What’s good for your heart is also good for your brain according to the Alzheimer’s Association. If your heart isn’t pumping well – or if your brain’s blood vessels are damaged – your brain cells have trouble getting all the food and oxygen they need. Any condition that damages your heart or blood vessels can affect your brain’s blood supply.
The brain is the most active organ in the body and like many other parts of the body, the brain loses some agility as you get older. However, there are many things you can do to help keep your brain healthy as you age and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Association encourages consumers to “maintain your brain” and offers the following tips:
Be heart smart – High blood pressure, heart disease and stroke are risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Control your body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar to help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Adopt a brain-healthy diet – A low-fat, low cholesterol diet is advisable. And there is growing evidence that a diet rich in dark vegetables and fruits, which contain antioxidants, may help protect brain cells.
Stay physically active – Physical exercise is essential for maintaining good blood flow to the brain as well as to encourage new brain cells. It also can significantly reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes, and thereby protect against those risk factors for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Stay mentally active – mentally stimulating activities strengthen brain cells and the connections between them, and may even create new nerve cells.
Remain socially involved – Social activity not only makes physical and mental activity more enjoyable, it can reduce stress levels, which helps maintain healthy connections among brain cells.
The cause and cure for Alzheimer’s disease is not known, but these tips might delay or prevent the appearance of Alzheimer’s disease.