Among the many benefits of maintaining heart health include the ability to live a long life, relieve symptoms of depression, and reduce the chance of dementia. According to a proverb, "With a healthy heart, the beat carries on." The path to a healthy heart is broken down by Luke Coutinho, Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle - Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine, Founder of You Care.
Tips to Keep Your Heart Healthy
Emotional Health: Today emotional health is a no.1 priority for better heart health. Negative emotions and thoughts stimulate the flight and fight response which results in the production of cortisol. Elevated levels of cortisol are known to also elevate blood pressure, heart rate, and inflammation, all of which can harm heart health. Invest more time in healing yourself emotionally through yoga, pranayama, meditation, visualization, laughter, positive affirmations, etc.
Vitamin Breathing: One deep inhale and exhale is all it takes to calm your mind and heart. Deep breathing is known to shift our body from a state of fight and flight to a state of rest and digestion almost instantly. This makes a regular practice of deep breathing an extremely heart-healthy habit.
Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant-Rich Foods: The main reasons behind heart attacks are not cholesterol but inflammation and oxidative damage in the heart, blood vessels, endothelial lining, arteries, etc. Inflammation and oxidative damage are caused by the free radicals from the food that we eat, the air that we breathe, and several lifestyle choices that we make. Foods like turmeric, ginger, garlic, and black pepper - are potent foods to curb inflammation. Additionally, eat an array of differently colored fruits and berries when they are in season.
Prioritize Sleep: Poor sleep or lack of sleep can be destructive to our heart health. This is because when we sleep, the heart gets a break and works lesser. The heart is a muscle and it requires recovery. Lack of sleep also increases insulin resistance, blood pressure, and inflammation.
Stay Active: Sitting excessively is like smoking. Make sure you are physically active throughout the day. The risks of heart attacks are more in people who live inactive lifestyles. Walking, yoga, Zumba, and trekking are extremely beneficial exercises for the heart.
Cut Out Smoking: Both active and passive smoking is toxic to the heart. Smoking contributes to both oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. The chemicals emitted from cigarette cause plaque build-up in the arteries. It also depletes several vitamins and minerals and hardens the arteries.
Get more raw food in your diet for its fiber and antioxidant intake.
10 foods that will help your heart stay young and healthy
Good Quality Oils: like coconut oil, pure A2 Gir cow ghee, and mustard oil help boost good cholesterol and fight inflammation.
Omega 3-Rich Foods: Omega 3 fatty acid is an important and extremely healthy fatty acid for the heart. It helps in curbing inflammation, heals arterial walls, and boosts HDL while lowering LDL. E.g.: fatty fish, flax seeds, walnuts, and chia seeds to name a few.
Beetroot: for its ability to act as a vasodilator and high antioxidant content.
Garlic: for its inflammatory and bad cholesterol-lowering properties. It also acts as a natural blood thinner.
Organic Tea (black, white, oolong, matcha): for its high antioxidant content, especially EGCG. Also, research now finds that it holds potent cholesterol-lowering properties and can prevent plaque build-up in the arteries.
Fruits Like Grapes, Pomegranate, and Berries: for their high antioxidant content.
Vitamin E-Rich Foods: for their ability to curb inflammation, fight free radicals, cell repair, and heal arteries. It's a must-have for people who are exposed to cigarette and industrial pollution. E.g.: sunflower seeds, unsalted peanuts, avocados, almonds, and sesame.
Magnesium-Rich Foods: for their ability to boost cardiac muscle health, and blood pressure. E.g.: all nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables, cacao.
Potassium-Rich Foods: plays a role in every heartbeat. It manages blood pressure, and cardiac muscle contractions and keeps the heart rhythm steady. E.g.: banana, avocados, pumpkin.
Vitamin K-Rich Foods: for high antioxidant properties and preventing calcification of arteries. E.g.: green leafy vegetables, broccoli, prunes, avocado.
Foods to Avoid
Refined Sugar and Refined Carbohydrate Intake: Both of them can contribute to inflammation, spike blood sugar levels and thus increase the risk of a heart attack. Also, excess of both could lead to elevated triglyceride levels. On the other hand, complex carbs like dosas, idlis, rotis, hand-pounded rice, etc are all healthy carbs and can be included in your diet for good health and preventing the risk of a heart attack. People who give up on such complex carbs end up being deficient in Vitamin K2 - which can result in the calcification of arteries.
Refined Salt: Refined salt and MSG can create inflammation in the body, elevate blood pressure and cause water retention thereby burdening the kidneys. One can opt for Himalayan pink or rock salt after they keep their health professional in the loop.
Refined Oils: Refined vegetable oils are rich in omega-6 fatty acids. Omega 6 is harmful to health as it leads to inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.
Processed and Packaged Foods: Processed and packaged foods too are causative to increased rates of heart attacks and stroke. This is again because this packaged and processed food is prepared with low-grade refined oil which increases oxidative damage and inflammation in the body.
Excessive Tea and Coffee, Alcohol: Overconsumption of tea, and coffee can aggravate or cause acidity and inflammation, more so if the beverage contains sugar, cream, and other additives. Alcohol too can raise bad cholesterol, cause inflammation and elevate blood pressure.
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न्यूयॉर्क: जिन लोगों को नॉन-अल्कोहलिक फैटी लीवर डिजीज (एनएएफएलडी) है, उनमें लीवर में फैट सेल्स का निर्माण होता है, उनमें डिमेंशिया का खतरा अधिक होता है। एक नए अध्ययन में ये बताया गया है। एनएएफएलडी लीवर की आम बीमारी है, जो दुनिया की लगभग 25 प्रतिशत आबादी को प्रभावित करती है। रोग यकृत कोशिकाओं में वसा के संचय से लीवर की सूजन और लीवर सिरोसिस तक बढ़ सकता है।
अत्यधिक शराब का सेवन फैटी लीवर का कारण बन सकता है, वहीं एनएएफएलडी मोटापे और संबंधित स्थितियों जैसे उच्च रक्तचाप या टाइप 2 मधुमेह के कारण भी हो सकता है।
जर्नल न्यूरोलॉजी में प्रकाशित अध्ययन से पता चला है कि एनएएफएलडी वाले लोग जिन्हें हृदय रोग भी है या जिन्हें स्ट्रोक हुआ है, उनमें डिमेंशिया का खतरा और भी अधिक हो सकता है।
जिन लोगों को लीवर की बीमारी नहीं है, उनकी तुलना में एनएएफएलडी वाले लोगों में डिमेंशिया की दर 38 प्रतिशत अधिक है।
मस्तिष्क में अपर्याप्त रक्त प्रवाह के कारण होने वाले डिमेंशिया को देखते हुए, शोधकर्ताओं ने पाया कि एनएएफएलडी वाले लोगों में लीवर की बीमारी वाले लोगों की तुलना में 44 प्रतिशत अधिक दर थी। शोधकर्ताओं ने हालांकि अल्जाइमर रोग नहीं पाया।
लीवर की बीमारी वाले लोग जिन्हें हृदय रोग भी था, उनमें डिमेंशिया का 50 प्रतिशत अधिक जोखिम था। जिन लोगों को लीवर की बीमारी और स्ट्रोक था, उनमें डिमेंशिया का खतरा 2.5 गुना अधिक था।
स्वीडन में करोलिंस्का इंस्टीट्यूट के यिंग शांग ने कहा, "हमारे अध्ययन से पता चलता है कि गैर-मादक वसायुक्त यकृत रोग डिमेंशिया से जुड़ा है, जो मुख्य रूप से मस्तिष्क में किसी प्रकार की चोट से हो सकता है।"
"ये परिणाम इस संभावना को उजागर करते हैं कि लीवर और हृदय रोग एक साथ होने पर इसके उपचार से डिमेंशिया का खतरा कम हो सकता है।" (एजेंसी)
यह भी पढ़े► हीमोफिलिया के मरीजों की जीन थेरेपी से रक्तस्राव में आएगी कमी
People with Type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke have double the risk of developing dementia, finds a study.
Type 2 diabetes, heart diseases (ischemic heart disease, heart failure or atrial fibrillation) and stroke, so-called cardiometabolic diseases, are some of the main risk factors for dementia.
The presence of more than one cardiometabolic disease accelerated the speed of cognitive decline and doubled the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia, expediting their development by two years. The magnitude of the risk was increased with a greater number of diseases, revealed the study published in the journal, Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association.
Prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease could therefore be a strategy for reducing dementia risk, suggest researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
"In our study, the combinations of diabetes/heart disease and diabetes/heart disease/stroke were the most damaging to cognitive function," said Abigail Dove, doctoral student at the Aging Research Centre, at the Institute.
However, individuals who had just one cardiometabolic disease did not display a significantly higher risk of dementia.
"This is good news. The study shows that the risk only increases once someone has at least two of the diseases, so it's possible that dementia can be averted by preventing the development of a second disease," he added.
Dementia develops slowly over decades. It first manifests as gradual cognitive decline that only shows up in cognitive tests. It then degenerates into cognitive impairment in which the individual notices their failing memory but can still look after themselves, and finally into full-blown dementia.
The researchers extracted data on a total of 2,500 healthy, dementia-free individuals over the age of 60 living on Kungsholmen in Stockholm. The participants were then followed for 12 years with medical examinations and cognitive tests in order to monitor changes in cognitive ability and the development of dementia.
The correlation between cardiometabolic diseases and the risk for dementia was stronger in the participants who were under 78 years old.
"We should therefore focus on cardiometabolic disease prevention already in middle age, since the risk of cognitive failure and dementia appears higher among those who develop a cardiometabolic disease earlier in life," Dove said. (agency)
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London: Exercise maintains insulin and body mass index (BMI) levels, which helps, protect brain volume and thus help stave off dementia, researchers have found.
The study, published in the journal Neurology, showed the relationship between exercise and the metabolism of glucose in the brain was not affected by insulin or BMI levels.
Reduced glucose metabolism in the brain can be seen in people with dementia.
"These results may help us to understand how physical activity affects brain health, which may guide us in developing strategies to prevent or delay age-related decline in memory and thinking skills," said Geraldine Poisnel, from Inserm Research Center in Caen, France.
"Older adults, who are physically active, gain cardiovascular benefits, which may result in greater structural brain integrity," Poisnel added.
The study involved 134 people with an average age of 69 who had no memory problems. The people filled out surveys about their physical activity over the past year. They had brain scans to measure volume and glucose metabolism. Information was gathered on BMI and insulin levels as well as cholesterol, blood pressure and other factors.
People with the most physical activity had a higher total volume of grey matter in their brains than people with the least amount of physical activity, with an average of about 550,000 cubic millimetres compared to about 540,000 cubic mm.
When researchers looked only at areas of the brain affected by Alzheimer's disease, they found the same results.
Those with the most activity also had a higher average rate of glucose metabolism in the brain than those with the least amount of activity.
Higher physical activity was not associated with how much amyloid plaque - a marker for Alzheimer's disease - people had in their brains.
Poisnel said more research is needed to understand the mechanisms behind these relationships.
"Maintaining a lower BMI through physical activity could help prevent disturbed insulin metabolism that is often seen in ageing, thus promoting brain health," Poisnel said. (agency)
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London: Researchers have identified a link suggesting that lithium could decrease the risk of developing dementia, affecting nearly 10 million people every year.
With more than 55 million people living with dementia worldwide, dementia is currently the seventh leading cause of death among all diseases and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people globally.
The study, led by researchers from the University of Cambridge, suggested that patients who received lithium were less likely to develop dementia than those who did not, although the overall number of patients who received lithium in the study was small.
The team conducted a retrospective analysis of the health records of nearly 30,000 patients, all over the age of 50.
Their findings, reported in the journal PLoS Medicine, support the possibility that lithium could be a preventative treatment for dementia, and could be progressed to large randomised controlled trials.
"The number of people with dementia continues to grow, which puts huge pressure on healthcare systems," said first author Dr Shanquan Chen from Cambridge's Department of Psychiatry.
"It's been estimated that delaying the onset of dementia by just five years could reduce its prevalence and economic impact by as much as 40 per cent," Chen added.
Previous studies have proposed lithium as a potential treatment for those who have already been diagnosed with dementia or early cognitive impairment, but it is unclear whether it can delay or even prevent the development of dementia altogether, as these studies have been limited in size.
Lithium is a mood stabiliser usually prescribed for conditions such as bipolar affective disorder and depression. "Bipolar disorder and depression are considered to put people at increased risk of dementia, so we had to make sure to account for this in our analysis," said Chen.
Further, the researchers said they expected to find that patients with bipolar disorder were more likely to develop dementia, since that is the most common reason to be prescribed lithium, "but our analysis suggested the opposite," said Chen.
"It's far too early to say for sure, but it's possible that lithium might reduce the risk of dementia in people with bipolar disorder," Chen noted, adding further experimental medicine and clinical studies are needed to see if lithium really is helpful in these conditions. (agency)
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US researchers have discovered a gene that may help explain why some people who lead enriching lives are less prone to Alzheimer's and age-related dementia.
Many people develop Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia as they get older. However, others remain sharp well into old age, even if their brains show underlying signs of neurodegeneration. Among these cognitively resilient people, researchers have identified education level and amount of time spent on intellectually stimulating activities as factors that help prevent dementia.
The study, led by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, showed that this kind of enrichment appears to activate a gene family called MEF2, which controls a genetic programme in the brain that promotes resistance to cognitive decline.
The researchers observed this link between MEF2 and cognitive resilience in both humans and mice. The findings suggest that enhancing the activity of MEF2 or its targets might protect against age-related dementia.
"It's increasingly understood that there are resilience factors that can protect the function of the brain," said Li-Huei Tsai, Director of MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.
"Understanding this resilience mechanism could be helpful when we think about therapeutic interventions or prevention of cognitive decline and neurodegeneration-associated dementia," Tsai added. The study appears in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The MIT team set out to try to figure how the environmental factors, such as education level, type of job, number of languages spoken, affect the brain at the neuronal level. They looked at human datasets and mouse models in parallel, and both tracks converged on MEF2 as a critical player.
In two human datasets comprising slightly more than 1,000 people all together, the MIT team found that cognitive resilience was highly correlated with expression of MEF2 and many of the genes that it regulates.
To study cognitive resilience in mice, the researchers compared mice who were raised in cages with no toys, and mice placed in a more stimulating environment with a running wheel and toys that were swapped out every few days.
As they found in the human study, MEF2 was more active in the brains of the mice exposed to the enriched environment. These mice also performed better in learning and memory tasks.
The findings suggest that enhancing MEF2 activity could help to protect against dementia, but, because MEF2 also affects other types of cells and cellular processes, more study is needed to make sure that activating it wouldn't have adverse side effects, the researchers said. (Agency)
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