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 50 years ago, Alzheimer’s disease was virtually unknown to the average person, yet it now threatens to directly or indirectly impact the life of almost every man, woman 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.
Publishing in the journal PLOS One, a research team from the Cardiff University School of Medicine in the United Kingdom 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.
Researchers identified exercise as the most important lifestyle factor to lower dementia risk
The researchers followed a cohort of 2,235 men aged 45-49 from 1979 to 2004 in the UK. During this period, incidences of 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: performing regular exercise, not smoking, maintaining a low body weight, following a healthy diet and having a low alcohol intake.
Additionally, the study demonstrated that the individuals who adhered to four or five of these behaviors had a 60 percent lowered risk of 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.
“What the research shows is that following a healthy lifestyle confers surprisingly large benefits to health,” the lead study author, Dr. Doug Brown, concluded. “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