Kick Up Your Brain Health with Soccer

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The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team just won its fourth World Cup title recently, and interest in the sport is at an all-time high. Not only is soccer a full-body cardiovascular workout, but according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, it’s excellent for brain health for all ages. Here’s why:

What’s good for the heart is good for the brain. The aerobic fitness demands of soccer
keep your heart rate up and clear the build-up of plaque inside the arteries. All this increases blood flood, oxygen, and nutrients to your brain.

Soccer provides lots of eye-foot coordination practice. With a decline in this coordination, the brain can have trouble communicating with the feet to carry out a movement.

The sport helps relieve stress. Long-term stress can interfere with cognition, attention, memory and sleep. A game of soccer will also increase feel-good endorphins and lower cortisol levels.

When played outdoors, soccer increases your exposure to sunlight, which helps boost vitamin D levels. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with cognitive impairment and a higher risk of dementia.

Social interaction. Research shows that having a more extensive social network positively affects the brain and may reduce the risk of dementia.

So get some friends together, form a team, or find an adult league at your local community center and make kickin’ a habit.

Study: Vast Majority of Dietary Supplements Don’t Improve Heart Health

In a new analysis of findings from 277 clinical trials, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have found that almost all vitamin, mineral and other nutrient supplements cannot be linked to a longer life or protection from heart disease.

Although most of the supplements or diets were not associated with any harm, the analysis showed possible health benefits only from a low-salt diet, omega-3 fatty acid supplements and possibly folic acid supplements for some people.

Researchers also found that supplements combining calcium and
vitamin D may be, in fact, linked to a slightly increased stroke risk.

As a nation, Americans spend $31 billion each year on such over-the counter products.

Results of the analysis were published July 8 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

 

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