Monday, June 20, 2011

Heart Health and Your Brain

Researchers recently looked at the association between psychological well-being—specifically, emotional vitality and optimism—on Coronary Heart Disease in middle-aged men and women. The participants were 7,942 British civil servants in the Whitehall II study measured at baseline and five years later. Emotional vitality was defined as active engagement with the world, effective emotional regulation, and an overall sense of well-being. Optimism was assessed by participants rating themselves on expectations for more positive or negative experiences in the upcoming years. A variety of cardiovascular risk factors were measured (e.g., smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise, fruit and vegetable consumption, and blood pressure/metabolic factors). The researchers found that greater emotional vitality and optimism both were protective factors against CHD. (Metabolic factors did not alter this finding, which was similar for men and women, and for individuals younger and older than 55). Positive psychological well-being is a potential health asset that may have far-reaching consequences for cardiovascular health. And the correlation between heart health and brain health? Your brain's receiving a blood supply (including oxygen, macro and micronutrition, and elimination of waste products) is totally dependent on your heart. (

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