Health Insider Update


Happy Heart, Happy Brain

Happy Heart, Happy Brain
April 01
11:32 2016
A new study shows that maintaining a healthy heart can help preserve cognitive function as we age.

The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, examined the brain processing abilities of 1,000 men and women over the age of 40. The same tests were conducted six years later.

Those who had met certain marks of a healthy heart – maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, being physically active, keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check, and sticking to a good diet – performed better on focus-intensive tasks.

The more heart healthy marks an individual met, the better he or she performed on tests that challenged memory and executive functions like focus and time management.

blog_heart-brain“Achieving these ideal factors is really important not just for cardiovascular health, but also for brain health,” concludes study author Hannah Gardener.

“Some people may be more motivated by preserving their cognitive health. So I think it’s important to emphasize that striving to achieve ideal levels on these seven factors may also help preserve cognitive health later in life.”

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet all the heart healthy checks mentioned above. Not a single person in Gardener’s study met every factors, which suggests that improvements in just a few of those areas can benefit the brain. “People shouldn’t feel discouraged if one or two feels out of reach.”

Hannah Gardener is an epidemiologist at the University of Miami.

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April Kuhlman

April Kuhlman

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