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A healthy lifestyle, consisting of sufficient physical activity and a healthy diet, is a cornerstone to prevent or attenuate the development of cognitive impairment and cardiovascular disease, which are important causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Lifestyle-induced improvements in cerebrovascular function may have beneficial effects on cognitive performance. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) quantified by the non-invasive MRI perfusion method pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling is a sensitive marker for cerebrovascular function and related to cognitive performance. The clinical studies in this dissertation provide evidence that lifestyle factors improve cerebrovascular function in adults, which may underlie the beneficial effects on cognitive performance. Finally, it was shown for the first time that acute intake of inorganic nitrate increased CBF response to intranasal insulin in regions that are involved in the regulation of different metabolic and cognitive processes.

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