How to stop cognitive decline.

Plus: Recipes to keep you sharp as a tack.

Together with

"Every challenge you face today makes you stronger tomorrow. The challenge of life is intended to make you better, not bitter." - Roy T. Bennett

Thursday. Japan will begin a decades-long process of releasing treated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean today. Well, what could possibly go wrong with that plan? I’ve watched Godzilla. I know where this goes. Brace yourself for a giant, radioactive iguana to hit the shores of NYC sometime next year. Just remember, you heard it here first. Moving on to a better idea than releasing nuclear wastewater into the ocean, what are some things you can do to stop cognitive decline in its tracks as you age? Let’s dive in.

Together with Inside Hotels

Hotels We Love: The Meritage Resort & Spa

Whether you go to Napa Valley for food, wine, or spa treatments, you’ll find what you’re looking for at The Meritage Resort & Spa.

An amenity-packed retreat with an equally packed events calendar, you won’t be without things to do here. The onsite Spa Terra is located underground in a former wine cave, and its menu changes with the seasons. Culinary options range from award-winning to grab-and-go, and there’s even a food & wine center for culinary demonstrations. The only hard choice you’ll have to make is whether you’d rather spend your afternoon at the pool or on a vineyard picnic.

Protecting Your Brain

We all have the goal of aging gracefully. That said, some of us may notice that we are no longer as sharp the older we get. While it's natural to undergo certain changes in our thinking patterns as we age, this doesn't mean the onset of forgetfulness or occasional word-finding difficulties are any less disconcerting.

In fact, by our 30s, many of us might have already begun to notice subtle shifts in our mental processes (yikes). These changes, linked to decreases in volumes of specific areas in our brain, namely the hippocampal, frontal, and temporal lobes, have led researchers to explore the intricacies of the aging brain further.

Indeed, recent studies present some eye-opening findings. Even amongst younger adults, ranging from 18 to 60, there's a noticeable variation in cognitive performance. This means that age-related cognitive decline can start as early as our 20s and 30s, much earlier than previously thought.

This is a big deal. Most people don’t really think about preventing cognitive decline until they are in their 60s. But if our cognitive abilities start diminishing decades earlier. By the time we reach our golden years, these changes might have accumulated to an extent where reversing them becomes an uphill battle.

Before you start freaking out, it's important to realize that our understanding of the brain is also evolving. While age might bring about some inevitable decline, we don’t have to just throw our hands in the air and give up. A new piece of research offers hope for those aiming to keep their minds young and agile as they age.

The study reveals that aging doesn't necessarily spell inevitable mental decline. Over a decade-long study involving more than 29,000 individuals, scientists found a fascinating correlation between lifestyle choices and cognitive health. Those who embraced a life of regular exercise, a nutritious diet, moderate or no alcohol intake, and avoided smoking exhibited a significantly slower rate of memory decline than their counterparts. To put this into simple numbers, a healthy lifestyle awarded them a 30% lower risk of memory issues.

But what about genetics? Surely, those genetically inclined to conditions like dementia or Alzheimer's are at a disadvantage? The research had answers here, too. Even those carrying the APOE ε4 gene, which elevates the risk of such cognitive disorders, showcased reduced decline rates when they maintained healthy habits.

As with many things in life, genetics simply loads the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger.

Looking at individuals who seemed to age like fine wine, with their cognitive abilities sharp as a tack even in their later years, certain shared habits stood out. These so-called 'super-agers' committed to about 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week, prioritized regular social interactions, and kept their brains busy with challenging activities. To top it off, they generally avoided smoking and alcohol.

The key takeaway? While we can't turn back the hands of time, it's evident that our daily choices hold the power to impact our brains as we age. By adopting healthier habits early on and maintaining them, we can set the stage for a mentally vibrant life, regardless of age.

Trust me, you’ll want to be sharp when Godzilla hits U.S. shores next year.

Tonic Shots

1. Tea-Leaf Salad For The Brain

What does tea have to do with salad? This recipe is the way to find out. It is packed with nutrients that will keep your brain young and healthy. Enjoy.

2. Summer Is Almost Over

It might not feel like it, but summer is almost over. Enjoy this blueberry summer salad before it is too late. The Blueberries are packed with antioxidants that are great for your brain.

3. Another Summer Hit

This watermelon and cucumber salad is hydrating and full of nutrients and flavor. Enjoy!

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