servicemen’s Room of the Ward County Courthouse, 315-3rd St. SE. For more information, call 857-6450.

This class is part of NDSU Extension’s Nourishing Boomers and Beyond program. The program is designed to provide North Dakotans age 50 and older with information and strategies to reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases. However, any adult can benefit from the information.

Nourishing Boomers and Beyond offers classes on a different topic each month. Participants will be able to take part in hands-on activities and discussions, and they’ll receive material such as handouts and healthful recipes to take home. You’ll learn about oxidative damage control, eating heart- and brain-healthy, and ways to help your memory.

Visit the program’s website at ( if you aren’t able to attend a class or want more information on the topic covered in a session. Anyone can sign up for the free monthly newsletter by visiting the website or contacting your local Extension office. We’re also now on Pinterest at “nourishboomers.” Another website with fun, online games, exercises and information is at (

(Louise Tegtmeier is an intern with Ward County office of the North Dakota State University Extension Service.)