Category: brain health

Omega-3 cut dementia risk by a third

The largest study of its kind, involving over a quarter of a million people (267,000) from the UK Bio Bank, has reported 30 per cent less risk of dementia in those with a higher omega-3 status in their blood. 

One of the study authors, Professor Bill Harris from Stanford University’s Department of Medicine in South Dakota, says “There is now overwhelming evidence from no less than four studies this year that increasing your intake and blood levels of omega-3 is strongly associated with reducing future dementia risk. Ideally a person wants to get their blood omega-3 index above 8%”.

This UK study confirmed the results of a US study earlier this year that found a 49 per cent reduced risk for dementia in those with the highest omega-3 DHA level (top fifth) in their red blood cells versus the lowest (bottom fifth). Oily fish and fish oil supplements contain two kinds of omega-3 fat called DHA and EPA. DHA is the main fat found in brain cells of all animals.

What’s more a meta-analysis of 48 studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2023 also concludes that ‘a moderate-to-high level of evidence suggested that dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids could lower risk of all-cause dementia or cognitive decline by about 20 per cent, especially for DHA intake’. 

A recent study by psychologists at the Linda Loma University in California and published in the journal Brain Sciences, reported that the higher a person’s omega-3 index was in their blood, the more white matter there was in their brain meaning they had more brain volume, and the better they performed on cognitive tests that predict less risk for dementia.

How much water do you really need to drink?

We are bombarded with messages about drinking more fluids – but is it really essential? 

The water content of our body equates to between 50% and 65%. The NHS recommend we should drink six to eight glasses of water a day to keep our bodies topped up and hydrated, but sadly most of us don’t drink enough, and we are leaving ourselves dehydrated, out of energy and prone to gaining weight.

However new research November 2022 from the University of Aberdeen “shows the recommended water intake of eight glasses (around two litres) a day seldom matches our actual needs, and in many situations, is too high.” “Because water contents of foods vary so much, working out the exact required drinking water is difficult. For a typical person in the US or Europe, probably more than half of the 3.6 litres of water comes from food, which means that the amount needed to be drunk is around 1.5 to 1.8 litres day. For a woman in her twenties, it is probably about 1.3 to 1.4 litres per day. Older people will generally require less than this, while hot climates, being pregnant or breast-feeding and greater physical activity will increase it”

How much water do you need to drink a day?

The NHS Eatwell guide recommends that our water intake should be around six to eight glasses of water a day. As well as water, low fat milk, sugar-free drinks – including tea and coffee – all count towards this amount. If you are using tea and coffee within your daily allowance, consider using decaffeinated drinks, as it’s a healthier option. 

Why do we need to drink water?

“Your body is nearly two thirds water and so it is really important that you consume enough fluid to stay hydrated and healthy,” says the British Nutrition Foundation. “If you don’t get enough fluid you may feel tired, get headaches and not perform at your best.” A study into how well children performed in a visual attention test showed that those who did not drink water beforehand achieved a lower score than those who did.

Water is more than just a quick drink to quench your thirst, it has many amazing health benefits that most of us are missing out on.

It will boost your metabolism

Research published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking water can boost your resting energy exposure, with some research finding increases of as much as 30% just 10 minutes after drinking. While the reasons for this boost are not fully understood, some researchers believe it could be due to the extra energy used in warming the water up to body temperature as it passes through your digestive system.

Does drinking water help you lose weight?

Drinking water does not cause you to lose weight.  However, it will keep you hydrated and it might help you to snack less,  thirst can sometimes be mistaken for hunger.  For positive wellbeing and health water is essential.

It will help you focus

Your brain is made up of around 85% of water, so having a good level of water intake will help with focus, concentration and decision-making – great for finally finishing off that tricky Sudoku!

The link between water and cognitive performance has been the central point of research for a number of years. A recent study by the University of East London and the University of Westminster found that drinking just 300ml of water can boost attention by up to 25%.

It won’t rot your teeth

No sugar means no tooth decay. Unlike sugary soft drinks (and even fruit juice), drinking water won’t lead to a build-up of plaque on your teeth that could lead to tooth decay and even gum disease.

It’s good for your skin

Since your body is made up of mostly water, keeping yourself hydrated will leave your skin feeling hydrated and looking younger (Source: Skin Research and Technology Journal). While drinking more water won’t prevent wrinkles from developing, the increased water intake of a fully hydrated person means the skin will be firmer and more elastic, improving the appearance of wrinkles and reducing some of the visible effects of ageing.

Is there anyone who should take special measures to drink more?

Some people need to make a concerted effort to ensure they’re drinking enough, such as the elderly, who may not have noticed that they’re becoming dehydrated. Babies and infants can quickly become dehydrated during illness or in intense heat due to their low body weight.

How much water should you drink when pregnant?

Pregnant or breastfeeding women need to ensure they’re drinking at sufficient levels, as do people who’ve had an illness resulting in vomiting or diarrhoea, or with other conditions such as a bladder infection. If the weather is particularly hot or you’ve been sweating a lot after exercise or manual work then your water and liquid requirement will increase too.

Is drinking too much water bad for you?

Yes. Drinking too much water can lead to a condition called hyponatraemia (also known as water intoxications), which can be fatal. Those who drink too much can develop the condition when their blood sodium levels fall too low. This can happen, for example, when athletes drink very large quantities of water after endurance sport, without replacing the sodium lost through perspiration.

Polyphenol Power. Keep your Brain Young with Antioxidants.

By Patrick Holford

Life is a balancing act between making energy by combusting glucose or ketones with oxygen, which generates ‘oxidant’ exhaust fumes that harm the body. Skin goes crinkly and age spots develop – all due to oxidation. That’s what makes apples go brown, leaves change colour and iron rust. In the end, we lose, which is why all oxygen-based life forms have a finite life – and why your brain and body inevitably age.

However, you can not only add years to your life, but also life to your years, by improving your intake of antioxidants and polyphenols found in whole foods, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices.

A study in Finland and Sweden which compared those with a ‘healthy’ versus ‘unhealthy’ diet in mid-life for future risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia 14 years later. Those who ate the ‘healthiest’ diet had an 86-90% decreased risk of developing dementia and a 90-92% decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Some of the benefits come from low-sugar diets, diets high in omega-3 and B vitamins and some from foods high in antioxidants and polyphenols – which we will focus on here.

Your best bet is probably to both eat a diet with a broad spectrum of antioxidants and also supplement them. The older you are the more you are likely to need. Key antioxidants are:

  • Vitamin A, C and E – associated with reducing Alzheimer’s risk
  • Lipoic acid (7) – protects the memory-friendly neurotransmitter acetycholine and dampens down brain oxidation and inflammation)
  • Glutathione (8) or N-acetyl Cysteine (NAC)(9) – protects the brain and improves methylation thus having potential in dementia prevention.
  • Co-enzyme Q10 – protects the mitochondria in the brain from oxidative stress (10)
  • Resveratrol – resveratrol has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties and prevent hippocampal brain damage. (11)

So, what do you need to eat and drink to preserve your memory and protect your brain? Basically, eat a Mediterranean style ‘rainbow coloured’ diet. A Mediterranean diet has more fish, less meat and dairy, more olive oil, fruit and vegetables including tomatoes, legumes (beans and lentils), whole grain cereals than a standard western diet. It also includes small quantities of red wine. There are variations of this kind of diet, called the MIND diet and the DASH diet, but the core components are the same and as researchers drill down we are learning what to eat and drink to keep your mind sharp and brain young, and how much.

How To Reduce Stress Levels

In its simplest form, stress can manifest in temporary feelings of frustration and hopelessness, but in its severest form, it can become something a lot more sinister, affecting your work and social life, and even developing into depression.

Unfortunately, feelings of stress are often inevitable. The good news is that there are ways in which you can reduce your stress levels before they become too dangerous.

Develop a positive mind-set

Reducing your stress levels starts with a positive mind-set, and the willingness to try and change your situation. Health professionals know that doing this isn’t as straightforward as reading a few inspirational quotes – it will take a concerted effort over time.

Try writing down three things at the end of each day that made you happy, which were a success or that you are grateful for. You may find that this brief shift in perspective becomes more infectious, and feeds into your normal mind-set. It’s also good practice to examine your habits and attitude and identify anything that could be causing unnecessary stress. For example, your deadlines might be stressful because of your tendency to procrastinate, rather than a lack of ability.

Swap out temporary stress busters

By ‘temporary stress busters’ we mean things like cigarettes, alcohol and the tendency to withdraw. While they may provide a brief reprieve from stress, they can themselves go on to create additional problems. Instead, replace them with healthy alternatives like peppermint or chamomile tea (which are known for their calming properties), a healthy refreshing snack like some fruit, and some quality time with your loved ones.

Take exercise

We’ve all heard of endorphins, otherwise known as ‘happy hormones’. These little mood-boosters are the body’s natural opiates and are produced more often during exercise – a trait which is thought to increase our wellbeing. It makes sense, then, that exercising can help to reduce our stress levels, but endorphins aren’t the only reason why exercise can help. Going for a run, doing yoga or even just going for a walk gives you something else to focus on, as well as time to think through the source of your stress.

Eat a balanced diet

The sugary foods we turn to during periods of stress may provide temporary gratification, but are typically followed by a crash in both energy and mood levels once their effect wears off. Eating the right things, on the other hand, can provide balance and lift the mood, and don’t produce the same crash in energy and mood later.

Avocados, for example, contain folate, which helps to promote feelings of calm, while raspberries and blueberries contain high levels of vitamin C, which is shown to be helpful in combating stress. Even dark chocolate (in small doses) can help to lower blood pressure and promote a feeling of calm.

Get enough sleep

It’s no secret that we aren’t getting enough sleep. In fact, our Health of the Nation survey revealed that the average person in the UK only sleeps for around 6.4 hours a night, as opposed to the recommended seven to eight hours. When you consider that sleep helps to heal the body and mind, and helps us to process the day just passed, it becomes clear why a lengthy visit to the land of nod is so helpful in reducing stress levels. Feeling tired can increase irritability, meaning we become more highly strung and likely to think irrationally.

Designate a time for relaxation

Did you know that the UK workforce works the longest hours in Europe? It’s no wonder we find so little time to relax. Designating a time for relaxation is incredibly important, however, and can help to reduce your stress levels. Whether it’s using your lunch break to read a book, setting aside an hour in the evening for a long soak or freeing up each weekend just to go for a walk, do something that keeps you calm.

Talk to someone

Whether you decide to confide in your loved ones or visit a trained professional, don’t be afraid to talk about your problems. Letting everything out can be a huge weight off your shoulders, and you may find that other people are experiencing exactly the same thing. It might be that you simply can’t cope on your own, which is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

There isn’t a one size fits all solution to reducing your stress levels, but by trying out some of these coping methods, you will at least have a head start in deciding what works for you.

How to Change What Your Brain Does After a Breakup

Have you ever been through a breakup?

We’re sure most of us have experienced a breakup more than once. It’s an awful feeling. One moment you are in love and the next moment your world is torn apart.

You don’t know what to do with yourself and try to numb the pain in some way. Over time, your heart heals and you start taking back control of your life, but the harm has already been done.

Control After a Breakup

Relationships instill a perception of control. People believe they can control what the other person is doing, what they are doing themselves, and how it affects their relationships.

During a breakup, this sense of control diminishes.

Losing a Relationship

Researchers in Germany conducted a study to understand how perceptions of control affected individuals after different types of breakups.

They focused on normal relationships between two partners, as well as relationships ending in separation, divorce, or the death of a partner. 

Over a period of three years, researchers studied 1,235 individuals, from various age groups, that had lost a partner. They wanted to see what level of control participants felt they had after a relationship ended.

Perceived Control

Perceived control is defined as a person’s capability to influence their own mental state and behaviors. This sense of control also extends to a person’s ability to influence their external environment.

In relationships, that means regulating your own emotions and how you feel toward the other person. Perceived control also considers how you influence your partner and the relationship in general.

When perceived control is high, you may experience improved relationship satisfaction, better health, and increased well-being. However, a decreased sense of perceived control may result in uncertainty, anxiety, feeling distracted, and poor mental performance.

Less Control to More

In general, researchers found that directly after a breakup, participants felt they didn’t have as much control as during the relationship although this wasn’t the case for all participants.

As the years progressed, participants regained their sense of control. For some, this happened quickly, while others took longer to do better.

Female participants experienced a greater sense of decreased control in comparison to men. Similarly, older individuals also felt a decrease in control following relationship loss.

When a participant’s partner passed away, they showed increased signs of perceived control. This growth was faster for older individuals; younger participants who experience partner death struggled more with the consequences.

Interestingly, researchers uncovered no change in perceived control when participants separated from or divorced their partners.

Researchers concluded that decreased perceived control followed by gradual increases shows that people can grow after stressful events. However, more research is needed to understand these effects when it’s the first time that a person experiences relationship loss.

Relationships Are Scary

Breakups are hard, but so are relationships. It’s normal to be scared of both starting a relationship and the potential of breaking up with someone.

Fear can prevent you from having fulfilling relationships. Take back control and welcome relationships without being fearful by changing the way you think about them. Learn how to do this during our training on Winning the Game of Fear.

Life-Changing Events

The results from the study could be familiar to you too. After a breakup, you may have felt like you don’t want to be in a relationship ever again or that you no longer know who you are. These are normal feelings.

After a while, you start building yourself up again. You may realize you no longer need external validation to be happy or that you are content being single. That is when your perceived control improves.

If it’s possible to regain control after a relationship, it’s also possible to change other areas of your life.

Personal Beliefs

Control relates to what you believe about yourself. Similarly, you have beliefs about relationships and breakups. Every part of your life is built on beliefs.

Your beliefs are central to everything you do and think.

Beliefs refer to fundamental ideas you have about yourself, other people, the world around you, and even the future. You might believe that you are hardworking, deserve only the best in life, or that you don’t deserve love. (The last one is quite popular after a breakup.)

Negative beliefs are frequently referred to as limiting beliefs because they place limits on your life. Luckily, it’s possible to change these beliefs.

A Different Mindset

If it’s possible to overcome limiting beliefs, then it’s also possible to change your belief system.

Just think about your post-breakup mental state. There are a bunch of negative things you will initially believe. After a while, you realize they are lies, and you’ll start repairing your self-esteem.

You rebuild yourself in a new way, and that’s growth. You are changing your beliefs about relationships. In reality, you can change entire belief systems even if you have held them for a long time.

Being Fearless

You cannot live your life in fear as it will prevent you from doing what you truly love. How you think about fear is part of your belief system so it can definitely change.

Attend the Winning the Game of Fear event and go from being scared to courageous.

Change Your Belief Systems

If beliefs can change then you have the power to change them whenever you want to. You can ‘breakup’ with one belief system and create an entirely new one that works better for you.

Identify Your Core Beliefs

Start by identifying a belief that you think could be problematic. Let’s use the example of feeling out of control after a breakup.

Thoughts usually trigger these beliefs. You might think that if you had been a better partner, then your ex-partner wouldn’t have cheated, or that you don’t deserve to be loved.

Beliefs tend to begin with the words “I am” so whenever thoughts like these come up, identify them as beliefs.

Question Yourself

Once you recognize a belief, question yourself about it: Is this belief constructive or limiting? What consequences does this belief have? Where does this belief come from?

The last question is especially important. Understanding the origins of beliefs can help you determine whether they are useful or destructive.

For instance, negative thoughts like “I am unworthy of love” could come from childhood experiences because your parents didn’t display love toward you. It’s a valid experience but it shouldn’t have a hold over your future relationships; someone else will find you worthy of love.

Similarly, the culture or community you grew up in, your education, and your friends and family can all impact what you believe. These beliefs are inherited since you didn’t come to these conclusions yourself, and if that’s the case, why do you believe them?


Questioning core beliefs is only the start. You need to create experiments that help you determine if your belief is true or false.

Think about ways to test your belief. Let’s continue with the breakup example and the belief that “I am not worthy of love”.

Some experiments to see if this is true could include:

  • Write down a list of all the people in your life that love you. (Friends, children, family members.)
  • Identify the reasons why previous partners loved you. (Being present, supporting your partner, making compromises.)
  • Make a list of your good qualities. (Kindness, intelligence, empathy.)

This simple experiment—with potential answers in brackets—shows that you are lovable. It reveals the truth: Your belief was wrong.

Change Your Perspective

Another great way to investigate your beliefs is by considering them from other perspectives.

The most basic perspective is to flip the script and consider how your life could be if the opposite of the belief was true. In the previous example, this would become “I am worthy of love.” What would that look like? How would you feel about it?

It’s also a good idea to use entirely different perspectives. For instance, imagine how your current situation (a breakup) will affect your life when you are retired, or how your three-year-old self would view this situation.

Trying out different perspectives may reveal that what you believe isn’t factually sound or that it’s just a temporary situation.

Create a New Belief

Finally, decide on what you want the belief to be. It should be something that makes sense and works for the greater good.

After a breakup, it could be that “I love myself” or “I will find someone that loves me wholeheartedly.” These kinds of beliefs are constructive and focus on the life you want instead of your current situation.

Write down your new belief and repeat it to yourself daily. The more you do this, the more the new belief will become ingrained in your brain.

Take Back Control

You are in control of your life. You decide if you are making progress toward your goals or whether you let other things, like fear, stand in your way.

When you address one aspect of your thinking, you gain the power to also change other elements of it. Let’s start with how to Win the Game of Fear.

Once you see the powerful effects it has on your life, you will want to use similar strategies in other areas. It’s an exciting prospect!

Boost your mood with dark chocolate

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The last of the Christmas chocolates are a fading memory, but you might still be craving something rich and indulgent to satisfy your palate. A small serving of dark chocolate as a midwinter treat may be actively good for you.  This is because it contains flavanols, antioxidant plant-based compounds thought to help heart health, and possibly even prevent cancer, in high enough doses. Plus, ‘most dark chocolate is vegan as they don’t put any milk or cream in it,’ says Vickers. (However, the best way to be absolutely sure that a dark chocolate product is vegan is by only buying those clearly labelled as such, as some dark chocolate products do include milk-based ingredients, which may not always be obvious from scanning the ingredients list.)

Now a new study indicates eating high-cocoa-content chocolate might make you happier. In the research, healthy adults who consumed 10g of 85% dark chocolate three times a day saw improvements in mood. This is thought to be thanks to cocoa’s prebiotic effects, promoting the growth of ‘good’ gut bacteria. A more diverse microbiome is believed to influence mood via the ‘gut-brain axis’, and we know around 95% of the good-mood chemical serotonin is made in the gut

‘Dark chocolate promotes the release of feel-good chemicals like serotonin and endorphins that create pleasurable feelings, and positively enhance mood,’ says Dr Pulde. 

What is Cacao Bliss?

Cacao Bliss is a raw cacao superfood blend and worldwide sensation which allows you to enjoy healthy, delicious, chocolate smoothies, superfood coffee, healthy hot chocolate, and DOZENS of decadent desserts on a daily basis with zero guilt!

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  • Indulge in better-for-you hot cocoa and dark chocolate smoothies without the guilt: Cacao Bliss offers the delicious, comforting taste of your favorite flavor without the empty calories, packed with 10 powerful superfoods to add more nutritional value to your drinks, desserts, and hot chocolate bomb recipes.
  • An easy way to enjoy nutritious chocolate every day: Cacao Bliss can be mixed into hot, cold or warm liquids such as coffee, almond milk, oat milk, and coconut milk. You can also add it to baked goods and other recipes.
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  • Rich in anti-aging and inflammation-fighting nutrients: With the nourishing benefits of raw cacao powder, turmeric, MCT oil, lucuma, organic cinnamon, and more to support your overall wellness.

Anxiety Summit

ANXIETY has become the defining mental health issue of our time, with women affected at twice the rate of men, and children, teens and young adults now more stressed and anxious than ever.

Join us to learn about gut-brain connections, the amazing amino acids and other nutritional solutions for anxiety and digestive distress.





Science is constantly evolving, but when it comes to our brain health, there are some elements that we know have a serious impact on the health and longevity of one of our most important organs. Your brain health depends on five major lifestyle pillars: sleep, nutrition, physical activity, cognitive training, and stress management.

There is a caveat though: the pillars work best in conjunction with one another, and if one falls, the rest can follow, creating a tricky domino effect that can (and will) wreak havoc on the long-term health of your brain.

Below, I offer some insight into what the pillars are and why they all need to work together, based on the emerging scientific consensus on factors governing healthy brain aging.

Domino 1: You Need More Sleep, and Here’s How to Get It

First and foremost, we need to spend more time outside with natural light, and the best time is in the morning, when the clock housed in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus is calibrated and strengthened by light. That blue light, the most favourable, wakes us up and increases the strength of our circadian rhythm, which enables us to be more awake during the day and less awake at night.

This allows us to sleep better at night, one of the most important pillars to get right – and one of the most difficult in our society today. It’s reported that 51% of the global adult population doesn’t get enough sleep, an issue they often spend the weekend making up for (in general not a good idea, since one should strive for the same bedtime and waketime every day).

Not focussing on sleep as a top pillar can lead to the following:


When you don’t sleep well, your body craves quick energy in the form of sugars, unhealthy fats and carbs.

Less Exercise

When you’re tired, you don’t work out as much. It’s that simple.

Your Mental Health Suffers

When you are underslept, your cognitive capacity is reduced, and you’re more impulsive, making it harder to deal with stress and more likely for you to experience anxiety, which further affects your sleep in a recurring and vicious cycle.

Your Immune System Is Weakened

Sleep deprivation weakens the immune system, which is once again further exacerbated by all of the other complications of not getting good sleep.

What You Can Do to Improve Sleep

In a nutshell, your sleep needs to be a priority. If you are having trouble with sleep, one of the ways we recommend improving in this area at Synaptitude Brain Health, a fitness app for the brain, is by starting the process in the first few hours in the day. Decide one day to get up with the sun by exposing yourself to that light, even if you’re tired, and kickstart your day so that you can relaunch a more effective cycle. Rinse. Repeat.

Conversely, when you expose yourself to lots of blue light at night, you create a weird sense of jet lag and wake your brain up in what’s called “social jet lag,” or in other words, you send your internal clock into a tizzy.

There are two big regulators of sleep: how tired you are and your 24-hour clock. When it says it’s night time and you add blue light at the wrong time, then you have your sleep drive fighting with your clock, reducing your quality of sleep.

The biggest driver of your internal clock is light, but, yet again, other pillars contribute, including: meal times, meal quality, exercise times, and the quality – and type – of those workouts.

Domino 2: Keeping Fit at the Best Times of the Day

Exercise makes your circadian rhythms deeper and stronger, but the times to do exercise are also relevant:

1. In the morning (it works in a similar way as blue light),

2. In the middle of the day when it causes a temporary increase in your core body temperature heading into the daily peak at around 5 PM.

Have you heard the advice to never work out too close to bedtime? That rule exists because exercise at night acts like blue light, stimulating your brain for a full day ahead, and raising your core temperature when it is naturally falling. At Synaptitude, we do not recommend working out within 2-3 hours of bedtime if you’re struggling with quality sleep.

Finally, exercise is great as a mood enhancer that improves sleep quality, food choices, muscle composition, biochemical reactions specific to mood, and increases stress management abilities. Once again, the interactions between all of the pillars need to be addressed to create a positive synergistic effect leading to short- and long-term brain health.

Domino 3: Poor Stress Management Is One of Our Biggest Challenges Today

Our world, for better or worse, has become a much more stressful place. People who are stressed have sleep disorders, then they don’t exercise, they make bad food choices, and so goes the vicious cycle of the five pillars.

Often, people don’t realize how much external factors can increase our inability to handle stress. The hypothalamus, the part of our brain that reacts to stress, was designed ages ago to respond to a different list of threats than we face today.

Today, our brains react in the exact same way only to very different elements: lIfe is much faster, demands on people are much greater, and the truth of the matter is that we’re not all built to handle 80-hour work weeks with a constant onslaught of increasing pressures.

We are constantly bombarded with extreme positions, and even mainstream news media lead with polarizing and stress-inducing, negative, scary news items. These stressors are then compounded and amplified via social media. We just don’t get a break.

We’re being asked to try harder in every area of life, and many people don’t take the time off that they need – not just mentally but physically – in order to keep the body and brain functioning at its highest capacity.

The domino effect of the five pillars is ever present here. A stressed mind can’t eat well, sleep well, be challenged effectively or relax in the way it needs to. This both creates and exacerbates disease.

Domino 4: Socializing and Brain Training

When some of the cultures who experience the highest rates of longevity were studied to determine why they are able to live such healthy lives, one of the strongest elements was a culture of family and community. They spend a lot of time together, on walks, doing social activities and enjoying life with the support of family and friends.

It sounds so simple, but in reality, many positive biochemical reactions are borne from these interactions. Raising oxytocin and endorphin levels increase our ability to handle stress through emotional regulation, lessening the threat of anxiety and allowing us to eat, sleep and play better.

Socialization, learning new things not related to work or our day to day, such as languages and brain teasers, all of these elements create new neurons or strengthen existing ones, training our brain in the same way that physical exercise trains the muscles.

It always comes back to the five pillars.

Domino 5: You Are What You Eat, So Eat the Rainbow!

In the global hotspots where people tend to live longest, not only do they have significantly better sleep, exercise routines and less stressful lives, they have notably similar diets. Many of them tend to eat a Mediterranean-like diet, with plenty of fish, healthy fats like olive oils, and lots of fibre, including sweet potatoes.

This means they aren’t spiking their cortisol, a biochemical response that has an adverse effect on the hormones that control your mood. It also means they can exercise more, sleep more and live longer with a healthier, higher-functioning brain.

In other words, an apple a day – plus a variety of other fresh rainbow-hued foods – can keep the doctor away. Yet again Nutrition is just one of the 5 pillars, all of which impact and need each other to function.

Optimizing your functioning on these pillars acts as the best preventive medication in the world when it comes to overall health and longevity.

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