5 Easy Things You Can Do to Lower Your Risk of Alzheimer's by 60 Percent
These daily lifestyle changes are easy to achieve and can make a world of difference as you age.
As you get an older, it becomes even more important to do whatever you can to take care of your health and protect yourself from everything from cancer to the coronavirus. And there's one condition in particular that almost exclusively affects older individuals: Alzheimer's disease. And while the disease—which destroys a person's memory and thinking skills—is irreversible, multiple studies, including one recently published in the journal Neurology, have found there are certain lifestyle habits that may lower your risk of developing the disease by as much as 60 percent. From brain games to staying active, here are five easy ways you can lower your risk of Alzheimer's. And for ways to protect yourself from another serious health condition, Doing This for Just 30 Minutes a Day Lowers Your Risk of Cancer Death.
When it comes to your health, exercise is always going to be part of the equation. It's just so important to being a healthy person. And if all its other benefits weren't enough, it turns out it can help prevent Alzheimer's.
For the study in Neurology, researchers "used detailed diet and lifestyle information from two databases, one of 1,845 people whose average age was 73, the other of 920 people whose average age was 81. All were free of Alzheimer's disease at the start of the study. They followed them for an average of about six years, during which 608 developed Alzheimer's disease."
Based on their results, they determined that at least 150 minutes a week (21 minutes a day) of moderate/vigorous-intensity was a key factor in the patients who did not develop the disease. And for more on getting older, check out The Biggest Myth About Aging You Need to Stop Believing.
Engage in mentally stimulating activities.
Just as important as keeping your body active, is keeping your mind active—especially if you are hoping to lower your chances of developing Alzheimer's once you're in your 60s. How do you give yourself a brain boost? Play some games!
"My top recommendations are to engage in cognitively stimulating activities such as reading books and newspapers and playing brain-stimulating games, like chess and checkers," Klodian Dhana, MD, the study's lead author and an assistant professor of medicine at Rush Medical College, told The New York Times.
Drink alcohol in moderation.
Though recent scientific research suggests that the best thing you can do with alcohol is avoid it all together, if you enjoy the occasional glass of wine or pint of beer, you're probably fine. According to the study's findings, engaging in light to moderate alcohol consumption was one of the five habits that, when combined with others, can lower your risk of developing Alzheimer's. And in case you were wondering what constitute's moderate drinking, the U.S. Department of Health says up to one drink per day for women and two drinks a day for men. And for more habits to keep an eye on, The American Cancer Society Says to Cut These 5 Things From Your Life.
You don't need to hear another reason why smoking is horrible for your health, so just consider this a friendly reminder. If you don't smoke, then just keep doing what you're doing. But if you do still like to light up from time to time, do whatever you can to stop now. There are too many harmful repercussions that you will be less likely to have to deal with if you quit. And for some help on that front, check out The 10 Best Ways to Stop Smoking You've Never Tried.
Eat a healthy diet.
According to Dhana and his research team, the final piece of the puzzle is eating well. "[Follow] a diet for a healthy brain that includes green leafy vegetables every day, berries, nuts, poultry, fish, and limited fried food," he told The New York Times.
Now that you know the five habits that can lower your risk of Alzheimer's, it's important to understand that they are most impactful when done in combination with one another. According to the study's findings, individuals who regularly incorporated two to three of these five lifestyle factors were at a 37 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's than those with one or zero of them. However, the individuals who incorporated four or five of the factors were found to have up to a 60 percent lower risk of developing the disease. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our free daily newsletter.