I was very happy to attend the Building Better Brain Health workshop conducted by the Sunshine Coast Council and the University of the Sunshine Coast last Friday. The workshop at the North Shore Community Centre at Mudjimba was about better brain health plus the relationship between healthy food, social connection and mental engagement.
The workshop highlighted that:
• Nutrition has been linked to a 53 per cent potential reduction in Alzheimer’s Disease;
• Optimising mental and social activity reduces Alzheimer’s risk by 48 per cent;
• Nutrition reduces moderate-to-severe depression by 32 per cent;
• Lack of social connection and loneliness increases cognitive decline and the risk of developing dementia by as much as 20 per cent, and it has also been shown to be associated with an increased risk for premature death, similar to smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity; and
• Meditation has been shown to offset age-related cognitive decline.
These factors confirmed my understanding and provided up to date research on important health and wellbeing practices for our community. The fun workshop provided lots of how to and used the collective wisdom of the participants. Some very healthy and tasty food was sampled from the interactive and practical demonstrations.
The Sunshine Coast could become one of the leaders for health, happiness and harmony with longevity and diversity of citizens in a really vibrant inclusive community. We could become a blue zone?
Dan Buettner in his book “Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People” looks at solutions for healthy communities. Buettner has discovered five places in the world – dubbed blue zones – where people live the longest, and are healthiest: Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece, and Loma Linda, California.
In my training and research nutrition, regular exercise, meditation and social interaction certainly are standouts and the Sunshine Coast is well positioned to become a leader. With a strong health and wellbeing community of providers and researchers on the Sunshine Coast encouraging and coaching the community I can definitely see we could become a blue zone in the future.
I would like to thank the Council and University for fostering healthy and active ageing.
Enjoy every day.

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