That’s right; at BrainMD we care about more than “just” the brain, because everything in your body affects your brain, just as your brain affects everything in your body. In addition to Valentine’s Day, February is also host to American Heart Month. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States for both men and women – it is responsible for one in every four deaths.
Furthermore, heart disease increases brain aging. The heart and blood vessel system is responsible for delivering nutrients and oxygen to the brain. Therefore, whatever is bad for the heart and blood vessel system is bad for the brain. Conversely, whatever is good for the heart is good for the brain.
The good news is that there are strategies to decrease your risk of heart disease by preventing all of the risk factors associated with it. Show your own heart some love this Valentine’s Day by trying out the following 8 ways to support your heart health.
What does that mean? What foods should you eat? Lean protein, such as turkey or chicken; low glycemic, high fiber carbohydrates, which means carbohydrates high in fiber that do not raise your blood sugar, such as green leafy vegetables; and healthy fats that contain omega three fatty acids, found in foods such as tuna, salmon, avocados and walnuts.
Be sure to avoid saturated fats that are high in bad cholesterols and contribute to the fatty deposits in the blood vessels that cause atherosclerosis. Foods high in saturated fats include butter, cheese, cookies, doughnuts, pastries, ice cream, fatty meat, etc.
Get Your Heart Beating
Our bodies did not evolve to be motionless and inert; they evolved with muscles, hearts, and cardiovascular systems that need to be activated. Physical activity makes your heart stronger and improves your heart’s ability to pump blood throughout your body, which increases blood flow to your brain. Better blood flow equals better overall brain function. Thirty minutes 3 or 4 times a week is all you need. If you don’t know what to do, walk fast, like you’re late.
Increase Your Omega 3s
A recent study published found that omega-3 deficient subjects with cardiovascular disease showed reduced cardiovascular risk factors and improved lipid profiles after a period of supplementation with DHA and EPA. Additionally, inflammation, considered to be a major cause of heart disease, is promoted by low levels of omega-3 fatty acids. This must be part of the reason that the American Heart Association now recommends that everyone ensure they are getting enough omega-3 fatty acids.
BrainMD’s Omega-3 Power provides highly purified omega-3 fatty acids at optimal dose levels from the most advanced production, detoxification and purification process in the industry.
Keep Blood Pressure Under Control
Check your blood pressure often, and, if it is high, follow your doctor’s advice on how to lower it. Treating high blood pressure reduces the risk for heart disease.
Cigarette smoking is linked to increased risk for heart disease. In fact, it is estimated that about 20% of heart disease deaths are due to cigarette smoking! And smoking one pack of cigarettes per day more than doubles your risk of heart attack compared to nonsmokers.
Try Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Training
HRV is the beat-to-beat variation in heart rhythm. Most people think that a healthy heart rhythm is perfectly regular. Not so. Even under normal, healthy conditions, our heart rhythm bounces around. High HRV has been associated with heart and brain health, while low HRV has been associated with illness. The exciting news is that you can train your HRV. I often recommend HRV trainers, such as those found at www.heartmath.com.
Have More Sex
In addition to being a great source of exercise and stress management, sex can help the health of your heart. Research indicates that regular sex with a partner is associated with:
- Increased heart rate variability (a sign of heart health and a calmer mind)
- Improved heart cardiovascular function (3 times a week decreased risk of heart attack by half)
Reduce Your Salt Intake
Use it sparingly, and use sea salt at home. Avoid pre-marinated and canned foods that have much more sodium than is needed, raising blood pressure which is bad for the brain, heart and longevity.
Don’t forget: whatever is good for your heart is also good for your brain!
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