Cardiovascular Health Promotes Brain Function and Cognitive Aging
We’re in the midst of American Heart Month so there’s no better time to address cardiovascular health. You know that healthy habits can help prevent heart attacks and stroke; now research shows the same lifestyle choices that keep your heart ticking may keep your brain thinking, too.
In a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers from the University of Miami and Columbia University looked at how well 1,033 people in Northern Manhattan adhered to the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 ideal checklist: manage blood pressure, control cholesterol, reduce blood sugar, get active, eat better, lose weight and stop smoking. For the next six years, researchers routinely tested brain function through memory tests and cognitive exercises.
Healthy habits paid off: The higher the number of ideal lifestyle factors, the less the decline in cognitive function, specifically processing speed, episodic memory performance and executive function. The most influential factors were not smoking and maintaining ideal fasting glucose levels. Results suggest some age-related cognitive decline may be preventable by maintaining ideal cardiovascular health.
So what can you do to keep a healthy heart and brain? Don’t smoke. Exercise regularly. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fish and fats from avocado and olive oil. Our Rainbow Cauliflower & Broccoli with Garlic and Almonds is a colorful side dish that will nourish both your heart and brain.
Published February 1, 2017