Ways to keep Brain Healthy (health news writted by Kimberly Holland for helpline)
The condition of your blood vessels may determine a lot about the health of your brain, according to new research. Age do not matter. Old or young everybody must avoid habits having adverse effects on blood vessels.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh found that a variety of factors including smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes — all conditions that affect your blood vessels or vascular risk factors — may also hurt your brain.
Over time, these factors may lead to brain deterioration and increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
This new study published March 11 looked at the MRI scans of brains from 9,772 people between the ages of 44 and 79.
Vascular risks increase brain health risks
The researchers were able to use the brain scans to quantify exactly how much brain matter is lost when these vascular risk factors are present.
People with the highest vascular risk had around 18 milliliters (ml), or nearly 3 percent, less volume of gray matter compared to people without the risk factors.
“This is a very important study, which serves as a wake-up call to all patients who have cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, high pulse pressure, diabetes, and obesity,” Guy L.Mintz, director of cardiovascular health and lipidology at Northwell Health’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, New York, told Healthline. “This study demonstrated that these risk factors are associated with brain shrinkage. The cause for this type of brain damage is most likely injury to the blood vesselsNo matter what age, our behaviors impact the health of our bodies and our brains. This means that younger adults need to be aware of the importance of not taking on unhealthy habits like smoking, physical inactivity, overeating, or unhealthy eating. Even in younger adults, unhealthy habits can take a toll on the structural integrity of the brain and its connections,” Merrill said.
Lifestyle changes protect the heart — and the brain
Aim for 150 minutes or more of aerobic exercise each week. If you’ve not been moving regularly, don’t worry.
Merrill pointed out that one study found sedentary older adults who participated in a new habit of walking regularly for one year showed significant improvements in memory performance that also related to growth of memory areas in the brain.
Aerobic exercise coupled with strength training at least two times per week has been shown to improve heart health, according to Merrill. “We now know that these activities in all likelihood also improve brain health,” he said.
Eat a heart-healthy diet
“In addition to eating brain-boosting foods like blueberries, nuts, and fatty fish, cut back on frozen meals, take out, deli meat, and cheese, which are some of the highest sources of sodium in the American diet that can drive up blood pressure,” Younkin said.
She added that there are clear guidelines for how to approach each meal.
“Aim to make half your plate non-starchy vegetables and a quarter of your plate whole grains,” she said. “The increase in fiber and decrease in ‘empty’ carbohydrates will help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your blood sugar stable.”
Be more mindful
Anxiety and stress take a toll on your mental health, but they can also impact your physical and brain health, too. Regular meditation or a mindfulness practice may help reduce the risk of worsening vascular health.
Poor or inadequate sleep is associated with worsening health and vascular risk factors, including high blood pressure and weight gain.
Your brain needs those “off” hours to help clean up neurons and synapses and make memories. When you don’t get quality sleep, your brain health and your physical health are significantly impacted.
Use your brain
“Remaining cognitively active through social activities, like attending a book club or taking a cooking class, may help slow down or stave off the development of memory loss and associated depression with aging,” Merrill said