When it comes to defending against health problems like memory loss, the mainstream often skips over approaches like diet, exercise, and sleep… and goes straight to handing you a prescription for a powerful drug laden with uncomfortable side effects.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
You don’t have to depend on Big Pharma to keep your mind razor-sharp as you age. The truth is that research published in the journal Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, shows that there are SEVEN all-natural ways to beat back dementia before it starts.
And the best part? These easy, healthy habits even work for folks who are at the highest genetic risk of developing memory issues.
Here’s everything you need to know.
For years researchers have known that healthy habits help lower your overall risk of dementia. But they’ve never known if these habits have the same impact on folks at high risk for the disease. That is until recently, when researchers from the University of Mississippi Medical Center took a closer look.
30-year lifestyle study
For this large-scale study, researchers examined the data from 8,823 people with European ancestry and 2,738 people with African ancestry with an average age of 54. For the next 30 years, the participants logged the particulars of their lifestyle using a simple scoring system.
Researchers categorized these lifestyle factors on their ability to either reduce or promote dementia. They also calculated genetic risk scores for all of the participants at the start of the study. Then, they divided participants with European ancestry into five groups and those with African ancestry into three groups, based on genetic risk scores.
For example, the highest-risk dementia group had at least one copy of the APOE e4 gene variant – a marker for increased dementia risk. Conversely, the lowest-risk dementia group had the APOE e2 variant – a marker for decreased dementia risk.
At the end, 1,603 people with European ancestry and 631 people with African ancestry developed dementia.
Certain healthy habits cut dementia risk almost in half
The scientists found that folks of European ancestry – and across all risk groups – with the highest healthy habit scores were able to dramatically reduce their risk of dementia. This even includes the group with the highest genetic risk!
In fact, each one-point increase in the healthy habit score correlated to a whopping nine percent lower risk of developing dementia.
Even better? For the European ancestry participants, when compared to those with low healthy habit scores, the mid-range and high groups had a 30 percent and 43 percent lower risk for dementia, respectively.
This means, for some folks, increasing their healthy habits could help slash their dementia risk nearly in half!
“The good news is that even for people who are at the highest genetic risk, living by this same healthier lifestyle are likely to have a lower risk of dementia.”, said study author Adrienne Tin, PhD, of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
For participants of African ancestry, the study showed that dementia risk declined across the groups with high levels of healthy habits. And when compared to the low-risk dementia group, the mid-range and high-risk dementia groups saw a six percent and 17 percent lower risk for dementia, respectively.
However, because there was a lower number of participants with African ancestry, more research is needed.1 All of this good news begs the question…
What are these “Simple Seven” habits?
- Staying active
- Eating whole, nutritious foods
- Losing weight
- Quitting smoking
- Keeping a healthy blood pressure
- Lowering LDL cholesterol
- Reducing blood sugar
It’s easy to start lowering your risk today
As the research shows, keeping up with the “Simple Seven” is a great way to lower your risk of dementia. But if you aren’t already practicing these habits, don’t feel like you have to start them all at once. Instead, start slowly.
And remember, when it comes to exercise, you don’t need to train for a marathon. You can start by simply walking around your neighborhood.
As for diet, start by replacing processed foods with whole foods like fresh fruits and veggies and wild-caught seafood. Focusing on these foods will help you naturally balance your cholesterol and blood sugar and maintain a healthy blood pressure. Best of all, you’ll not only lower your dementia risk, but you’ll also improve your overall health.
Leave A Comment