General health

January 10, 2024 • Brain health

Older Black Man Taking Blood Pressure SmThe mind and body are closely linked. The brain is an organ just like the heart or liver. So, habits that are good for the body are also good for the brain. But bad habits can harm both our physical and mental health.

Blood is circulated by the heart and carries nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. We get these nutrients from our diet and the oxygen from our lungs. All organs and cells in our body require these products but our brain consumes the most. In fact, our brain alone requires 20-25 percent of our blood and 20 to 30 percent of our energy intake at any given time. If our cardiovascular system which includes our heart and vessels does not function well due to plaque buildup caused from poor diet, hypertension, or vascular damage from diabetes, our brain can suffer. Likewise, if our lungs are affected by smoking, pollution, or chemicals, it can reduce the amount of oxygen exchanged resulting in decreased to the body. Without good nutrition and oxygen supplied by good circulation, the brain is unable to function at its best, which can affect cognitive function and increase the risk for dementia.

There aren’t any medicines right now that can completely fix memory loss or dementia. So, it is essential to do things that can lower the risk of these brain problems. Thankfully, studies have shown that what is good for our physical health is also good for our brain! For example, risk factors for brain problems include unhealthy eating, smoking, too much alcohol, depression, diabetes, being overweight, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Protective factors for the brain include physical activity, mindfulness, good sleep, mental and social activities, managing chronic diseases, and education.

In short, our brain health and our overall health are greatly influenced by our lifestyle choices. To improve your overall health, consider making healthy decisions in your everyday life:

  • Participation in prevention and regular checkups to ensure early detection of chronic diseases that can affect physical and brain health.
  • Embrace a balanced lifestyle with good diet and exercise.
  • Remaining active socially and cognitively to stimulate the mind.
  • Getting adequate sleep.
  • Adopting a positive outlook and practice mindfulness.

For more information or ideas on healthy living, visit: