Be heart healthy: A healthy heart leads to a healthy brain

Be heart healthy: A healthy heart leads to a healthy brain

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Improved heart health leads to accelerated thinking processes
According to a recent study, researchers have found that brain health is linked to heart health. Thus, a healthy heart could automatically decrease memory loss, speed up the thinking process, and improve our thinking skills.

Scientists from the University of Miami and Columbia University studied the effects of a healthy heart on the health of our brain. In their comprehensive investigation, they found that improved heart health speeds up our thinking process and can certainly improve our thinking skills. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of the American Heart Association".

A healthy heart helps us to keep the brain healthy in old age
In their current study, the scientists examined the data from around 1,000 subjects. The participants were on average 72 years old. The doctors found that a healthy heart helps us to keep our brains healthy. In order to maintain or improve the health of our heart, we should control our blood pressure, reduce blood sugar, regulate our cholesterol levels and also remain physically active, the experts advise. People should engage in moderate physical activity for at least 150 minutes a week or do 75 minutes of strenuous physical activity to improve their heart health. We also have to pay attention to a healthy diet and eat less salt, sugar and saturated fat, the researchers emphasized. We should also watch our weight and not smoke, add the doctors.

Cardiovascular health directly affects the health of our brain
It was observed in the study that the participants found it very difficult to achieve all of the goals set. Only 1 percent of the subjects achieved all goals, the researchers report. The results of our study show the need for patients and doctors to improve heart health. We need to monitor all of the important factors and ensure ideal values, as these factors not only affect cardiovascular health, but also brain health, explains lead author Hannah Gardener of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Researchers are studying the brain processing speed of older subjects
At the start of the study, the researchers examined the brain processing speed and thinking of the older adult subjects. The results showed that some seniors appeared to have faster brain processing speeds, the scientists say. These good results were most evident in participants who had a healthy body weight, who did not smoke and who had normal blood sugar levels. So-called brain processing speed measures how quickly a person is able to perform certain tasks that require focused attention, the researchers explain. Around six years later, 722 participants repeated the cognitive tests to measure the change in brain performance over time.

Vascular damage and metabolic processes affect later life
An unhealthy heart cannot pump blood around the body as efficiently. This also results in a reduced blood flow to the brain and if the brain is not supplied with enough oxygenated blood, it works worse, say the doctors. People with a healthy heart have better processing speeds in their brains, and memory and some executive functions are less affected by age. This allows organization, time management and other cognitive skills to be carried out in a more concentrated manner. The latest results suggest that vascular damage and metabolic processes can be important in our cognitive performance and affect our later lives, says Gardener. However, more research is needed to determine whether routine treatment of heart health factors can help maintain a healthier and more powerful brain in older people.

Benefits of a healthy heart apply to all ages
The new study provides the important finding that the health of our heart and brain health are related, say the experts. The benefits of a healthy heart apply to all ages, so it's never too late to start making positive lifestyle changes and thereby avoiding existing risk factors, the doctors added. Older adults could increase their level of physical activity by, for example, simply taking 10,000 steps a day. (as)

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