Heart-Healthy Habits Are Brain-Healthy Habits
It’s no secret that people who do a better job choosing healthy lifestyle habits have a better chance of living a better quality of life with more vitality and less illness. Current research is showing that the healthiest people have healthy brains and healthy hearts, and developing good wellness habits can make both your heart and your brain healthier. For example, exercising and staying fit is great for your heart, and it’s also great for your brain. Improving your circulation, moving your body and expanding your breathing makes you feel better, look better and work better.
And the foods you eat play a major role in both heart and brain function. Years ago, people thought that fat was bad for you and sugar was brain food – now, we know that it’s the other way around, sugar is bad for you and healthy fat is brain food.
The worst dietary culprits that hurt heart and brain health are sugary foods, fried foods and processed foods. So, you’d want to reduce or completely stay away from candy, cake and cookies, muffins and donuts, soda, deep-fried chicken or French-fried potatoes, sausage, bacon or luncheon meats.
Instead, if you want to give your brain and your heart foods that make you healthier, start by deciding you won’t settle for less than first quality food – organic when you can get it, non-GMO (not changed in a laboratory, in plain English), and free of added preservatives, chemicals and artificial flavorings. Read the labels of what you’re putting in your body, and raise your standards if you want a healthier brain and heart.
The best diets are plant-based, like fresh vegetables and many fruits and for some, meat or seafood, for others, nuts and seeds – there are many choices once you have decided to eat healthier. Experiment to find out what works best for you and your family.
For example, your brain and heart love foods that are rich in healthy fats, like avocado, salmon, walnuts, and olive oil. So, a simple guacamole (mashed avocado with cilantro, lime juice, tomato and onion as preferred, and salt, pepper and jalapeno to taste) can be a great healthy lunch or snack with organic tortilla chips, or you could try a delicious healthy dinner of grilled salmon and green beans with a lovely salad of your favorite lettuce, walnuts, avocado, shredded carrot and a thin slice of red onion with a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
It should be obvious enough from decades of unfavorable press and scientific scorn that smoking is bad for you, but one of the worst things about it is how much it stresses your heart and your brain. Smoking damages the blood vessels, which increases the odds of a heart attack or a stroke. Smoking raises your blood pressure, and reduces circulation because it constricts blood flow. If you smoke, find a way to quit. If you don’t smoke, do yourself, your brain and your heart a favor and don’t start.
Eating is one of the most fun and rewarding things you can do, but a little common sense keeps your food from hurting you and will give you many more healthy years to eat and enjoy.
Eat a reasonable amount – moderate portions will keep you from overeating. Strike a balance between types of foods – some people like meat, some do not. Spicy food, salty food, creamy food, crunchy food, find the healthiest foods that meet your standards, and support you in feeling and functioning well.
Maintaining a healthy body weight also seems to be an essential part of the healthy-brain-healthy-heart lifestyle. The logic is unmistakable – too heavy, and your heart and brain have to work too hard to keep running properly. Too undernourished, and the brain and heart don’t have the raw materials or fuel to function well.
There is a reasonable range of appropriate body weight, based on height and build, as well as activity level, and you may have a good idea what works best for you – but if you’re not sure then it’s simple to find out what a healthy target weight might be for someone like you.
None of these habits are extreme or difficult – when applied consistently, they will strengthen your heart and circulation, and your brain and nerve system. And getting your brain and body to work together at peak performance is enhanced by chiropractic care – the latest scientific research demonstrates that chiropractic adjustments improve brain function, including the communication between brain and heart. So, there’s one more important health habit to consider – visit your family chiropractor. If you don’t have a family chiropractor yet, we’d love to apply to be yours! We serve the Bucks County and Montgomery County areas with the best chiropractic care, and we look forward to taking care of your family!