Did you know: a healthy heart gives a sound mind and in turn a healthy brain. Let’s explore together just how the heart and brain work in tandem to give us a healthy life.
So if I need a healthy brain, how do I promote my heart health?
We have all heard this probably a million times: if you want to stay healthy you need to stay active. You may think all exercise does is to get your heart racing, but really, your heart needs to be conditioned to handle eustress (‘normal’ levels of stress) in the form of physical activity – and so does your brain. Exposing our bodies to regular experiences of high- and low-intensity workouts (with an emphasis on weight-bearing low-impact movement and strength building) helps with building healthy muscle tone, improving endurance, enhancing circulation, and decreasing inflammation.
Eat a healthy diet:
Good heart health is only attainable when you have a healthy diet. We’ve all heard about links between heart health and healthy levels of cholesterol. Now that’s not all there is to it: the quality of our nutrients is super important, and we need certain essential dietary fats (including cholesterol) for proper functioning of both the heart and brain.
The fetal brain develops when you have essential minerals, vitamins and fatty acids such as EPA and DHA. Both your heart and your brain depend on healthy nutrients and your whole body needs healthy whole foods to keep functioning.
Focus on detoxification:
We are bombarded by many toxins daily – from environmental exposure, air quality, the food we eat, and even the medications and supplements we may be taking! Realize that drugs of any kind have a variety of effects on our organs, including adverse effects and toxicity. As most of us are aware, they can tax our organs of detoxification and elimination, and burden our free radical load, resulting in inflammation.
Additionally, certain drugs are prone to crossing the blood-brain-barrier and may cause damage to the central nervous system. They could lead to memory loss or improper processing of information, not to mention risking the development tolerance, dependence and addictive patterns.
To assist our body in detoxifying from harmful substances, we need to support our organs of metabolism and elimination. Fasting (or intermittent fasting), drinking plenty of water, and taking certain herbs can help our liver, kidney and colon function to process harmful substances, release waste and lessen our toxic burden.
Stress coping mechanisms are all around you waiting to be adopted. You need to be able to manage stress if you really want to get yourself a healthy heart. Have you noticed that high-performing and high-functioning people, like CEOs of big corporations, tend to have hypertension and cardiovascular issues and inflammation? This is all due to the stress and pressure they hold themselves to. If you look at it this way, keeping stress and its long-term adverse effects at bay would leave you with a healthy heart. The more you stress your heart, the more you stress your brain.
You could always go online to search out ways to manage stress: it could be by discovering a new hobby and flowing with it, you could also manage stress by engaging in body moving activities that would make you sweat. Sweating is one way to cool your body and it would make you want to sleep (once you have all the sweat washed off). You can also manage stress by sleeping! That’s right, sleeping when you need to and not burdening yourself with work all the time.
A very simple way to manage stress in the moment is to take a few moments to be present in your body and take deep breaths. Diaphragmatic breathing will activate your vagus nerve and allow you to tap into the parasympathetic system and help you relax.
Get regular health screenings:
While you might be very confident of your heart health, consulting your physician would be beneficial to monitoring the state of your heart. Getting your heart screened regularly would let you know just how well you are taking care of your health and if you need to work on your diet or routines. You could get your heart screened at clinical labs.
You can also follow up with your neurologist to screen for any early signs of brain changes that can lead to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease or other disorders in cognitive and neurological function.
Maintain a healthy weight:
No intention to body shame here. We all need to realize that we need to maintain a healthy weight. It’s true, being overweight is bad for us. We have evolved over millennia to hold onto fat stores in times of stress and food shortages: a necessity for survival for our nomadic ancestors. However, in the modern industrial age and no lack of food-type substances we tend to ingest, these mechanisms contribute to chronic diseases, inflammation, and excess fat that contributes to heart disease.
If you have fat surrounding your heart, it would eventually stop your heart from functioning properly. Fat deposits in the form of cholesterol (and excess mineral deposits like calcium) would harden and clog your veins and arteries, impairing circulation. This disturbs proper blood flow, and can lead to problems for your two most vital organs: your heart and your brain (in the form of myocardial infarction, or heart attack, and transient ischemic attack, or stroke).
As this article has demonstrated, a healthy heart and brain are paramount to your general wellbeing. You can support these vital organs by implementing a healthy diet, regular exercise, enhancing detoxification, stress management techniques, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Regular screenings at your doctor’s office, and keeping track of your clinical labs would help inform you of what processes are at work, and whether your current lifestyle is harming or helping your health.