Heart & Brain

Here’s a collection of great articles and information on heart and brain health. Super important!! Lots of great information within each article.

The title of the article might not relate to your current situation or condition, but each article directly ties into the need for better health, fitness and understanding of how it all works within the body, from improving the diet, dispelling food myths, reducing inflammation around critical internal organs and brain, getting the necessary vitamins and sleep each day, to exercise.

Habits to start today to stop Dementia and Alzheimer’s Before it Starts

Originally posted on The Hearty Soul


1. Adequate Vitamin D

Surprisingly, vitamin D is not really a single nutrient, but actually a group of secosteroids that act more like hormones. Their primary role is helping the intestines to absorb calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and zinc. Unfortunately, it is estimated that anywhere from 40%-75% of adults are deficient in vitamin D. This is a problem because seniors who are mildly deficient have a 53% higher risk of dementia, and that number jumps to 125% in those severely deficient. (2, 3)

Though the exact mechanism for this is still unknown, there is no doubt that we need more of this nutrient. Our best source of vitamin D is synthesizing it in our skin from the sun, however this can be difficult due to our largely indoor lifestyles, and the fact that aging skin processes vitamin D less and less effeciently. (3, 4)

The current suggested intake of vitamin D from American Dietitians and Dietitians of Canada for adults under 69 years of age is 600 IU per day, and 800 IU for those over 70 (3, 4). The vitamin D council, however, recommends daily intakes of 5000 IU, and many health care practitioners are starting to suggest doses of 1000IU to 10 000 IU (a safe upper limit).(12) A study done by the Institue of Medicine found that intakes of 800IU-5000IU per day improved the health of bones and muscle in patients over the age of 65, and cummulative doses much larger than that over a the span of a couple weeks improved the health of patients who were deficient. (13)

Supplementation, especially for those in colder climates, who have indoor jobs, or darker skin tones, is often necessary. Other food sources of vitamin D include: (3, 4)

  • Cod liver oil
  • swordfish
  • salmon
  • tuna
  • fortified yogurt
  • sardines
  • liver

If you are looking for a vitamin D supplement, we suggest Suntrex D3 drops. This is a high-quality vegan vitamin D supplement that has 2,000IU per drop, making them cost-effective as well.

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential dietary fat that is important for early cognitive development in children and learning and memory in adults. It is found in our cell membranes, and higher levels of this fat in our brain cells is thought to improve their communication with other cells in the body.

Though they have not shown to be effective in the later stages of dementia, studies have shown that supplementation early on in dementia may improve symptoms, and diets high in omega-3s or that have been supplemented early on in life can decrease your chance of developing the disease.

Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Oily Fish (mackerel, tuna, herring, and salmon)
  • flaxseed oil
  • chia seeds
  • walnuts
  • soybeans
  • spinach

Brands to check out when looking for Omega-3 supplements are Thorne Fish Oil or this vegetarian Omega-3 supplement for vegetarians or those with seafood allergies, or perilla seed supplement (also suitable for vegetarians, vegans, and fish allergies).

Keep in mind that fish is only beneficial when cooked in a health-promoting way, not when deep-fried.

3. Leafy Greens

Researchers from Rush university found that adults who ate one serving of leafy green vegetables each day had the same cognitive function of those 11 years younger than they are in comparison to those who did not eat the vegetables. (5)

The thinking is that it’s the high levels of folate, beta carotene, and vitamin K found in vegetables like spinach and kale are responsible for the brain-boosting effects. More research is being done on the role of these vitamins in Alzheimer’s and dementia prevention. Until then, be sure to get your greens in! These are your best options, try to eat one every day (recipes linked!):(5)

4. Get Proper Sleep

New studies show that lack of sleep, especially when chronic, may give the proteins that cause dementia greater access to your brain. Furthermore, a specific lack in the deep non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep may put your brain at an even greater risk for memory loss. This means that simple quantity of sleep isn’t enough to fight dementia, but good quality is also required. (6, 7, 8)

Our overly stressful, fast-paced, and demanding lives can make getting to bed in good time and having long, restful sleep seem impossible. Establishing a proper sleep routine is critical. From there, try using these simple tricks to help you sleep better tonight.

5. Decrease Inflammation

Chronic inflammation from stress, lack of sleep, and poor diet and lifestyle habits is not only causing us heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, but it also has a major impact on the health and longevity of our brains. Chronic, low-grade inflammation causes changes to our brain structure and is now linked to the neurodegenerative changes associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s. (9)

Thankfully, there are several foods that are known to help decrease the amount of inflammation in our bodies. These foods include (10):

6. Increase Physical Activity

In combination with heart-healthy eating, a regular exercise routine can lower your risk of dementia. In addition to its cardiovascular benefits, exercise also increases blood and oxygen flow to the brain. This will protect your brain and keep it “young”. (11)

The exercise does not have to be long and intense, even just getting out for a 30-minute walk each day can be of benefit. It is important to include both cardiovascular exercise and some strength training exercise multiple times a week, for the health of your body and to prevent the onset of dementia.

7. Make Social Connections

More and more research is coming out about the importance of maintaining strong social connections and remaining mentally active can lower cognitive decline and the risk of dementia. Though not entirely sure on how this works, researchers believe that social and mental stimulation strengthens the connections between nerve cells in the brain. (11)

While mind games such as doing a crossword puzzle may be beneficial, what is even more so is doing mentally stimulating activities with others. Meeting a group of friends for coffee and conversation, hosting a paint night –  anything that gets you mentally engaged with your friends and family will have benefit.

Though the brain is one of the least understood parts of the human body, scientists are continually trying to understand it better so that we can cure and prevent brain-related diseases. The important thing to remember is a healthy lifestyle, including proper diet, exercise, sleep, and healthy relationships with others is the best way to not only prevent dementia and protect your brain but to protect yourself from disease and illness in general and live a long, healthy, and enjoyable life.

10 Dangerous Brain-Damaging Habits To Stop Immediately

Originally posted on August 4, 2015 by DREW CANOLE at FitLife.tv

Written by: Drew Canole

Your brain is obviously a very important part of your being. It is one of the largest organs in your body and is the main control center for every function that happens in your day-to-day life. It carries a heck of a lot of information around and has an endless list of responsibilities!

The brain is also surprisingly delicate. In recent years, the World Health Organization released what they consider to be the top 10 brain-damaging habits that are common among people today.

  1. No Breakfast
  2. Overeating
  3. Smoking
  4. High Sugar Consumption
  5. Air Pollution  
  6. Sleep Deprivation
  7. Head Covered While Sleeping
  8. Working Your Brain During Illness
  9. Lacking In Stimulating Thoughts
  10. Talking Rarely


What’s the Real Cause of Heart Attacks?

By Thomas S. Cowan, MD

Read the new research on heart attacks, and learn the most likely root cause. Now it’s recognized that most heart attacks are likely caused by an imbalance in your central nervous system (CNS) and your autonomic (or unconscious) nervous system (ANS), which controls the function of our internal organs. Find out how it’s tied to healthy living, and the avoidance of caffeine or sugar, nourishing the body with real food and good fats, and getting a regular pattern of exercising, eating and sleeping into daily life.


Diabetes Ages Your Brain Five Years Faster Than Normal

By Dr. Mercola

Even if you don’t have Diabetes, learning about how to prevent it could help you improve your senior years, regardless. There’s a great paragraph on the importance of Magnesium for glucose and insulin balance, something everyone should be aware of. Here’s some key points in the article:

  • People who are diagnosed with diabetes in their 50s are at a significantly heightened risk for mental decline by the time they’re 70
  • To prevent cognitive decline in your senior years, it’s important to eat a healthy diet and exercise, especially when you hit middle age


Systematic Review Finds No Grounds for Current Warnings Against Saturated Fat

By Dr. Mercola

  • A recent analysis found that saturated fats, which have the longest history of being (wrongfully) demonized were found to have no effect on heart disease risk
  • The only fat found to really promote heart disease was trans fat (found in margarine, vegetable shortening, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils)…avoid it!!
  • To protect your heart health, you need to address your insulin and leptin resistance, which is the result of eating a diet too high in sugars and grains…reduce insulin and avoid sugar and grains!!

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