Optimum Health Options

Empowering Wellness

The Cardiac-Cognitive Connection

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A healthier heart may reduce a person’s risks of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Reflecting cardiac output – the amount of blood that leaves the heart and is pumped through the body taking into consideration a person’s body size, cardiac index is a measure of heart health.  Angela Jefferson, from Vanderbilt University (Tennessee, USA), and colleagues analyzed data collected on 1,039 participants enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study’s Offspring Cohort, who were followed for up to 11 years.  Over the study period, 32 participants developed dementia, including 26 cases of Alzheimer’s disease. Compared to normal cardiac index, the researchers found that those individuals with clinically low cardiac index had a higher relative risk of dementia. The study authors conclude that: “Lower cardiac index is associated with an increased risk for the development of dementia and [Alzheimer’s Disease].”

Angela L. Jefferson, Alexa S. Beiser, Jayandra J. Himali, Sudha Seshadri, Christopher J. O’Donnell, Warren J. Manning, et al.  “Low Cardiac Index is Associated with Incident Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease: The Framingham Heart Study.”  Circulation. February 19, 2015.

2 Antioxidants to Enjoy Every Day

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Sometimes it easy to forget about the basics, but keeping a natural antioxidant in your regimen can be easy. We’ll take a look at two of them but first we need to ask:

Why do we bother with antioxidants?

Antioxidants protect the body from the damaging effects of unstable molecules known as free radicals. The effect of free radicals on our bodies is called “oxidative stress.” Think of it as a kind of cellular “rust” we need to protect against. So why bother with antioxidants? Because they can protect your body’s most valuable players–your heart, lungs, and brain–against the oxidative stress we face every day.

Number 1 antioxidant: Get Green. Green tea, that is.
There’s something inspiring about tea. In fact, the very creation of drinking tea began with an “aha!” moment. Legend has it that 4,000 years ago, a Chinese emperor was preparing hot water when tea leaves fell into the bowl. He gave the concoction a try, and tea (probably very close in taste to green tea) was born.

It seems fitting that such a Zen-like experience would herald the arrival of a truly inspirational drink. While coffee runs a close second, tea is one of the world’s most consumed beverages. All true “tea” starts as the same plant, but not all teas share the same characteristics. The way they’re harvested and prepared makes all the difference, and that’s why you’ll see green, oolong, and black tea. Same plant, different processing. Also – start with tea leaves if you can rather than an already mixed variety. Sometimes the already mixed/ready to enjoy beverages have additives or sugar.

Not crazy about the taste? Try a supplement instead.
And, if the taste of green tea isn’t for you, or even if you’re a green tea aficionado and there are times when it isn’t convenient, consider a green tea supplement. The best of the bunch concentrate the benefits of green tea, but package it up in an easy-to-carry and take capsule.

Number 2 antioxidant: Get Seedy with Grape Seed
Most of us buy seedless grapes for a reason. Grape seeds are like pits in cherries. They’re the “extra bits” nobody wants. But maybe we shouldn’t be so ready to write off the grape seed. In the same way that the fruit of grapes fight free radicals, so too, do the seeds. Grape seeds contain polyphenols – a type of antioxidant – called procyanidolic oligomers (PCOs). Of course, just knowing that probably won’t make anyone suddenly decide to start grazing on grape seeds, so supplementing these is a great option.

Keep those antioxidants in mind
We create free radical stress just by taking a walk, being in the sun, and enjoying life. Keeping plenty of delicious fruits and veggies in your diet is definitely one of the best ways to stay healthy. But if you have an active life and full schedule, adding a supplemental boost makes good sense, too.

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