Lifestyle Matters

July 2019, Lisa Palma

Hello friends! It is officially summer here in the Bay Area and it is a perfect time to get outside and enjoy some activity as part of an active lifestyle.

There have been some recent studies on longevity and health exploring genetic makeup and lifestyle choices. Here is the good news: A longer healthier life may not be in your genes. Although some PD occurrences may be gene related, there is much we can do in our lifestyle choices to slow the progression of the disease along with other age-related health issues.

A large study of data from the genealogy website Ancestry reveals that genetics may play less of a role in healthspan and life span than previously thought. Scientists reported that genes accounted for well under 7 percent of people’s life span, versus the 20 to 30 percent of most previous estimates.

A study of Blue Zones (the geographical locations around the world where people live longer and better than anywhere else in the world - and happen to have the largest number of centenarians) also show that it is not a difference in DNA or geography.

Here are some of the common denominators learned from the Blue Zones in support of our longevity and health:

· Move naturally throughout the day

· Have and cultivate a strong sense of purpose

· Downshift every day to relieve stress

· 80% rule: Stop eating when 80% full

· Plant based: Make beans, whole grains, veggies and fruit the center of your diet

· Belong: Be part of a community or organization

· Family: Enjoy close friends and strong family connections

In addition to the above, there are studies that suggest the value of sleep for brain and body health. Try to limit exposure to blue light (blue wavelengths – which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood- seem to be the most disruptive at night). Power down your electronics well before bedtime to help reduce your exposure and maintain your body’s proper circadian rhythm.

At Brains and Bells we encourage you to get out in nature to enjoy the sunlight and move more! 150 minutes a week is the current recommendation to keep your body and mind engaged and active. That comes to about 20 minutes or so a day. Have a healthy summer!