It’s Not All About Food

10: It’s Not All About Food, Brain Food

FIT, ACTIVE, AND HEALTHY

Keeping the brain stimulated, whether physically or mentally, is a lifelong enterprise that can continually increase its cognitive reserve, allowing the brain a greater flexibility to tolerate age-related changes without developing memory loss and other cognitive difficulties. Participation in sports and leisure activities, higher education, intellectual exchange, work complexity, socializing with friends and family, and even our sleep—all contribute to our ability to sustain cognitive function well into our old age, giving us sharp memories and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.

With the minimum of drawbacks and plenty of benefits, a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle can improve our general health, protecting and supporting our brains over the course of a lifetime. In this chapter, we will explore which specific physical exercises, intellectual and social activities, and even sleep habits are necessary to keep our brains functioning at peak performance level.

BE SMART: EXERCISE YOUR HEART

The rumba and the cha-cha-cha . . . horseback riding and even snorkeling. While these might not be the first things that come to mind when contemplating how to keep your brain in top shape, they might very well be the ideal prescription.

Exercise has been touted to be a cure for nearly everything, from menstrual cramps and osteoporosis to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and depression. It is also the latest addition to the growing list of lifestyle factors that help protect our brains against disease.

However, the evidence that exercise provides substantial benefits for the brain has yet to be fully accepted by the mainstream medical community. For example, if you were to see a neurologist with concerns about memory loss, it’s unlikely you’d walk out with a prescription for physical therapy or exercise. Even the most enlightened of doctors would be hard-pressed to recommend a specific fitness regime as an answer to your prayers. Should I run every day? Lift weights? Take a Pilates class? The truth is, there are still no uniformly established medical recommendations for “brain fitness.”

But we are getting there. An emerging body of scientific literature is documenting the beneficial influence of physical activity on the brain as well as on the body. The physically fit elderly typically perform better on reasoning and working memory tasks, and their reaction time is also quicker than that of the sedentary elderly.

There are many good reasons for your brain to enjoy exercise. First, exercise promotes heart health—and as we discussed before, what’s good for the heart is good for the brain. Physical activity, especially aerobic (the kind of exercise that makes your heart beat faster), enhances blood flow and circulation, improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your brain, and also slows down the buildup of plaque in your arteries. This is particularly useful as we age, since our blood flow to the brain would otherwise naturally slow down.

Exercise is also a natural antidepressant. Don’t you feel more relaxed and in a much better mood after a workout? Your brain does, too. That’s because exercise pumps up your endorphins, our bodies’ natural painkillers, while increasing production of serotonin, making you feel happier. The famous “joggers’ high” is nothing less than exercise impacting the opioid system in the brain—the same system that is activated by drugs like opium, a muscle relaxant. Exercise however allows us a natural high as it delivers pain relief, relaxation, and even euphoria, producing an overall sense of well-being.

It doesn’t end there. One of the prominent yet underappreciated features of exercise is an improvement in memory performance. Studies have shown that physical activity stimulates memory formation, increases our neurons’ ability to recover from injury, and is exceptionally beneficial to the formation of brand-new brain cells. The more you work out, the more your brain produces a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which plays a key role in growing memory-forming neurons.

On top of that, physical activity enhances immune system activity, increasing our defenses against disease, and even boosts the enzymatic activity that is particularly effective at dissolving Alzheimer’s plaques in the brain, further reducing risk of memory loss and dementia.

To sum it all up, exercising your body does a whole lot of good, not least of all for your brain.

Before we leap into action, let’s consider the emerging scientific view of what constitutes brain-boosting exercise in the first place. In general, there is consensus that people who engage in regular physical activity are more likely to remain mentally sharp as compared to those who are sedentary. For example, a study of nearly two thousand elderly participants found that those who engaged in activities such as walking, running, jogging, or bicycling had a 43 percent lower risk of losing their mental capacities as they aged.

However, further studies have shown that as long as you keep active, you might not need to “work out” at all. A number of studies have shown that regular engagement in leisure-time activities (LTA) during midlife can reduce your risk of cognitive decline later in life. Although we don’t typically think of these activities as “exercise,” whenever you engage in activities that require a certain amount of movement (such as taking the stairs instead of an elevator, going for a stroll in the park, doing house cleaning, or even babysitting), you are working your body as well as your brain. It’s not about intensity as much as frequency and consistency. In fact, the study above showed that even those who engaged in light physical activity, such as leisurely walking or gardening, had a 35 percent reduced risk of dementia as compared to those leading more sedentary lives, which isn’t much less than the 43 percent risk reduction achieved by jogging.

While more strenuous activity might yield greater benefits, many people, especially the elderly or those with injuries, simply can’t tolerate exercises like high-intensity training, running, jogging, or spinning. The good news is that working your body as much as you can, while keeping active throughout the day in a consistent fashion, is an excellent strategy to boost your memory and age-proof your mind. The goal is to keep moving.

This is crucial, as study after study is showing that leading a sedentary life simply makes your brain age faster. In particular, the memory centers of the brain are known to shrink in late adulthood, leading to impaired memory and reduced mental sharpness. By using brain imaging techniques like an MRI, several teams reported that this shrinkage is much more pronounced in the sedentary elderly than in those who remain active. When my colleagues and I looked into this, we found similar results in people who were in their thirties and forties, indicating that a sedentary life is harmful to your brain regardless of how old you are.

In general, the term “sedentary” refers to people who participate in sports or leisurely activities less than once a week or not at all. If the longest you walk is from the couch to the car, or if you spend more time horizontal (or seated) than vertical, it’s time to get up.

I hear some “buts.” But what if I’ve never worked out in my life? But I’m really out of shape. But I have bad knees, a bad back, a bad heart! How do I turn all that around?

It’s true what they say: it is actually never too late to make a change. Clinical trials show that the mere act of walking can slow down brain shrinkage in just one year’s time. That’s regardless of whether the participants are used to walking or not. For instance, a study of 120 sedentary adults assigned half of them to a walking program aimed at improving aerobic fitness. The other half was assigned to a toning program that included exercises like yoga or stretching but no aerobic activity. In the exercise program, participants were assigned walking as their sole exercise. They were asked to start by walking ten minutes a day and to do so at a speed slightly faster than their normal pace. Little by little, everybody was able to increase their walking speed and duration until they reached a preset goal of forty minutes of nonstop brisk walking, three times per week. No huffing and puffing were necessary. The pace was that of walking when in a hurry or as if late for a doctor’s appointment.

MRI scans demonstrated that this simple exercise regimen had incredible effects on the brain. In older adults, the hippocampus typically shrinks by 1 percent to 2 percent a year, which is what continued to happen in the group that was doing toning rather than walking exercise. But in the exercise group that was walking briskly, the hippocampus grew by 2 percent, producing an increase in memory performance. Therefore, those who did nothing more than walk at a relatively quick pace effectively rolled back their brains’ clock by almost two years.

FROM HEART TO HEAD

So far we’ve seen that whether we’re talking about diet or exercise, what’s good for the heart is good for the brain. There’s a saying in the cardiology community that you’re only as old as your arteries. If your arteries age, it wears out your heart, which in turn wears out your brain. And yet, far from just pumping oxygen and nutrients to the brain, the human heart turns out to have more impact on aging than ever imagined. In fact, your heart is secretly helping you remain mentally and physically young in spite of time marching on.

The secret lies within the rejuvenating properties of our blood.

As shocking as this might sound, the rejuvenating properties of our blood have long been recognized, so much so that people have tried drinking blood as an anti-aging treatment for hundreds of years. The idea of refreshing old blood with new harkens back to the fifteenth century, when Pope Innocent VIII allegedly drank the blood of young boys to prevent aging. Legend says Countess Elizabeth Báthory, the most prolific female serial killer in history, murdered hundreds of her young servants so she could take baths in their blood and preserve her youthful looks. Stories of vampires that remain eternally young by feasting on blood have been part of pop culture since the 1700s.

It was only a matter of time before the subject would come under science’s scrutiny. In the nineteenth century, scientists started experimenting with a procedure called parabiosis—a mismatched joining of dissimilar pairs of animals achieved by stitching together their respective skins. Biology did the rest. Natural wound-healing processes led to new blood vessel growth, sealing the circulatory systems of the animals together and allowing their blood to flow from one to the other.

In the 1950s, a group of scientists in New York City used this method to join the circulatory systems of two mice, one old and one young, which ended up sharing their blood supply. This produced some remarkable results. The blood of the young mouse seemed to bring new life to the aging organs of the old mouse, which grew stronger and healthier. Its heart and lungs started functioning better. Even its coat grew shinier. Less advantageous things happened in the opposite direction, as the young mouse receiving the older animal’s blood appeared to age prematurely. In the end, the old mouse ended up living several months longer than average—which is a significant time for a mouse. This suggested that the blood of the younger mouse might very well be responsible for increasing its longevity.

Only just recently this method was used to show that exposure to young blood can indeed perk up the brains of older animals. A series of studies showed that when older mice were given blood from their younger counterparts, there was a burst of new neuronal growth in the memory centers of the brain. This in turn improved learning, memory, and endurance in the older animals. Similar results were obtained by injecting blood of young humans into older animals, suggesting that a shot of blood might be the up-and-coming youth elixir of the future.

These discoveries have spurred a quest for a better understanding of what’s responsible for this newfound “brain rejuvenation.” While we don’t yet know for sure how and why these transformations occur, initial studies indicate that stem cells might be involved.

What are stem cells exactly?

Stem cells are “mother cells.” They’re unique in that they are able to develop into any type of cell in the body. Given this ability, they are essential in repairing all sorts of tissues—including brain tissue.

These stem cells are floating continuously in our bloodstream. What scientists have discovered is that, as people get older, their stem cells are still present in blood but are beginning to falter. This is because our blood, in addition to containing precious stem cells, also contains the proteins that are responsible for activating them. These blood proteins—one in particular called growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11)—become less efficient as we age, slowing down cell regeneration and possibly contributing to memory decline and neurological deterioration.

These findings offer a potential rejuvenation strategy. It is possible that replenishing these blood proteins with young blood will act as a health booster, consequently improving the birthrate of new cells in the brain. Clinical trials are ongoing to test if blood from young donors can indeed turn back the clock in older people. In the meantime, though, there are some pressing questions that accompany these experiments. Do we really need to go to the trouble of having a blood transfusion in order to keep our memories? Wouldn’t it be best to stop our blood from getting old in the first place?

While more research is needed to fully explore the mechanisms behind brain rejuvenation, one thing is clear. The proteins that abound in young blood, which are essential to restoring vigor to an aging brain, are influenced by several factors including, of course, our diet. Several nutrients are thought to enhance the power of these revitalizing proteins. These include flavonoids from fruits and vegetables; antioxidants like vitamins C and E, also found in fruit, vegetables, and seeds; a number of other vitamins, especially vitamin D, which is found in fatty fish, eggs, and milk; and vitamin K, which is abundant in organ meat, fermented soy foods like miso and natto, and also vegetables like dandelion greens. Just a heads up: we’ll hear more about dandelion greens in the pages that follow.

That said, keep in mind that healthy blood calls for a healthy heart.

The brain is so intimately dependent on the body’s blood for nourishment and sustenance that it is irrigated by no fewer than 100,000 miles of blood vessels. That’s the equivalent of six round-trip journeys between New York City and Tokyo. Even though you can’t feel it, every single minute the heart pumps 2 pints of blood directly to the head, which is the only way for brain cells to take up all the nutrients and oxygen they need. This brings us right back to where we started. You are only as old as your arteries—and as old as your brain’s arteries in particular.

I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping your blood vessels as clear and open as possible as a powerful preventative against brain aging and disease. Cardiovascular disease is a major risk factor for dementia, and many people don’t realize that it is in large part not only modifiable, but also largely preventable. There are many ways to take care of our hearts, and many have to do with leading a healthy lifestyle.

The prescription is simple. (1) Engage in regular physical activity and you will help your heart stay strong. (2) Eat a diet rich in nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. (3) Limit consumption of animal products and added sugar, which are known to affect your metabolism, increase your cholesterol, and clog your arteries. (4) Drink plenty of water. (5) Quit smoking, and avoid second-hand smoke as much as possible. (6) If you need to lose weight, lose weight, as directed by your doctor.

As logical as all this might sound, heart disease is still the number one killer of men and women in the United States, along with many other countries. Part of the problem is rooted in the food culture itself. For example, many Americans grew up on a “meat and potatoes” diet, one that also encouraged multiple glasses of milk and pancakes as part of a “hearty” breakfast. Even more than pancakes, bowls upon bowls of sweetened, processed, unhealthy cereal still remain the daily quick fix for breakfast and are even given to kids as a snack. Since this was considered the picture of a healthy diet at one time, it’s hard for many to believe that these foods might be unhealthy.

A year ago, my husband was in Las Vegas when he sent me pictures of the Heart Attack Grill. That’s the name of an American hamburger restaurant where diners don hospital gowns before indulging in “heart attack–inducing fare” such as the Bypass Burger. If that weren’t enough, before one enters the restaurant there are scales on which incoming customers can weigh in. A flashing neon sign announces: “Over 350 Pounds Eats Free.” Some of those people just short of the cutoff appeared disappointed to miss out on the deal!

If the threat of a heart attack is not enough to compel you to trade in your cheeseburgers and recliners for healthier food choices and a brisk walk, snowballing evidence that poor heart health is also bad for your brain might help do the trick. We need to keep our blood flowing to keep our bodies and brains full of life and longevity.

YOUR BRAIN IS A BUSY BEE

On top of eating healthily and keeping physically active, there is general consensus among scientists that exercising one’s brain intellectually slows down aging and reduces the risk of cognitive impairment later in life.

New research boosts the “use it or lose it” theory about brainpower and staying mentally sharp by showing that people who retire at an early age have an increased risk of developing dementia. Of course there are retirement stories both ways. Some people have a great time after retiring. Others seem to go downhill physically or mentally shortly after their last day at work. Research shows that, on average, work seems to keep people active, socially connected, and mentally challenged, so much so that among nearly half a million people, those who delayed retirement by just a few years showed less risk of developing dementia in the years to come. For each additional year of work, risk of dementia went down by 3 percent.

This is not to say that you should work forever. Rather, the key is to keep yourself intellectually engaged throughout the course of your entire life. For example, a study of over four hundred community-residing seniors, most of whom were retirees, showed that those who regularly engaged in intellectual activity had a 54 percent reduced risk of cognitive decline as compared to those who did not.

So what qualifies as an “intellectual activity”? These activities can be anything from doing crossword puzzles and brainteasers to reading books and newspapers. Other options might be writing, playing music, joining a book club, or going to a show you enjoy. In fact, brain imaging studies show that lifelong participation in such activities slows down, and perhaps even prevents, any accumulation of Alzheimer’s plaques, therefore protecting the brain against aging and dementia.

This brings us to a hot topic in the anti-aging field. In recent years, there has been an explosion of computer-based cognitive-training software, popularly known as “brain games.” This online programming claims to make you smarter and improve your memory, while bumping up your IQ a few points at the same time. Claims like these can actually enrage quite a few scientists.

In 2014, the Stanford Center on Longevity and Berlin’s Max Planck Institute for Human Development published a call to arms against the brain-training industry, signed by seventy-five of the best-known scientists in the field. In this consensus statement, the authors criticize companies for exaggerating claims and preying on the anxieties of elderly customers trying to stave off memory decline. Perhaps in response to increasing concerns such as these, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) started paying more attention to online brain games companies. Just a few years later in 2016, the FTC took exemplary action against the company behind Lumosity, a well-known brain-training program. The company ended up paying a $2 million fine for engaging in “deceptive conduct,” ergo false advertising, for claiming that their online games could delay cognitive impairment, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s.

I’m often asked what I think about these brain-fitness products. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about them. On the one hand, some clinical trials show that cognitive training can improve performance in the elderly. For example, a study of almost three thousand elderly showed that participation in a brain-training program led to improved memory, reasoning, and processing speed after just a few weeks. These same participants continued to show above-average cognitive performance even five years after the intervention took place. This is one example of the kind of studies we often hear about in the news.

On the other hand, there are several trials with negative results or that report minimal improvements—and these are the studies that don’t make the news. When we look at all the data as a whole, it turns out that this sort of cognitive training is only modestly effective at improving cognitive performance in older adults. In the end, just as with any drug or treatment with therapeutic claims, these products need rigorous testing in clinical trials and subsequent FDA approval before any conclusions about their efficacy is clear.

In the meantime, here’s my advice. If an hour spent doing software drills, sitting alone in front of your computer or tablet, is an hour spent instead of walking, reading a book, or going to a show with your friends, then it’s probably not worth it. If, however, you choose to play these brain games instead of sitting in bed or on the couch mindlessly watching TV, by all means, play brain games instead.

In this case, you might be surprised to learn that, among all the intellectual activities at our disposal, the human brain seems to actually have a favorite. It loves board games the most.

Several studies have identified playing board games as the intellectual activity most consistently linked with a reduced risk for dementia. In one example, a two-year-long study of four thousand people showed that those who regularly played board games had a 15 percent lower risk of dementia later in life as compared to nonplayers.

This makes sense, since playing board games is a highly stimulating activity. Far from merely being a source of entertainment, these games typically promote complex reasoning, planning, and attention, as well as memory skills. Plus, you are interacting with other people and are motivated to beat them. Some board games can be really challenging, such as chess or checkers. Card games are included in this group, proving to be as effective as board games when it comes to brain benefits. As anyone who’s ever tried playing bridge would know, some card games can be real brain teasers.

As you might notice, all these games promote social interactions and often reinforce multigenerational bonding too. For many families, playing Scrabble on a rainy day makes for a special memory. In Italy it is quite common to find entire groups of retirees playing Briscola (a Mediterranean trick-taking card game) while sipping their espresso, grandchildren on their laps.

After all, we are social animals. A fairly big chunk of our brains—the limbic system—is all about loving and bonding, as much as playing. The feeling of being part of a group has always been a primary need for our race. Research shows that this need is in part motivated by the fact that people with a strong support system seem to live better and longer than others. As we have seen in chapter 9, having a sense of purpose and social connection can significantly increase longevity in the elderly and is an essential component of many cultures that show low dementia rates. A review of more than 300,000 participants shows that those elderly with stronger social networks have a 50 percent higher likelihood of living longer than those with fewer social ties or less satisfactory relationships.

Are introverts doomed? Not at all. As with so many things in life, it is the quality rather than the quantity of the relationships that really matters. A community-based study of over one thousand elderly showed that having a family you love is enough to stave off dementia, provided you connect with them happily and as often as possible. Married people, people living with others, or those who had children had a nearly 60 percent lower risk of dementia compared with people who lived alone or had no close social ties. In particular, parents with daily-to-weekly positive contact with their children had the lowest risk of all, while those who had relatives and friends but didn’t see much of them, or felt these relationships were unfulfilling, showed the highest rates of cognitive decline.

Evidently, a loving brain lives a happier and longer life.

THE BRAIN’S BEAUTY SLEEP

Sleep, or a lack thereof, is the latest addition to the increasingly long list of lifestyle factors that can affect brain health. While a sound night’s sleep has long been advised for a healthy body, it turns out the brain needs its sleep, too.

Experts agree that sleeping is crucial for memory consolidation and learning, and that poor sleep negatively affects these much-needed abilities. Without adequate sleep, your brain becomes foggy, your attention dwindles, and your memory stalls. This might not be news to anyone who has pulled an all-nighter cramming for a test only to find they couldn’t recall most of the information the next day. Anyone who’s experienced chronic sleep deprivation is very well aware of its effects. As a new mom, I have firsthand experience as to how serious an impact sleep deprivation can have on brain function.

Unfortunately, we are conditioned to think of sleep as a commodity, one that you must often forsake for other more pressing needs, say, a work deadline. Especially in the United States, needing sleep, sleeping a lot, or liking to sleep late are each associated with a lack of productivity, while people who are constantly on the go are applauded.

What many people don’t realize is that a lack of sleep is a serious threat to the health of our brains, and might even deteriorate our cognitive function at large as well as increase our risk of Alzheimer’s. In fact, one feature of sleep that most people don’t recognize is its ability to clean the brain of harmful toxins, waste products, and damaging free radicals.

Only in recent years have scientists figured out how the brain’s unique waste-removal technique actually functions. These studies revealed that whenever the brain needs to clean itself up, it employs the glymphatic system. With a series of pulses, this system literally bathes the brain’s tissues with cerebrospinal fluid. The fluid in turn rushes in and travels throughout the brain and, acting a bit like the jets of a dishwasher, flushes away accumulated toxins and waste.

While many of us take our showers first thing in the morning, our highly unique brains prefer doing that at night. The glymphatic system is programmed to perk up and launch its activity just as we’re about to sleep deeply. Research has found that in lab animals, brain clearing becomes ten times more active during sleep than wakefulness. It was during this time that harmful toxins like the amyloid proteins linked to Alzheimer’s were flushed out of their brains. When the animals didn’t get enough shut-eye, those same toxins built up night after night, damaging the brain as a result.

Brain imaging studies indicate that this might be the case in humans as well as animals. In some studies, older adults who slept less than five hours a night, or longer but fitfully, showed higher levels of Alzheimer’s plaques in their brains than those who slept soundly for over seven hours. More work is needed to clarify whether poor sleep accelerates the buildup of plaques by hindering their removal, or whether plaque accumulation is a cause of poor sleep—or both. Either way, getting too little sleep or sleeping poorly is tied to an increased risk of mental deterioration.

So how long should we be sleeping for?

There is no magic number of hours of sleep that is right for each and every person. However, if research is any indication, we do need to give the brain adequate time to clean itself. Here’s the catch. The brain’s housekeeping activity takes place during a very specific sleep stage known as “deep sleep.”

You might have noticed that your sleep is not uniform throughout the night. Each of us goes through sleep cycles that last about 90 to 110 minutes and include five separate stages of sleep. The first stage is actually falling asleep. The second stage is known as “light sleep,” and is the brain’s way of preparing to shut down. During the third and fourth stages, your brain is in a deep, or slow wave, sleep. It is during this stage that everything seems to fully come to a halt. Your muscles relax to the point of becoming inert. There are no eye movements. You are essentially cut off from the world. At this moment, you are sleeping a deep, dreamless sleep. This is the perfect chance for your brain to enjoy some much-deserved me time.

As your body reaches a deep stillness in this state, needing close to no supervision, your brain gets busy taking care of itself, washing away toxins and getting rid of all sorts of waste products. After a while, it is interrupted by stage five’s rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, during which we dream. But when REM sleep is over, this five-stage sleep cycle begins all over again, and soon enough, your brain will prepare itself for yet another shower.

If you sleep seven to eight hours per night, your brain will go through a number of these cycles. The first of these cycles will have the longest period of deep sleep and the shortest period of REM sleep. Later in the night, your REM periods will lengthen while your deep sleep stages decrease. If you want to make sure your brain has enough opportunities to clean itself, guard your sleep, especially during the first part of the night.

MOVE, LOVE, LAUGH, BE WELL

Even though diet is a powerful preventative against brain disease and cognitive impairment, diet alone is not enough. In fact, nothing alone is enough. As we’ve referenced earlier, synergy and a holistic perspective are the keys to continued health. It is time we learned to think about our bodies as a whole and about our lives as a combination of different sources of nourishment, where nourishment includes but is not limited to the foods we eat.

In addition to eating well, other forms of nourishment include how often we move or exercise our bodies, how connected we feel with our friends and family, how often we challenge ourselves intellectually, how content we are with our careers, and even how soundly we sleep. Each of these elements supports brain health, but when existing together with one another, they become greater than the sum of their parts. The extent to which we are able to incorporate all these healthy habits into our everyday lives determines just how healthy and durable our brains and bodies become.

And yet many people still find it hard to believe that leading a healthy lifestyle can boost our brainpower over the course of a lifetime and even ward off diseases like Alzheimer’s. Has it actually been proven that such a lifestyle modifies Alzheimer’s risk? Where are the clinical trials that demonstrate this causal relationship?

At long last, here they are.

A groundbreaking clinical trial published in 2015 showed that relatively easy lifestyle-based strategies to fight dementia, including diet, exercise, intellectual stimulation, and vascular risk management, were indeed successful in improving cognitive performance in older adults. Over as little as two years, the participants showed a 25 percent improvement in cognitive performance. The program was particularly effective at boosting people’s ability to carry out complex tasks like remembering phone numbers and running errands efficiently, which improved by 83 percent. Even better, the speed at which they were able to conduct these various tasks improved by as much as 150 percent.

Except for sleep, this study succeeded in incorporating all known lifestyle ingredients for a healthy brain, providing important proof of a causal relationship between lifestyle and cognitive fitness. Research has finally begun to show that people who lead well-rounded, healthy lives with attention to these crucial, interactive elements are effectively improving the health of their brains and reducing their risk of dementia. With so many negative trials reported regarding the use of Alzheimer’s drugs, these findings offer us the much-needed alternative we’ve been seeking. No longer out of reach, even the most skeptical among us is empowered with renewed hope as well as the motivation to do what’s necessary to safeguard ourselves and thrive.

Now do you feel like dancing?