Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death worldwide—a terrifying statistic no one wants to be part of.
The problem is, knowing your risk for heart disease can be difficult.
Especially since many of these risk factors are the same for other chronic diseases, like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
But today, I have good news to share regarding your heart AND brain health.
Researchers have found that maintaining good cardiovascular health is associated with a sharper brain.
All it takes is three simple steps…
The heart and brain connection
The first step is understanding (and eliminating) potential risk factors.
As part of the American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics, 2022 update, published in the journal Circulation, researchers discovered that four heart disease risk factors might also lead to AD and dementia.
Those risk factors include high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and tobacco use.
More specifically, in an analysis of over 100 studies, researchers found people with high blood pressure were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Another meta-analysis suggested that people with obesity had three times the risk of developing dementia. (And since the twin epidemics of type 2 diabetes and obesity have been increasing alongside one another for decades, it makes sense diabetes would also raise this risk.)
Finally, smoking was associated with up to a 40 percent increased risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular dementia (changes to memory, thinking, and behavior resulting from conditions that affect the blood vessels in the brain).
So, what do these findings mean for you? Well, that’s where the next two steps come into play…
Take back control
Here are two, simple steps to help you take back control of your heart and brain health:
1.) Get moving. As a reader of mine, you already know how important exercise is to overall health. In fact, researchers have found that the heart health benefits of exercise are limitless. It’s even powerful enough to head off heart disease before it starts!
Not to mention, reams of research show the important role exercise plays in fighting off—and even reversing—dementia. You just have to be consistent. After all, physical activity is a long-term commitment.
Research shows getting 150 minutes of exercise per week is best for your health. And various activities count toward that goal—whether you’re a marathon runner or just an after-dinner walker.
All that matters is that something is better than nothing at all.
2.) Eat healthy. Heart disease and dementia are just two ailments directly attributable to poor dietary choices. In fact, research reveals that the more ultra-processed foods you eat, the higher your risk of disease (and ultimately, an untimely death).
On the other hand, consistently choosing healthy, unprocessed foods provides your body with essential proteins and nutrients that give your brain, heart, and overall health a boost.
I always recommend following a high-fat, low-carb diet (like my A-List Diet), full of fresh produce (including leafy greens), lean protein (like grass-fed and -finished meat and wild-caught seafood), and nuts.
“What’s good for the heart is good for the brain.” Science Daily, 1/26/2022. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220126090523.htm)