Study shows heart-healthy habits lead to a healthy mind

It turns out the health of your heart and the health of your mind are connected. According to a recent international study published in the journal Neurology, healthy eating – specifically foods that promote cardiovascular health – is tied to a reduction in cognitive decline. This is great insight for seniors who can apply the research to their meals for optimal physical and mental performance.

"Fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish are good for the heart and mind."

Brain food
In order to maintain good health, studies suggest seniors should ensure that their diets consist of fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish. It's similar to the Mediterranean diet, a meal plan that is known for its heart-healthy focus.

"It is likely that a healthy diet has effects on cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular disease, and that this is an important mechanism for reducing the risk of cognitive decline," lead author Andrew Smyth of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and the National University of Ireland in Galway, told CBC Hamilton.

The study included 27,000 participants who were asked a series of questions pertaining to their diet and lifestyle choices. Each participant also underwent at least two mini mental state exams during their trials. It was concluded that those who maintained a healthy diet and were physically active performed better on memory and thinking tests.

A healthy diet is just one way of maintaining a healthy mind.
A healthy diet is just one way of maintaining a healthy mind.

Healthy heart, mind and body
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends that seniors get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week to stay mentally and physically healthy. Older adults should try to incorporate physical activities that promote endurance, like walking or jogging, flexibility, like yoga and stretching, and strength, like weight lifting, into their daily routine in order to achieve this goal.

Chartwell Retirement Residences offers a physical activity program called Rhythm 'n' Moves that incorporates endurance, flexibility and strength-training exercises. Popular among residents, Rhythm 'n' Moves brings together seniors for a fun mix of moves set to music, which can be completed from the comfort of a chair. Participants are able to work out at their own pace in a comfortable and non-competitive atmosphere while enjoying the music they love. It's an exciting way to stay active and enjoy one's retirement years.

Click here to learn more about the programs offered at Chartwell.