"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Brain health is determined by heart health: Guidelines for lifestyle changes

The world is currently facing a pandemic that has the potential to get much, much worse. It's a dementia epidemic, affecting 50 million people and tens of millions more of their caregivers – a staggering number that's estimated Threefold By 2050

The dementia crisis is such a worldwide problem that the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a strategic public health motion plan, including establishing a scientific database of quality dementia research and developing guidelines for dementia prevention. Includes doing. The guidelines have just been published, a 96-page document summarizing Herelikewise on this post.

Dementia is a progressive, debilitating deterioration of brain function related to aging. Although there are numerous causes, essentially the most common – Alzheimer's and vascular dementia – at the moment are regarded as closely related to, and heavily influenced by, the identical dietary and lifestyle aspects.

Your eating regimen and lifestyle can reduce your risk of dementia.

Several vital preventive health habits are highly advisable:

Regular physical activity – any activity, not less than 150 minutes per week, tops the list of evidence-based actions. Exercise clearly reduces the danger of dementia, even Alzheimer's. Studies show. that folks who exercise more are less more likely to develop any kind of dementia, and this can be true for adults with mild cognitive impairment.

Eating a plant-based eating regimen could be very vital. Is Substantial research evidence This suggests eating a eating regimen high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and seafood is associated with significantly lower risk. of cognitive decline and dementia. This sort of eating is sometimes called the Mediterranean eating regimen, but it might probably be adapted to any culture or cuisine.

WHO also recommends avoiding toxic, inflammatory foods equivalent to processed grains (white flour, white rice), added sugar, sodium, and saturated fats equivalent to butter and fatty meats. It is essential to notice that WHO does no Recommend taking any vitamins or supplements for mental health, as there isn't any solid evidence that they've any effect. Eat only healthy plant-based foods and avoid unhealthy foods as much as possible.

The WHO also issues strong recommendations to avoid or quit smoking and to reduce alcohol consumption, especially in those with pre-existing cognitive concerns.

They mention additional lifestyle aspects which have less evidence but can also help: getting enough sleep, positive relationships, and social engagement have been shown to guard cognition.

What is interesting about these dementia prevention guidelines is how similar they're. To prevent heart disease.

How does heart health relate to cognitive health?

We've known for a very long time that diseases and conditions that clog the arteries in the center also clog arteries in the remaining of the body, including the brain. It all boils all the way down to damage to arteries, blood vessels which can be vital for blood flow and delivery of oxygen to organs. Arterial damage results in blockages within the arteries, which result in heart disease and stroke, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and vascular dementia.

Meanwhile, Alzheimer's disease was regarded as a unique process, since the brains of individuals with Alzheimer's appeared to be stuffed with tangled tube-like proteins (neurofibrillary tangles). However, an increasing number of research is linking Alzheimer's dementia to the identical risk aspects that cause heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and vascular dementia: obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

The evidence is substantial: Studies show that folks with these risk aspects are significantly more more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. Meanwhile, studies also show that folks with Alzheimer's disease have significantly reduced blood flow of their brains, and post-mortem studies show that Alzheimer's-affected brains can even have significant vascular damage. Is.

Researchers at the moment are specializing in why that is so – what's the connection? It appears that good blood flow to the brain is vital to clearing out the tubular proteins that may accumulate and tangle within the brains of Alzheimer's patients, and so a powerful hypothesis is that anything that may cause cerebral blood flow. Anything that reduces blood flow can increase the danger of Alzheimer's, and conversely, anything that increases blood flow can reduce the danger of Alzheimer's.

What is the take home message?

Even if someone has a family history of dementia, especially Alzheimer's dementia, and even in the event that they already suffer from mild cognitive impairment (forgetfulness, confusion), they'll still improve by simply living a heart-healthy lifestyle. May reduce the danger of developing dementia. This means not less than 150 minutes of activity per week, a plant-based eating regimen that goals for not less than five servings of vegetables and fruit per day, avoiding toxic foods equivalent to processed grains, added sugars, sodium and saturated fat, cigarettes Avoiding or giving up smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption as much as possible.

Selected resources

Executive summary of WHO dementia prevention guidelines

AHA/ACC Guideline on the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

Association of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension with cognitive impairment in older age. Clinical epidemiology25 July 2018.

Vascular and metabolic factors in Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Cellular and molecular neurobiologyMarch 2016.

Elucidating the relationship between hypertension, cognitive decline, and dementia: a review. Current reports of hypertensionMarch 2017.

Mediterranean diet, cognitive function, and dementia: a systematic review of the evidence. Advances in nutritionSeptember 2016.