Given the known dangers of smoking, it’s hard to believe how many people continue to hold those cigs between their fingers and puff up. While we all are aware of the dangers of cigarette smoking, over 43 million people currently smoke in the United States despite widespread warnings. Cigarette smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and serious illness among Americans. Even President Obama is a smoker. If you are amongst the hordes of Americans who continue to light up, keep reading. The health of your brain depends on it.
A new study of over 8,800 people over the age of 50 has found that smoking actually leads to a rotting brain.[i] Forget death, why not begin the deterioration process while still living? If your brain is currently functioning properly, I’m guessing you’d find the prospect of a deteriorating brain highly undesirable. In that case, not smoking would be a wise choice. The above study, published in the Oxford journal “Age and Ageing,” found that smoking correlated to damage of our memory, learning and reasoning capabilities. Undoubtedly, degradation of our brains does not have to occur if we eat a nutrient-rich diet including plant foods such as blueberries, leafy green vegetables, beans and spices, all of which contain protective, brain friendly nutrients. However, as this study suggests, we can count on notable memory loss and cognitive degradation if we include cigarette smoking in our lifestyles and avoid nutrient-rich planet foods. The authors of the study noted,
“An important outcome of the present study was the consistent association observed between smoking and low global cognitive and specific memory and executive scores at 4-year and 8-year follow-ups.”
That is remarkable! In just four years measurable changes in memory and cognitive function were observed in smokers compared to non-smokers. The researchers of the study noted that cognitive decline can lead to more severe mental impairment and diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Obviously, mental functioning in our later years is determined by a slew of factors, such as the overall quality of our diets, weight, blood pressure, and activity level, but this study makes it clear that smoking is a large piece of the total brain dexterity pie as we age.
In our youth we often don’t prioritize our long-term health, but this is a huge mistake. As this study shows, a literally rotting brain is not only gross, but it is stupefying too. We don’t want to end up regretting our detrimental lifestyle choices once we are dealing with serious health problems, especially ones that interfere with the functioning of our minds. Our bodies and brains were born beautiful and it’s our responsibility to keep them that way. Don’t let a rotting brain happen to you. And don’t be a statistic. The National Institutes of Health has reported that smoking resulted in 443,000 deaths last year. Be smart and stay smart! Our lives and our brains depend on it.
[i] Dregan A, Stewart R, Gullford MC. Cardiovascular risk factors and cognitive decline in adults aged 50 and over: a population-based cohort study. Age and Ageing 2012; 0: 1-8.