Revitalise your mind and beat the brain fatigue with these lifestyle tips.
As people age, their memory naturally declines and can affect their quality of life, work productivity, and increase the risk of dementia. But a combination of healthy lifestyle is necessary for optimal memory health, even for those who are genetically predisposed to memory decline, says a new study.
The study further shows that memory decline was slower for older adults who had a healthy lifestyle, even for people with a high genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease.
Studies have been conducted to identify factors that might affect memory, including ageing, the apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype—the strongest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias—, chronic diseases, and lifestyle patterns.
Here are six factors that could potentially decline the risk of memory loss in older individuals, according to a recent study.
1. Healthy diet
The study analysed the daily diet of participants by recording their intake of 12 food items, including fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, dairy, salt, oil, eggs, cereals, legumes, nuts, and tea. Participants were considered to have a healthy diet if they consumed appropriate daily amounts of at least 7 of these 12 food items.
The results showed that a healthy diet had the strongest relationship with memory, followed by cognitive activity, physical exercise, and social interaction.
2. Active cognitive activity
Writing, reading, playing cards, mahjong, and other games were measured as cognitive activities, and participants engaged at least twice weekly in these activities were considered healthy.
It was the second most significant factor that helps in reducing the risk of memory decline.
3. Regular physical exercise
For physical exercise, weekly frequency and total time were collected, and at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week was considered a healthy factor.
It has the third strongest relationship with memory, data shows.
4. Active social contact
Social contact -participation in meetings or attending parties, visiting friends or relatives, travelling, and chatting online engagement frequencies were investigated and participants engaged at least twice weekly in these activities were considered healthy.
It followed the others and has the fourth strongest effect on memory which helps people to reduce the risk of memory loss.
5. Never or former smoking
For smoking, participants were categorised as smoking current, never (participants who had smoked <100 cigarettes in their lifetime) smokes, or used to smoke (participants who had quit smoking at least three years before). Never or former smoking was deemed a healthy lifestyle factor.
6. Never drink alcohol
For alcohol consumption, the current frequency and volume of alcohol consumption were recorded, and individuals were categorised into never drinking (never drank or drank occasionally), low to excess drinking (daily alcohol consumption of 1-60 g), and heavy drinking (daily alcohol consumption >60 g). The category of never drinking was deemed a healthy lifestyle factor.
Although each lifestyle factor contributed differentially to slowing the memory decline, the study showed that participants who followed more healthy lifestyle patterns had a significantly slower memory decline than those who followed a lesser number of health measures.