35-year study out of the UK cites five lifestyle behaviors that have been shown to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. These healthy habits are more beneficial than medical treatments or preventative medical procedures.
Five most important healthy lifestyle choices
After assessing data from the Caerphilly Cohort Study, which recorded healthy behaviors in 2,235 men aged 45-49 from 1979 to 2004, researchers were able to identify fie healthy behaviors as being essential for the best chance of living a disease-free life:
- Doing regular exercise
- Not smoking
- Keeping a low body weight
- Following a healthy diet
- Having a low alcohol intake
Stick to four of the five and reap the benefits
People who adhered to four or five of these behaviors had a 60% decline in dementia and cognitive decline. They also experienced 70% fewer cases of diabetes, heart disease and stroke when compared to individuals who followed none of the behaviors. Exercise was the strongest factor for reducing dementia risk. “The size of reduction in the instance of disease owing to these simple healthy steps has really amazed us and is of enormous importance in an aging population,” said Prof. Peter Elwood of Cardiff University’s School of Medicine. “What the research shows is that following a healthy lifestyle confers surprisingly large benefit to health.”
Surprisingly few people make these choices
Although the number of people who stopped smoking during the study was significant, the number of people adding other healthy lifestyle options to their regimen did not change from the beginning of the study.
What’s good for your body is also good for your mind
“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,” explained Dr. dug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society.
Source: MedicalNewsToday, PLOS One