Scientists from Rush University found that everyday habits that serve as the backbone of a healthy lifestyle may keep your brain sharp and help you live longer.
They found that people ages 65 and older who had a healthy lifestyle lived longer—3.1 years longer for women, 5.7 years longer for men—than their peers who didn’t have the same healthy lifestyle.
They also spent more of their remaining years without Alzheimer’s disease.
The research is published in the British Medical Journal and was conducted by Klodian Dhana et al.
In the study, more than 10,000 Chicago residents were examined and participants had a high lifestyle score if they reported at least four of these five habits, or what researchers called healthy factors:
Eating the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurogenerative Delay (MIND) diet
Staying engaged in cognitive activities like reading and puzzles
Being physically active for at least 150 minutes a week
Limiting alcohol use (no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men)
The MIND diet favors healthy fats and plants over animal-based and highly processed foods.
The team found that lifestyle factors can potentially reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by up to 60%.
Earlier, the researchers focused on race differences and examined the protective role of a healthy lifestyle in African Americans and European Americans.
They also tracked the apolipoprotein E4 (APOE4) allele, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers found that people who reported a healthier lifestyle (meaning they had at least four healthy factors like a high-quality diet, regular exercise, not smoking, and only light or moderate drinking) had a slower rate of cognitive decline when compared with individuals who reported only one or no healthy factors.
This was true in people with and without the genetic risk factor, the APOE4 allele.
If you care about Alzheimer’s disease, please read studies about the cause of Alzheimer’s disease in human brain, and this common cancer drug may help reverse Alzheimer’s symptoms.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about antioxidants that may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and results showing how to sleep to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
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