With the increase in dementia and Alzheimer’s, everyone is concerned about keeping their brains sharp. But the solution may not be supplements, Sudoku, or learning a new skill.
Turns out, habits for a healthy heart also maintain brain health. Unobstructed blood flow and clean arteries are important for preventing heart attacks, but they also ensure that blood reaches the brain without hindrance. Strokes, caused by obstructions of blood flow to the brain, have been shown to double the chance of developing dementia. Dr. Vladimir Hachinski, a Canadian neurologist and global expert in brain health, points out that many people, due to poor lifestyle choices, experience silent “mini strokes” that impact cognitive health.
So what heart-healthy, brain-healthy habits can help prevent “mini strokes” and resulting cognitive decline? The answer is any lifestyle steps that will help lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels, such as exercise, sufficient sleep, a healthy diet, good social connections, and abstinence from cigarettes and alcohol. Begin while you’re young to keep your mind sharp for many years to come!
“Keeping Your Brain Sharp Isn’t About Working More Puzzles,” American Heart Association News, heart.org, Jan. 21, 2021.