We are the result of what we eat, but also of how we live. Lifestyle influences our health and also that of the brain. In fact, as emerged from a recent research published in the journal Neurology by a team of the University of California (Dhana et al, June 2020), the combination of multiple healthy behaviors reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
The researchers analyzed the habits and health of 3000 people by following them over a 6-year period. In particular, the study participants were assessed on the basis of five parameters corresponding to habits considered healthy. That is, moderate or intense physical activity for at least 150 minutes a week, not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, engaging in intellectual activities in order to keep the brain active, adhering to the Mind diet, which is a combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet designed to keep hypertension under control. Mind diet is an elastic diet as it does not give strict rules to follow but recommends a minimum of portions per week of foods considered anti-inflammatory and protective and a maximum of portions for inflammatory and therefore riskier foods. To see the Mind Diet guidelines, you can consult the article that we dedicated to this diet a short time ago. What emerged was that those who managed to meet two or three criteria showed a 37% lower risk of developing Alzheimer's than those who met only one or zero of these criteria. In addition, those who managed to meet four or five criteria reduced the probability of developing Alzheimer's by 60%.
The study is very important both because it is solid, in fact it is based on a large sample of the population, and because it shows how the combination of modifiable habits, and therefore accessible to all, can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's.