Healthy heart habits also benefit your brain
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Dementia is a progressive decline of brain function associated with aging. The increasing rate of dementia has become a worldwide health problem. The most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
A healthy brain, like a healthy heart, depends on the ability of blood vessels to deliver sufficient oxygen to all parts of the body.
Blocked arteries can lead to heart attacks, heart disease, strokes, vascular disease and vascular dementia. Research has now linked Alzheimer’s dementia to the same risk factors that contribute to heart attacks and strokes: obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
The same heart-healthy diet and lifestyle factors that reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke are thought to also lower the risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to maintain good heart and brain function. Engage in regular physical activity for at least two and a half hours per week.
Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and seafood is also part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. You should avoid eating processed grains such as white flour and white rice, added sugar, sodium and saturated fats such as butter and fatty meats.
You should also avoid or quit smoking and minimize alcohol consumption
Even if you have a family history of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, you can improve your chances for healthy mental functioning as you age by following a heart-healthy lifestyle.