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, 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 team evaluated these lifestyle factors in combination because they may have synergistic effects on dementia risk.
Previously, researchers have shown that the MIND diet, which is part of the lifestyle score, is associated with a slower cognitive decline and a lower risk for dementia.
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%.
Researchers now are trying to understand the epidemiological factors focused on biological processes, blood and neuroimaging biomarkers, and risk factors (including psychological and social determinants) that contribute to the development of dementia.
For more information about health, please see recent studies about new way to increase the longevity of cancer survivors, and results showing scientists find a possible secret to longevity: hibernation.
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