The Habits That Can Protect Your Memory

Want to slow your memory decline and ward off dementia? A new 10-year study of more than 29,000 older adults has confirmed there is a link between how we live and our cognitive function as we age.

The researchers identified six habits linked with a lower risk of dementia and a slower rate of memory decline.

1. Physical exercise: at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week.

2. Diet: eating appropriate daily amounts of at least seven to 12 food items (including fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, oil, eggs, cereals, legumes, nuts and tea).

3. Alcohol: not drinking or only occasionally.

4. Smoking: not smoking or a former smoker.

5. Cognitive activity: exercising the brain at least twice a week (such as reading, playing cards).

6. Social contact: engaging with others at least twice a week.

Those people who had four to six healthy factors, and those in the average group of two to three had a slower rate of memory decline over time than people with less healthy lifestyles. Notably, this held true even for people who carried the APOE gene associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.