The Heart-Brain Connection: Taking Better Care of Your Heart May Improve Your Mood by Dr. Shawn Talbott
Your heart and brain are talking with each other – and if your heart is unhappy, it may be telling your brain to feel blue. We’ve known since the 1950s that there is cross talk between the heart and brain using electrical signals. Now we’re finding evidence that when we improve the heart’s efficiency, we can also improve emotions and become more resilient to stress.
This news should help you feel more motivated to take better care of your heart. Historically, one of the problems with heart health is that, for the most part, you can’t easily feel or see any improvements. This is a game changer because being in a better mood because your heart is performing better is much more tangible.
We know that heart disease patients are at a higher risk of developing depression, and that people who suffer from depression are at a higher risk for heart disease. Health-care professionals used to dismiss these connections. But they are worth investigating.
Foods That Can Cause Heartache
A few simple dietary fixes may help keep your heart and brain happier. Americans are eating too many processed foods. Those are high in sugar and low in fiber. That causes inflammation in the body, which hurts the heart. Chronic inflammation increases your risk of plaque build up in the arteries.
What you want to do is consume more foods and supplements that are anti-inflammatory and help to manage oxidation. Limit how much sugar, processed foods and alcohol you consume. Eat more antioxidant-rich foods such as berries, avocados and fatty fish. Also try swapping pro-inflammatory cooking oils such as corn and canola with more heart-healthy options such as Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil.
While many use Heart Month as a reason to remind people to avoid saturated fats, this really is not a concern. A 12-month study of 577 healthy adults found that while a high-carb diet was associated with increased heart disease risk factors, fat intake didn’t move the needle one way or the other.
This is very revealing because the type of fat most of the people in this study consumed was Malaysian palm oil, which is 50 percent saturated fat. This supports a number of studies over the last decade that have vindicated dietary fat – including saturated fats – as the primary culprit in heart disease and other chronic illnesses.
A New Antioxidant That May Improve Your Heart's Efficiency
The newest antioxidant available to the public is also one of the most exciting. It’s called Palm Fruit Bioactive Complex, or PFBc. It is made by capturing nutrients from the oil palm production water stream. Research indicates that PFBc activates a wide range of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory pathways. It has already been shown to promote cardiac function, support exercise recovery by maintaining a healthy non-inflammatory state, help to maintain heart rate variability, and support antioxidative stress reserves/capacity to help preserve mental health. We’re going to see more natural nutritional products coming to market to help people nourish their hearts and brains.
You’re probably not going to turn down an opportunity to feel cheerier. Now, when you read all those articles about heart health, you should be even more driven to follow the advice because those strategies may also help you experience a substantial improvement in anxiety and overall mood.
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