February is Heart Health Month!

Did you know that exercise can make you smarter? When you exercise, blood flow to the brain increases and hormones are released that can help you learn. Aerobic activity that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat, also appears to increase the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in memory and learning. Your brain will benefit from the heart healthy steps you take to eat better, exercise more, and stress less.

There is a strong link between the cardiovascular system and the brain. Healthy lifestyle choices that prevent heart disease may also help keep your mind sharp. The familiar heart disease and stroke culprits – high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and clogged arteries – can also lead to the tiny injuries to the brain’s white matter that are associated with lower thinking ability. These same risk factors are also implicated in Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.

So, what steps can you take to safeguard your brain power and protect your heart?

  • Adopt a heart healthy diet that includes lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and polyunsaturated fats.
  • Exercise!
  • Get enough sleep
  • Strive to reduce stress