Long-term Cognition via a Healthy Lifestyle

Brain health is whole-person health. The idea that focusing on only one aspect of health, like diet or exercise, will result in a healthy older brain is naïve. We need to make sustained efforts across all aspects of wellness to remain cognitively vibrant into old age.


Using data from the Chicago Health and Aging Project (n = 1,845) and the Rush Memory and Aging Project ( n = 920) the following was concluded: A healthy lifestyle is associated with a substantially lower risk of Alzheimer’s dementia.


A healthy life both physically and mentally may be the best defense against the changes of an ageing brain. Additional measures to prevent cardiovascular disease may also be important.


This 2010 study cites a healthy lifestyle as protective against Alzheimer’s.


Dr. Peter Attia explains things that are “unequivocal” for avoiding Alzheimer’s until very late in life: adequate quality sleep, lower LDL cholesterol and ApoB is better lower than higher, not having type 3 diabetes, and exercise.


The World Health Organization says: People can reduce their risk of dementia by getting regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling their weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. WebMD echoes those concerns here.

Brain health: how can you reduce cognitive decline? An interview with Heather Snyder, Ph.D.

This study of 2449 men and women aged 65 years and older concluded that a healthy lifestyle was associated with a longer life expectancy among men and women, and they lived a larger proportion of their remaining years without Alzheimer’s dementia.


This systematic review and meta-analysis of 243 observational prospective studies and 153 randomised controlled trials: strong evidence: education, cognitive activity, high body mass index in late life, hyperhomocysteinaemia, depression, stress, diabetes, head trauma, hypertension in midlife and orthostatic hypotension. Weaker evidence: obesity in midlife, weight loss in late life, physical exercise, smoking, sleep, cerebrovascular disease, frailty, atrial fibrillation and vitamin C.


Think of deep sleep almost like a life raft that keeps memory afloat, rather than memory getting dragged down by the weight of Alzheimer’s disease pathology.


This study of individuals aged 60 years or older who had normal cognition and underwent apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotyping at baseline in 2009 showed that a healthy lifestyle is associated with slower memory decline, even in the presence of the APOE ε4 allele.


Researchers followed 29,072 older adults (60 years old and over) over 10 years to investigate the link between lifestyle choices and memory loss. They found a link between a healthy lifestyle and slower memory decline, even in the presence of the APOE Ɛ4 gene, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. This is the healthy lifestyle factors:

  • a healthy diet – adherence to the recommended intake of at least 7 of 12 eligible food items (fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, dairy products, salt, oil, eggs, cereals, legumes, nuts, and tea)
  • regular physical exercise – at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week
  • Active social contact (participation in meetings or attending parties, visiting friends or relatives, traveling, and chatting online) – at least twice per week
  • active cognitive activity (writing, reading, playing cards, mahjong, and other games) – at least twice per week
  • never smokes (participants who had smoked less than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime) or used to smoke (participants who had quit smoking at least 3 years before the study)
  • never drank alcohol or drank occasionally

Healthy Minds Initiative — Enrich

Alzheimer’s disease incidence might be reduced through improved access to education and use of effective methods targeted at reducing the prevalence of vascular risk factors (eg, physical inactivity, smoking, midlife hypertension, midlife obesity, and diabetes) and depression.


The Cleveland Clinic’s Six Pillars of Brain Health:


  • Exercise improves blood flow and memory
  • Food rich in antioxidants can help fend off the harmful effects of oxidation in your brain.
  • Hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, head trauma, higher cholesterol, and smoking all increase the risk of dementia. 
  • Sleep energizes you, improves your mood and your immune system, and may reduce buildup in the brain of an abnormal protein called beta-amyloid plaque, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Mental exercise is just as critical as physical exercise in keeping your brain fit and healthy. Mental exercises may improve your brain’s functioning and promote new brain cell growth, decreasing your likelihood of developing dementia.
  • Leading an active social life can protect you against memory loss. Spending time with others, engaging in stimulating conversation, and staying in touch and connected with family and friends are good for your brain health.


A healthy lifestyle is what this blog post is all about.

By Otto

I am a health enthusiast, engineer, and maker.

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