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SUPPORTING BRAIN HEALTH NOW AND IN THE FUTURE
People are living longer than ever before today in the developed world. The dramatic increase in life expectancy that began in the 20th century is one of humanity’s greatest achievements. Consider that average life expectancy in the U.S. jumped from 70 years in 1960 to 79 years in 2015, according to the World Bank. The global average is even more striking, increasing from 52.5 years in 1960 to 71.7 years in 2015.
Given how much longer we’re living today, it’s more important than ever for each of us to take actions to mitigate mild cognitive decline and maintain brain health, especially as we enter our senior years. It’s never too soon to start—and the earlier the better.
It’s true that some people may be genetically predisposed to develop mild memory problems as they age, but it’s also true that genes alone do not determine whether a person will develop these conditions. A common metaphor used in the field of epigenetics (the interplay between genes and environment) is “genes load the gun, environment pulls the trigger.” Your genes are not your destiny—environment and lifestyle choices matter.
This is empowering news, because it means that, despite our genetic makeup, we can take active measures to support our brain health over the years and prevent (or at least delay) the onset of mild memory decline.
Our next section explores things everyone can (and should) do to maintain or support brain health as we age.
10 THINGS EVERYONE SHOULD DO FOR OPTIMAL BRAIN HEALTH
ONE | EXERCISE REGULARLY
TWO | EAT A HEALTHY DIET
THREE | GET ENOUGH SLEEP
FOUR | KNOW YOUR RISK FACTORS
FIVE | CHALLENGE YOUR BRAIN
SIX | MANAGE STRESS
SEVEN | RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS OF DEPRESSION
EIGHT | BUILD AND MAINTAIN SOCIAL NETWORKS
NINE | FAST (EAT NOTHING) PERIODICALLY
TEN | TAKE THE RIGHT SUPPLEMENTS