5 Lifestyle Behaviors That Lower Dementia Risk by 60%
As we approach an epidemic in the number of newly diagnosed cases of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, irrefutable evidence continues to emerge supporting the science behind following simple lifestyle modifications to dramatically lower the risk of developing memory-robbing illnesses and most other chronic diseases as well. Based on the current trend, experts fear that as many as one in three Americans over the age of 65 will suffer from some degree of dementia by the year 2050. Not more than fifty years ago, Alzheimer’s disease was virtually unknown to the average person, yet now it threatens to directly or indirectly impact the life of almost every man women and child in the US. Fortunately, there are some very simple lifestyle changes that we can adopt to change the current course of this explosion in new dementia cases.
Researchers Identified Exercise as the Most Important Lifestyle Factor to Lower Dementia Risk
A research team from the University of Cardiff School of Medicine in the UK has identified five lifestyle behaviors that have been shown to reduce the risk of cognitive decline, and researchers say these healthy habits are more beneficial than medical treatments or preventative procedures. Publishing in the journal, PLOS One, scientists were able to identify five healthy behaviors as being essential for the best chance of living a disease-free life.
The researchers followed a cohort of 2,235 men aged 45-49 from 1979 to 2004 in the United Kingdom. During this period, diabetes, vascular disease, cancer and death were recorded, along with an examination in 2004 to determine cognitive state. After a detailed analysis of all available data the scientists identified the following five healthy behaviors as being essential for the best chance of living a disease-free life:
1. Performing regular exercise: The benefits of exercise can’t be overstated. Not only does exercise boost heart health and improve mood, it’s associated with improved memory and reduced risk for dementia. In fact, one recent study found that exercise was even more effective than Alzheimer’s drugs.
2. Not smoking: It’s no surprise when people here of smoking’s influence on lung health or cancer rates, but few acknowledge its impact on brain health. According to a study led by Dr. Claudio Soto of the University of Texas Health Science Centre in Houston, smoking causes abnormalities in the brain and may increase Alzheimer’s disease onset, and/or exacerbate its symptoms.
3. Maintaining a low body weight: Maintaining a healthy body weight can dramatically reduce risk for so many chronic diseases, so it’s only natural to assume that low body weight is a common characteristic among those who dodge dementia. One study even found that metabolic factors resulting from excess body weight causes middle aged and older adults to experience a rapid decline in cognitive skills like thinking and memory.
4. Following a healthy diet: Not only do unhealthy saturated fats from processed foods negatively impact brain health, sugar practically destroys it. Alzheimer’s has even been deemed by some a form of “Type III Diabetes“. Conversely, those who consume a diet rich in spices such as curcumin and cinnamon, antioxidants and omega-3s tend to dramatically lower their risk for cognitive decline.
5. Having a low alcohol intake: There is some skepticism around this finding, but, nonetheless, the numbers don’t lie. While it’s been known for some time that moderate alcohol intake benefits brain health, studies have found that binge drinking was associated with a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Key Lifestyle Factors Not Only Lower Alzheimer’s Disease Risk, but Slash Cancer and Heart Disease Incidence as Well
Additionally, the study demonstrated that the individuals who adhered to four or five of these behaviors had a 60 percent decline in dementia and cognitive decline, and there were 70 percent fewer cases of diabetes, heart disease and stroke, compared with individuals who followed none of the behaviors. As far as reducing the risk for dementia, the scientists noted that regular moderate intensity exercise was the strongest factor.
The lead study author, Dr. Doug Brown concluded, “What the research shows is that following a healthy lifestyle confers surprisingly large benefits to health… we have known for some time that what is good for your heart is also good for your head, and this study provides more evidence to show that healthy living could significantly reduce the chances of developing dementia.” Many natural health enthusiasts already understand the importance of adhering to the five identified factors to lower disease risk, while many other people are on a direct collision course for dementia and declining health by ignoring these simple lifestyle modifications.
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John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and diet, health and nutrition researcher and author with a passion for understanding weight loss challenges and encouraging health modification through natural diet, lifestyle and targeted supplementation. John’s passion is to research and write about the cutting edge alternative health technologies that affect our lives. Discover the latest alternative health news concerning diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and weight loss at My Optimal Health Resource