New research identifies markers of diseases like Alzheimer’s much earlier than ever before. Protect yourself today.

When a recent Northwestern University study discovered the hallmark Alzheimer’s proteins in the brains of 20 year olds, many wondered: Is brain health a younger person’s concern? 

After all, these are the youngest human brains to date in which amyloids, the signature proteins, have been found. And while the majority of people impacted by dementia and Alzheimer’s are older than 65, experts will tell you that taking action now could help prevent damage down the line. 

You may have more control than you realize, says Gary Small, M.D., author of Two Weeks to a Younger Brain: “The brain is sensitive to stimulation from moment to moment—if we are engaging certain neural circuits, they strengthen—if we neglect others, we don’t give the brain the opportunity to strengthen,” Small says. “But whether that impacts one’s risk of Alzheimer’s, we just don’t know.”

What we do know: No matter your age, there is a significant correlation between a healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking, and having fewer memory complaints. If you’re already living a healthy lifestyle, there’s more you can do to cut your risk and protect your brain, starting with the five habits below.


Rewire with meditation

Lower stress levels are intimately connected to an improved cognitive performance. But deep breaths aren’t the only way to get there. “We’ve got studies that show that meditation or tai chi or other kinds of stress-reducing exercises will rewire your brain’s neural circuitry,” says Small.


Meet in person

“With all of the new technology, we’re not communicating face-to-face as much,” says Small. “Even though there is social connection through social media, it’s not as powerful as meeting people in real time and space.” Specifically, there are clear advantages to face-to-face conversation in terms of empathy skills, he says, noting that empathy is linked to strong social communication skills in personal and professional life. Even more: Studies show traditional social connections lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.


Avoid email benders

If you work a lot on the computer, don’t spend hours on hours answering emails, says Small. “Shake up your tasks. Cross-train your brain. You’ll activate different neural circuits.” There are a lot of upsides to technology — certain programs can improve multitasking and cognitive skills, he says. “Surgeons who play video games make fewer errors in surgery.”


Choose mood-boosting exercise

“There’s a lot of evidence that mental stimulation is linked to brain health — but that evidence is not as compelling as physical exercise,” says Small. But which fitness routine is most worthy? There are data showing that strength training and cardiovascular conditioning have benefits for brain health. I suggest both,” says Small.

When it comes to intensity, the jury is still out: One study found that just 90 minutes of brisk walking lowers Alzheimer’s risk; others find that 5 minutes of intense interval training helps. Small’s advice: Check your mood. “Anyone who exercises knows about the endorphin benefits and how exercise improves mood — that’s probably a good measure of whether you’re getting a brain benefit.”


Adjust your omegas ratio

Diet is ever important when it comes to brain health. But beyond controlling portions and eating enough fruits and vegetables, balance your fats. “Too many people eat too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3s,” says Small. Omega-6 is found in meats and vegetable oils, while omega-3s are found in fish, nuts, and flax seed.

For full article by Cassie Shortsleeve, visit:


We asked a fitness and nutrition coach to assess the situation.

As so-called “healthy” sweeteners flood the market, we’re left to wonder, which to choose? Is one really better than the other? 

“Honestly, whether you’re talking about coconut sugar or honey or table sugar, these sweeteners are all sugar delivery mechanisms with minor differences,” says Brian St. Pierre, R.D. a fitness and nutrition coach with Precision Nutrition. “Some are sucrose, some are fructose, so they affect the body slightly differently.” 

The basics: Sucrose is a disaccharide, whereas fructose is a category of sugar called a monosaccharide. “Sucrose gets broken down into glucose and fructose before going into the blood stream and raising your blood glucose levels. High levels of blood sugar can damage blood vessels and lead to cavities and gum disease,” says St. Pierre.

Fructose, on the other hand, doesn’t go into the bloodstream like glucose. “It has to go to the liver first to be processed into a useable form so it doesn’t raise blood glucose levels. But if you’re consuming excess calories and fructose that fructose can get converted to triglycerides, which makes it mildly worse than glucose in that regard. It is better at restoring liver glycogen, though, which is an important satiety signal for the brain,” he explains. Another plus: Fructose is less likely to cause cavities. 

Still, according to St. Pierre, one type of sugar isn’t necessarily better than another. “Too much sugar in the form of sucrose, glucose, or fructose can lead to all these problems. The health impact they have on you really depends on how much you eat of any of them,” he says.

Consider keeping sugars to 5-10% of your calorie intake a day. “It all depends on your size, your goals, and your activity level. If you want to be moderately fit—say 15% body fat for a man, 23 to 25% for a woman, then you can eat a little more sugar. If you want a six-pack, you’re going to need to eat less sugar,” advises St. Pierre. Eat the sugar you enjoy in moderation—and eat it slowly and until you’re satisfied. While one type doesn’t win hands down, St. Pierre has advised on this scale so you can see how your choices stack up.



Type: Natural substitute
Pros: Sugar-free and non-caloric, made from the leaves of the stevia plant. “If you’re comparing caloric and non-caloric sweeteners, stevia comes out on top. It doesn’t raise blood sugar and it’s natural and beneficial in reasonable amounts. It’s bio-active, so it could have some anti-inflammatory compounds and can also help you cut calories,” says St. Pierre.
Cons: There’s a minor aftertaste that can take getting used to and overusing it could cause you to develop more of a taste for sweets.



Type: An even blend of fructose and glucose
Pros: “Honey’s calling card is that it has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties, which is why it can also be used as a cough suppressant or sore throat soother. Manuka and other high-grade honeys often contain more beneficial properties—and overall honey is more of an actual food than sugar,” says St. Pierre.
Cons: It’s high in calories and carbs.


Coconut Sugar

Type: Mostly sucrose with some nutrients
Pros: This one gets positive marks. It’s made from the sap of coconut trees and is less processed because the sap is extracted and then placed in heat to dry, leaving it with a more natural brownish color like raw sugar. It can also contain trace amounts of minerals like magnesium, potassium, and inulin, a prebiotic fiber.
Cons: It’s still a high-calorie sweetener and causes advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which gradually lead to a break down in your collagen.


Raw Cane Sugar

Type: Sucrose
Pros: Extracted from the sugarcane plant and not refined. Also called turbinado sugar, it may come in the form of cane juice, which is often used to sweeten non-dairy milks like almond, hemp, and cashew and in many healthier baking options. This raw form of sugar is somewhat less processed than table sugar. It still retains some of the molasses and moisture from the plant so technically you’re consuming less sugar and calories per serving, making it healthier, St. Pierre says.
Cons: That’s mostly irrelevant in the big picture. It’s not like you’re eating the actual plant.



Type: More fructose than glucose (it can be up to 90% fructose)
Pros: Fans like the syrupy flavor. It mixes well with tequila, making it a mainstay in artisanal margaritas. Cons: It’s touted as having a lower glycemic index but this can be misleading. That may be beneficial if someone has diabetes, but not so much if you don’t, warns St. Pierre.


Brown Sugar

Type: Sucrose
Pros: Some of the molasses leftover from the refining process is added back into the sugar after processing, which provides a darker color and a minor amount of trace nutrients.
Cons: Not enough nutrients remain to be of benefit.


Granulated White Sugar

Type: Sucrose
Pros: Made from either sugar cane or sugar beets, it offers the mildest flavor, melts and blends easily into beverages, warm or cold, and is ideal for baking.
Cons: Best known as table sugar and the most common, it is also the most chemically processed and refined of the bunch.


Sweeteners (Aspartame, Splenda)

Type: Artificial substitute
Pros: Sugar-free and non-caloric
Cons: These sweeteners are chemical compounds and not real food. Splenda is sucralose (a sugar molecule mixed with chlorine molecules in a patented process). Maltodextrin, which is a corn product and can be genetically modified, is then added as a bulking agent. “Aspartame is on the EPA’s list of potential carcinogens. In animal models it’s linked to leukemia in very high doses. I’m most leery of it and will only drink a diet soda on a rare occasion and I won’t feed it to my kids,” says St. Pierre.

For full article from Wendy Schmid please visit:


One key to success on the golf course can’t be found at the pro shop. It’s the physical condition of the golfer. Pain shouldn’t be par for the course. Stay in the game by protecting your back.

When you consider the spinal rotation that goes into a golf swing and the fact that the speed of the club can reach 160 km/hour, it’s easy to understand that golf puts significant stress on your body.

Follow these tips to improve your game and prevent the pain.

1. Warm up and warm down

Take a few minutes to stretch before and after your game. Start with a brisk walk — 10 to 15 minutes should do it. Then do some light stretching.

2. Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your game. Remember that once you are thirsty, you are already starting to dehydrate.

3. Push, don’t carry, your golf bag

Pushing or pulling your bag and taking turns riding in a cart can help you prevent back injury. If you prefer to carry your clubs, use a double-strap bag that evenly distributes the weight. If your bag gets too heavy, put it down and take a break.

4. Choose the right shoes

Wearing a golf shoe with good support and the proper fit can help prevent knee, hip and lower back pain.

5. Take lessons

The right swing technique can do more than improve your game. It can also spare you unnecessary pain. Working with a professional is a great way to learn the basics.

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Can exercise really defeat depression? How to find out if it can work for you.

Some say exercise can defeat depression. Sure, it’s worth a try — in theory. But when you’re depressed, it can be hard to muster the motivation. Here are some gentle incentives and strategies for giving it a go.

Ever dealt with depression? Then you’ve probably been told to find a physical outlet for your feelings.

Maybe a well-meaning friend told you to “just get outside and go for a jog.”

Or a doctor “prescribed” fitness to counter your symptoms.

Perhaps you read the book about dancing as a depression cure, or well-trafficked Reddit threads about the mental benefits of everything from gentle gardening to brutal obstacle courses.

Just get out there, folks say. It’ll take your mind off your problems.

But if you’ve ever lived under the scratchy, smothering gray blanket of this illness, you know:

It’s not that easy.

Depression can make your body feel dull. Heavy. Wooden. Listless.

When you’re depressed, the mere idea of picking up one foot and dragging it in front of the other can seem laughable. (If you can dig up a chuckle, that is.)

I know, because I’ve been there.

One day, while in the throes of a good old-fashioned dark-rain-cloud depression, I woke up and felt stuck. I’d been glued to my flat emotional landscape like a little moth on flypaper.

I knew I needed to do something different.

Without thinking, I got down on the floor. Started doing push-ups. Grabbed a couple of dusty old dumbbells. Did a few lifts. A few rows. A few squats.

At first, it was just a gaspy, desperate rush to experience something — anything— other than what I’d been feeling.

But once I was done, I wanted more.

I needed an emotional outlet. Moving my body felt good. (And to be honest, I wanted to hit things.) So I decided to take a boxing class. Ordinarily I might have talked myself out of it. But at that point, I felt I had nothing to lose.

Lucky for me, it was love at first punch.

Looking back, I wonder about the role exercise played in healing my depression.

Was it powerful medicine? Or just a placebo? Could movement have kept my depression away in the first place?

And if exercise does help with depression… how the heck do you find the energy for it when, you know, you’re depressed.

precision nutrition defeat depression exercise Can exercise really defeat depression? How to find out if it can work for you.

Lifestyle and mental health go hand-in-hand

Much like nutrition’s role in mental health, decades of research show a link between exercise — resistance training, aerobics, yoga… everything — and better mood.

And the relationship is solid: A 2014 meta-analysis of 24 studies, including hundreds of thousands of patients, confirmed: The more we sit, the sadder we are.

For example, one classic study from Columbia University found that sedentary people are depressed twice as often as active people.

But does an inactive lifestyle cause depression, or vice versa?

A recent study looking at adults over the course of three decades concluded that the relationship is bidirectional. In other words, maybe sitting around makes you depressed, and maybe that reduces your urge to move. And round and round we go.

OK, so moving your body might help you avoid becoming depressed in the first place. But could it also stop depression in its tracks?


For some people, exercise is as good as antidepressant medications. Or even better. And it seems that in general, the more people exercise, the better they feel.

How exercise makes us happier

Physical activity could improve your state of mind by:

  • curbing stress chemicals: A 2014 study demonstrated that PGC-1alpha — an enzyme produced in muscles during exercise — has the ability to break down kynurenine, a substance that accumulates in the bloodstream after stress and has been linked to depression.
  • supporting neurotransmitters: Exercise may boost the production of serotonin — a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and some cognitive function, and that may be low in depressed people. Physical activity may also stimulate neurogenesis, the growth of new neurons. That could improve cognition, and, in turn, your mental health.
  • boosting endorphins: Exercise can give you a short-term burst of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that block pain and produce a natural “high.”
  • reducing inflammation: Many types of exercise can lower inflammation, a potential cause of depression.
  • decreasing stress: There’s a reason that some athletes refer to their time at the gym as “therapy.” Exercise can be a great antidote to stress, which research has linked to depression, perhaps owing to the body’s inflammatory stress response.
  • encouraging happier thoughts and feelings: In 2009, one study explored depressed women’s use of long-distance running as a coping mechanism. Exercise can distract us from negative thoughts and feelings, while making us feel joyful and purposeful. It can also provide a sense of identity, which depression often steals from us.

I can imagine a lot of reasons why boxing helped me feel better

Boxing gave me an outlet — a way to express pent-up emotions, and a break from being “in my head.”

When I felt helpless, boxing empowered me. When I felt alone, boxing gave me a coach and a community.

When I felt frustrated, angry, or simply like beating the crap out of a heavy bag, well… boxing is just what the depression doctor ordered.

I left each class high on endorphins and a sense of satisfied accomplishment.

What to do next

I know it’s not easy to do stuff when you’re depressed. Just getting out of bed is a victory some days.

But here are some things you can try, if you’re ready.

If you can do any of these, even just a little bit, congratulate yourself. Each one is an accomplishment.

#1: Take it step by step

You almost can’t start too small. If a 30 minute jog feels impossible, try a walk around the block. If that feels too far, shrink the distance even further to whatever feels manageable. Walk from the couch to the bathroom a few times.

I got a lot out of an illustration called “The Truth About Motivation” from the workbook Exercise for Mood and Anxiety Disorders.

precision nutrition truth about motivation Can exercise really defeat depression? How to find out if it can work for you.

#2: Try something that used to bring you joy

Depression can bleach the colors out of your rainbow and strip the fun from things you used to love.

Give it a go anyway. Do whatever you love (or used to love), whether it’s taking the dog for a walk or playing touch football with friends.

You might not feel the magic. That’s OK. Just try whatever you can manage.

Because the opposite — living completely without your favorite activities — sucks worse.

#3: Try something new

As Janis Joplin famously sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.”

Depression can disintegrate you. But then, you don’t have any more rules to play by.

Sometimes, the benefit of feeling lost is that you can wander into new territory. I walked into a boxing gym when I felt so low I was willing to try anything.

If you can open yourself up to new experiences, you may find pleasure in things you never even considered before.

#4: Get support

Whether it’s therapists, doctors, family or friends, ask for help from the people around you. Tell them you want to try exercise.

They may be able to help you, inspire you, or even join you. If you can, seek out a community-focused gym or athletic group, an online support system, and/or a personal trainer. Assemble the “team” that works best for you.

#5: Get outside

Nature is powerful. Sunshine, fresh air, green space… even the friendly bacteria in soil may make you feel better.

Soak up as much nature as you can. If you live in the city, go to a park or spend time in a local garden. If leaving the house feels too daunting, start by opening a window and bringing some plants into your home. Try to work your way up to spending time outside.

#6: Mix it up

One you’re on a bit of a roll, consider mixing aerobic exercise (such as walking, cycling, running, or swimming), with anaerobic sets. While most studies on depression focus on aerobic activity, there’s a place for strength-based work, too — such as high intensity interval training (HIIT) — which can get those endorphins kicking.

#7: Be consistent

Whatever you can move, move it. The more you move, the better it works.

You might feel better right away after a single exercise session. Or it might take a little while. Either way, keep moving as often as you can, in any way you can.

Meanwhile, observe your symptoms. Consider logging your feelings in a journal, so you can look for benefits. If you’re not getting any better after a test period, consult your doctor.

#8: Be gentle and patient

Don’t beat yourself up if you skip a workout. This isn’t about achieving perfection or becoming a superstar athlete. It’s about doing something good for yourself.

On the flip side, don’t overdo it. Intense training can boost your endorphins, but it can also raise your cortisol, a stress hormone, tax the central nervous system, and cause inflammation — none of which will help depression.


How do you put this all together? Think about designing your own personal prescription.

Therapy, medication, nutrition, social support, and any other creative methods of your choosing may all work together to help you get better, over time. Pick what works best for you.

Everyone experiences depression differently. You might find that exercise doesn’t do much.

But it might just become the best depression-fighter you’ll ever find. 

Eat, move, and live… better.

The health and fitness world can sometimes be a confusing place. But it doesn’t have to be.

Let us help you make sense of it all with this free special report.

In it you’ll learn the best eating, exercise, and lifestyle strategies — unique and personal — for you.

For full article by Camille DePutter please visit: