Board Games and Berries

Board games, berries, slow cognitive decline
If you buy something through a link on this page, Parkinson Diet may earn a small commission

What we eat has become an important focus of brain health due to its potential to delay cognitive decline which is a common non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s. While it’s a good idea to include foods like green leafy vegetables and berries in your diet, are there other ways to boost brain power and slow cognitive decline?

The answer is yes according to the results of a recent systematic review!

Fifteen studies were included in this review which assessed the impact of playing board games on older adults at risk of, or with cognitive impairment, or those with mild cognitive impairment at any age. The studies included different board games and most interventions lasted around an hour and were held once or twice per week for 3-4 months.

Board games

Although outcomes varied across the fifteen studies, overall, it was suggested that playing a board game such as Chess, Mahjong or Go may slow cognitive decline. Importantly playing these games socially was especially good at boosting brain power.

Chess and cognitive decline
Chess Buy now






Chess players reported improved quality of life from playing Chess, while those who played Mahjong reported improved executive functioning and a temporary decrease in depressive symptoms.

Mahjong and cognitive decline
Mahjong Classic Strategy Game  Buy now






Playing the game Go was linked with improved working memory. Results also suggested that playing Go and Chess had different biological effects with Go increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels and metabolism in areas key for cognition.

Go and cognitive decline
Go Classic Chinese Strategy Board game Buy now


Looking to the future

Further research has commenced with a randomized controlled trial underway at a Go and Chess club in Italy. Adults aged 60 and over with subjective cognitive decline or mild cognitive impairment are being placed in either a control group, a group that plays Chess, another that plays Go, and another that plays both Chess and Go. It will be interesting to see the outcomes of this study.


Final thoughts

Eating brain-healthy foods and playing board games may be a great way to boost brain power and improve your quality of life. So what are you waiting for, grab a board game, a bowl of berries and a friend of two and have a great time!

Board games, berries, slow cognitive decline




Parkinson Diet – Terms & conditions / Privacy policy