As the heart pumps blood through the body, it also provides essential blood to the brain. If blood vessels leading to the brain are damaged, the result can lead to stroke or dementia. It’s vital to keep your heart healthy to keep your brain functioning properly.
Ways to Keep the Heart and Brain Healthy
- Take steps to control blood pressure. High blood pressure affects nearly 75 million Americans. It can lead to serious health consequences and is a leading cause of stroke and heart disease. If high blood pressure goes unchecked for many years it can lead to dementia later in life.While high blood pressure is deadly, it can be controlled. Get your blood pressure checked often. If your doctor prescribes you medication always remember to take it faithfully and as directed.Additionally, avoid foods that raise blood pressure. Foods to avoid include processed foods - chips, crackers, pretzels, canned soups, deli meats and most condiments. These foods are especially high in sodium. Instead, eat foods that can help lower your blood pressure. (Read our list of the best foods to lower blood pressure.)
- Quit smoking. Smoking can severely damage blood vessels and increase your risk of a blood clot.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol can also raise blood pressure and increase your risk of some types of heart disease.
- Eat healthy foods. A diet filled with leafy-green vegetables, fruits, whole grain and fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Keep your diabetes under control. If you have or are at risk of diabetes, ensure you are following the proper steps to control it. Take doctor-prescribed medication as directed and eat a diet that promotes normal blood glucose levels.
- Exercise regularly. Regular, consistent exercise provides so many benefits, not only for your heart and brain but for your overall well-being. Shoot for a minimum of 20 minutes per day of moderate (think brisk walk) to vigorous (HIIT, CrossFit, running) exercise to get your heart pumping.
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