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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Good for your heart is good for your head

Take care of your heart if you want to stay smart. Heart disease is bad for your brain. If you can reduce your risk of heart disease, you can reduce your risk of cognitive decline. I just figured that out this week. It was Bix's consideration of cognitive decline in heart disease patients that prompted me to put two and two together...

Lately, I've been focusing on how cinnamon, cocoa, and fish oil are good for the heart. I've been ignoring information about how they're supposed to help your brain stay sharp as you age. Is there a connection? Well, if your coronary arteries are clogging up, other arteries are probably clogging up, too. Like the ones in your head.

Bypass surgery can save your life, and the mild cognitive damage, it causes is usually temporary. But heart surgery can't fix the arteries in your brain. Researchers followed seniors with vascular disease for several years. They all showed cognitive decline over that time, whether or not they had surgery. Seniors with vascular disease all did worse than heart-healthy seniors.

So an anti-inflammatory diet full of choices that improve cholesterol and blood sugar isn't just good for your heart. It's good for your head, too.


Glenna said...

Nice post. I agree. We don't really think about it but how could anything that's good for your heart not be great for your head. The connection is there as soon as you open your eyes and see it. Thanks!

Family Nutritionist said...

Thanks, Glenna -- this has certainly opened my eyes. I've learned about lately. I'm really impressed with the potential of a couple of dessert ingredients, and cannot wait to see how all the research is going to pan out. It seems now that it really matters WHEN you eat your cocoa or cinnamon supplements.

OH! and I finally tried your granola. Only I stuck closer to the Omega end of the spectrum (only 2 T honey). I love it, but most of my family thinks it needs more sugar.

MedPathGroup said...

Interesting post. It's amazing how our body works. Let's live a healthy lifestyle and consider everything we eat to keep our heart healthy will also benefit our brain.