A healthy lifestyle protects against Alzheimer’s

Those who do not smoke under the age of 65, drink little alcohol, eat healthily and are physically and mentally active, have a great chance of living longer and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for a significantly shorter period of time. This follows from a study published in the journal BMJ.

According to a new study, these five lifestyle factors reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and increase the chances of a longer life:

  1. Don’t smoke
  2. Drink little alcohol
  3. 150 minutes of mild and intense physical activity per week
  4. Eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables and salads, berries, nuts, olive oil, whole grains, legumes, fish and poultry no more than twice a week
  5. Regular mental activities, eg games, crossword puzzles, social contacts, going to concerts

Women aged 65 who followed four or all five factors had an additional life expectancy of 24.2 years – 3.1 years more than women who did not have any or only one of these factors. Of the total life expectancy, healthy and active women had an average of 2.6 years of dementia, while unhealthy women lived with the disease for 4.1 years.

In addition, healthy, active men aged 65 lived 23.1 years, 5.7 years longer than unhealthy men. Of these, people with a healthy lifestyle spent 1.4 years with dementia, while people with an unhealthy lifestyle spent 2.1 years.

A healthy and active lifestyle was not only related to a longer life, but also to significantly more years left without Alzheimer’s dementia. Thus, a longer life does not increase the risk of developing dementia. The disease is not simply postponed, but occurs less often or for a shorter period of time with healthy living habits, despite the longer life expectancy. This study highlights the importance of life habits not only for physical but also for mental health in old age, which is increasingly based on scientific research.

Co: DOI 10.1136 / bmj-2021-068390

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