The surefire way to prevent cognitive decline.

Plus: Should you get nutrition advice from a chatbot?

Wednesday. Let’s start the day off with some good news—research suggests that coffee might not only be safe for your heart, but it can actually improve your heart health (as long as you don’t overdo it). takes a sip of coffee

Scientists analyzed data from more than 390,000 people and found that a moderate intake of coffee (and tea) was associated with up to a 35% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory disease. Say less and pour me another cup. 

Moving on to some more good news—there is a proven way to prevent cognitive decline that is well within our control. What is it? Let’s dive in.

Together with

Today’s Menu 🌿

  • 🧠 What You Can Do To Bulletproof Your Brain 

  • 🤖 Should You Get Nutrition Advice From A Chatbot?

  • Are You Getting Enough Vitamin 💊 B12?

  • The Daily Recipe Is A Must Try 🥑

  • A Coffee Brand We Love

Read Time: 4 minutes

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Bulletproofing Your Brain

Cognitive decline is a fear many of us share as we age, often overshadowing the physical signs of aging that we can see when we look in the mirror. While we might focus on the wrinkles and joint pain that come with aging, the changes inside our brains can be even more concerning, even though we might not think about it as much. 

Losing track of who you are or where you belong is a profoundly disturbing thought, and diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s can make the mind feel like a prison from which there’s no escape. It’s not a fun thing to think about, but it is a genuine concern for an increasing number of Americans.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Cognitive decline is mostly preventable, and a recent study from 2022 highlights a surprising protector of mental health: muscle mass (FIND THE STUDY HERE). 

In this study, researchers revealed that lower muscle mass is linked to faster cognitive decline. Basically, the less muscle you have, the more likely your brain health will suffer. This connection may seem strange, as muscles are typically associated with physical strength, not mental capabilities. However, muscles do more than just move our bodies; they play a critical role in helping us maintain our brain health.

As we age, certain conditions that affect our brain health also lead to a loss of muscle mass. These include reduced levels of anabolic hormones, vascular diseases, chronic inflammation, and insulin resistance. Interestingly, engaging and maintaining muscle mass through regular exercise can significantly lower the risk of these conditions, thereby protecting cognitive functions.

When muscles are used, they release chemicals known as neurotrophic factors. These substances are vital for brain and nerve cells, helping them function better and become more resilient. One of these factors, known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), acts like a fertilizer for the brain. It helps maintain and form new connections between neurons, which is essential for learning and memory. Simply put, having more muscle mass as you grow older means you have higher levels of these protective factors. You are basically bulletproofing your brain. 

Beyond the chemical benefits, muscle mass also contributes to cognitive health by enhancing your overall lifestyle. Strong muscles allow for greater engagement in life’s activities, reducing the risk of becoming socially isolated, which can severely affect mental health. Think about it—the fitter you are, the longer you can play pickleball, hit the golf course, or take your grandkids to the park. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that social isolation can increase the risk of dementia by about 50%. It also raises the risk of premature death from various causes to levels comparable to those from smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. 

The key takeaway? Whether you are in your 30s or your 60s, maintaining muscle and strength is not only about physical health or looking good in the mirror. Building and maintaining muscle is also about preserving cognitive function. 

Regular physical activity and muscle building are essential strategies for promoting brain health and ensuring a mentally vibrant life. Encouragingly, this means that our approach to aging can be proactive; by focusing on building and sustaining muscle, we can protect not just our physical freedom but our mental sharpness as well. So, hit the gym, lift some weights, start today if you haven’t already, and find a way to stay consistent. I promise you won’t regret it!

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