Nutrition and Healing

Dr. Glenn Rothfeld’s Nutrition & Healing is intended to provide cutting-edge health information.
Nothing on this site should be interpreted as personal medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before changing anything related to your healthcare.

A weak heart could mess with your head

As you age, your body is like a classic car.

There may be some wear and tear on your suspension… or some imperfections in your paint job… but if you keep your engine maintained and properly lubed, you’ll keep rolling along well into your “golden years”!

Now, if you’ve been reading my eTips for a while now, you know that blood flow from your heart is what keeps your brain “well-oiled” — because your blood carries critical oxygen and nutrients that nourish your gray matter.

The amount of blood that gets to every nook and cranny of your body is one of the most crucial aspects of all of health. If the blood isn’t able to nourish the organs and muscles and every other piece of the body, basically nothing works.

In fact, though your brain only makes up 2 percent of your body weight, it gets 12 percent of the blood flow from your ticker!

And according to a new study, if your heart loses some of its pumping ability, that could threaten your brain health… and even cause you to lose precious memories.

In the study out of Vanderbilt University, a group of over 300 older folks — about 40 percent of whom had mild cognitive impairment — underwent tests to measure blood flow in their brains and their “cardiac index,” which is the amount of blood flowing out of the heart adjusted for body size.

After analyzing the data, the researchers found that those whose hearts weren’t pumping like they used to also showed decreased blood flow in a key part of the brain called the temporal lobes.

And it just so happens that the temporal lobes are where Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia begin!

Now, everyone’s heart loses SOME pumping strength as we age — but the study found that the participants with the lowest cardiac indexes had the kind of brain blood flow reductions typically seen in people 15 to 20 years OLDER.

So, if you want to hold onto your precious memories, keep that blood FLOWING.

One of the best ways to make sure blood pumps freely to every single nook and cranny of your body is to up your intake of something called nitrate, which is found in beets, blueberries, carrots, and leafy greens like spinach.

Your body converts nitrate into nitric oxide (NO), which relaxes your arteries… makes them more flexible… and allows the blood to gush through unobstructed.

As I shared with you in the November 2016 issue of my Nutrition & Healing newsletter, foods such as citrus, garlic, cocoa, and even the holiday favorite pomegranate can also help raise NO levels. Supplements such as citrulline, arginine, pycnogenol, and quercetin can as well.

Of course, exercise can really get your heart pumping, too… AND it’s also been shown to increase NO levels… and that may be part of why physical activity protects against cognitive decline.

Since this is a topic that never goes out of style, you can read more about blood flow in the November 2017 issue of Nutrition & Healing, which hit subscribers’ inboxes last month.

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