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How to Prepare for Preservation of Cognitive Function During Old Age

According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, worldwide dementia cases estimated at 44 million in 2013 will triple by the year 2050 to 135 million. Cognitive decline is a major concern for many aging adults. This future epidemic is haunting adults who are coming into their “Golden Years.” With this dire prediction, people are looking for effective ways to stave off the effects of dementia, if not prevent them altogether.

One of the most effective strategies to preserve cognitive function is to live a healthy lifestyle. Evidence from the recently-released Caerphilly Cohort Study showed that if people made four out of the following five lifestyle choices, they would see their dementia risk reduced by 60%. These lifestyle choices include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Not smoking
  • Maintaining a low body weight
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Not drinking much alcohol

The study pointed out that regular exercise was the most important factor in reducing this risk. Another aspect of prevention, low body weight, is generally a side effect of exercise and healthy diet, so three of these habits, healthy diet, exercise and low weight are easy to package together. Then, all you need to do is decrease alcohol and/or quit smoking, and you have a significant control over retarding the development of dementia. The research pointed out that if you followed the recommendation for dementia, you also will decrease your chances of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke by 70%.

The recommended healthy diet is a plant-based diet. Fruits and vegetables should be present in each and every meal. Meals should be rounded out by adding in high quality protein sources such as free range chicken, wild caught fish or grass fed beef and healthy fat sources such as seeds, nuts and avocado.

When you combine a healthy diet and appropriate levels of exercise with healthy diet, you have the ability to significantly improve your quality of life. The challenge though, is to accept the need and have the desire for healthy living much before old age set in and get into the routine to maintain the highest level of cognitive capability. If the healthy living is delayed, it may be too late once you are affected with dementia.