Holidays

This is why that Thanksgiving meal may boost your brain

Here’s why that Thanksgiving meal may boost your brain

The process of planning a Thanksgiving meal alone exercises the brain, according to the research. And the social aspects of gathering with loved ones is good for brain health, too.
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The process of planning a Thanksgiving meal alone exercises the brain, according to the research. And the social aspects of gathering with loved ones is good for brain health, too.

Can that Thanksgiving meal you’ll be planning and sharing with family and friends be good for the brain?

Yes, according to Dr. Marwan Sabbagh, director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

He said many brain processes are involved in planning, shopping for and preparing a meal. These tasks involve organizing, prioritizing, problem solving, multitasking and remaining focused.

And the social aspects of gathering with loved ones is good for brain health, too, the doctor said.

“People who are socially isolated are more likely to be depressed, more likely to have suicide, more likely to have cognitive decline,” he said. “But people who are socially engaged are more likely to have a social network, more likely to be happier in general, and it’s been shown very clearly they have better cognitive outcomes so, social stimulation is part of the meal.”

Research from the National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine shows that social relationships benefit health overall, and that includes brain health.

“Social relationships - both quantity and quality - affect mental health, health behavior, physical health and mortality risk,” concluded the NIH/NLM study titled “Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy.”

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