A recent study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association found that following guidelines for a heart-healthy lifestyle is correlated with less cognitive decline associated with aging. This study adds to the growing body of research that supports the notion that heart health and brain health are linked.
The study included over 1,000 participants who were, on average, 72 years old. Researchers from the University of Miami and Columbia University conducted initial brain tests to assess memory skills and other brain functions and then redid the same tests again six years later. The participants were also asked to follow the American Heart Association’s “Life’s Simple Seven®” to the best of their ability, a program designed to encourage heart-healthy choices. Life’s Simple Seven includes:
- No Tobacco Usage
- Nutritious Diet
- Healthy Weight Levels
- Physical Activity
- Controlled Blood Pressure
- Controlled Cholesterol
- Controlled Glucose Levels
Many participants did not fulfill all seven requirements. Only one percent met six of the seven goals, four percent met five goals, 14 percent met four goals and 30 percent met two to three goals.
The research team found that participants who followed more of Life’s Simple Seven had better brain health in the initial assessment. Of the seven requirements, there was the greatest association between brain health and tobacco avoidance, controlled glucose levels or healthy weight levels. Following more heart-healthy lifestyle factors was also associated with less cognitive decline over time compared to individuals who did not achieve as many of the program’s goals. Participants who didn’t follow all seven goals still saw brain health benefits but achieving more of the program’s goals was directly linked with higher cognitive performance.
To promote brain health, Home Care Assistance recommends exercising and eating superfoods such as fish, nuts, dark chocolate and blueberries which boost heart health by increasing blood flow to the brain. To read the full blog, visit “The Link Between Heart and Brain Health” on the Cognitive Therapeutics Method™ website.