A healthy lifestyle, including eating a nutritious diet, can help slow down cognitive decline as you age.
A decade-long study of Chinese adults over the age of 60 showed that even those with a gene making them susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease experienced slowed memory loss when they made behavioral changes like quitting drinking and following a healthy diet.
The team created a healthy lifestyle score combining six factors — healthy diet, regular exercise, active social contact, cognitive activity (reading and writing skills), not smoking and never drinking alcohol.
There were 29 000 study participants and none of them had signs of cognitive decline at the start of the study. The average age of study subjects was 72 years old. They were also tested for the Alzheimer’s gene and 20 percent carried the APOE gene.
Results show that each individual healthy behavior had a connection to a slower-than-average decline in memory over 10 years, with a healthy diet having the strongest effect.
Participants with favorable lifestyles were 90 percent less likely to develop dementia or mild cognitive impairment compared to those with unfavorable lifestyles. Those with average lifestyles were nearly 30 percent less likely to decline.
Therefore, following a healthy lifestyle and nutritious diet can help slow cognitive decline as you age.
Study press release > Healthy lifestyle linked to slower memory decline in older adults