A heart-brain connection

General heart-healthy actions are now thought to curtail the natural slowing of brain function, which can lead to dementia and even Alzheimer’s.

General heart-healthy actions are now thought to curtail the natural slowing of brain function, which can lead to dementia and even Alzheimer’s.

by Joanne Henning Tedesco — 

Recent research suggests a connection between the steps adults take to keep their hearts healthy and the preservation of brain health well into old age. General heart-healthy actions are now thought to curtail the natural slowing of brain function, which can lead to dementia and even Alzheimer’s. You, too, can improve your odds of staying sharp, even as you advance in years.

Proactive steps to take

  • Keep your blood pressure within the normal range, which generally is below 120/80.
  • Follow a heart-healthy diet that includes lots of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels, generally considered to be lower than 200.
  • Get regular exercise, even if it’s walking for a half-hour a day.

Activities and habits to avoid

  • Smoking.
  • Eating foods high in saturated fats and trans fats (particularly hydrogenated vegetable oils).
  • Inactivity that leads to excess weight or a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Overeating — specifically processed or prepared foods that contain large amounts of white flour, sugar and preservatives.

 

Joanne Henning Tedesco is editor of AzNetNews.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 1, February/March 2006.

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