We’ve all heard the saying that our body is like a temple. And even though it’s a metaphor and it has nothing to do with how our bodies work, it turns out that it might be right from more than a single point of view. I mean, of course, structurally-wise.
As with most structures, our bodies are built upon a structural frame and several other supports. When the structural frame or any of the supports fail or just weaken, you risk to watch the temple topple over. Sure, you can bring the pieces back together, but first you need to rediscover the communication between the temple’s constituent elements.
The pieces fit
According to a new study led by neurology assistant Hannah Gardener from the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, an aging brain is protected by a healthy heart. The researchers used guidelines from the American Heart Association and performed the study with a hiatus period of six years.
The guide used was a series of goals set by the AHA, a series known as Life’s Simple Seven. The seven goals are all meant to help you live a healthy life and to keep a healthy heart. The seven simple tenets are to manage your blood pressure, to control your cholesterol levels, to reduce your blood sugar, to eat healthy, to stay physically active, to maintain a healthy weight and to quit smoking.
Surprisingly clear, the results showed that those study participants who managed to adhere to more of the Simple Seven not only had a faster brain processing speed, but they also showed far less decline in their memories and executive functions (cognitive, focusing, organizational and time management skills) over the years.
The sample used for the study was quite impressive, with the scientists looking at more than 1,000 American senior citizens living in Northern Manhattan. Their average age was 72, with 65 percent being Hispanic, 19 percent being black and 16 percent white. The team looked at how much they followed Life’s Simple Seven.
None of the participants managed to follow all seven tenets, but here’s how much they managed to stick to them – 3 percent met no goals, 15 percent met one, two goals were met by 33 percent, and three goals were met by 30 percent. 14 percent of the participants met four goals, 4 percent met five, and only 1 percent met six of the seven goals.
After measuring the participants’ mental capacities, the researchers waited six years and performed the same tests on 722 participants. AS expected, the more tenets they stuck to, the lower was their decrease in memory and executive functions.
So, there you have it, clear as day – having a heart-healthy lifestyle leads to improved brain health and to a reduced amount of brain function degradation over the years.
Image source: Wikimedia