5 Essential Habits to Prevent Cognitive Decline

By on October 2, 2015

By Aradhana Pandey−

The popular maxim, “you get wiser as you grow older” definitely seems true in theory. There’s surely a lot of wisdom that comes along with experiencing numerous ups and downs in life, raising children, meeting various kinds of people and being a “well-read” and “well-travelled” individual.

However, in practice, things aren’t always as clear-cut as they seem to be. With every passing year, the cases of people suffering from dementia are on the rise. A report published by The World Health Organization predicts that by 2050, dementia cases over the world are going to reach 115.4 million.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease mostly impacts those over the age of 65. While there are many factors that can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, such as age, family history, injury and education, your lifestyle habits also play an essential role in triggering it. Here are five essential habits that can help you prevent cognitive decline:

  1. Get Adequate Shut-Eye – Find yourself getting increasingly forgetful off late? You may want to blame your poor sleep quality or short sleep durations. Compromising on good quality and adequate sleep is a risk factor for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, a study conducted by Current Opinion in Psychiatry suggests. Make sure you catch at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every day, to keep your physical and mental health in good shape.
  2. Go Out There And Socialize – The endless laughter sessions may not be the only plus side to meeting up with your social circle frequently. A study conducted by the Rush University Medical Center found that those individuals who engage in frequent social activities report better cognitive function as compared to those who don’t. The study monitored social interactions based on their frequency, social group size and perceived social support. While the social frequency and social support improved cognitive function, social size didn’t play a huge role.
  3. Make Healthy Dietary Choices – It’s amazing how the prevention of almost all physical and mental health troubles boils down to making wholesome dietary choices. As per a study by the Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, nutrients like antioxidants, flavonoids, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, MCTs (medium chain triglycerides), etc. have myriad benefits. They improve cellular health and regeneration, delay the aging process and fight the pathogenic pathways leading to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Make sure you enjoy a diet rich in fruits (blueberries, strawberries, avocados), veggies (broccoli, kale, spinach), nuts, fish, eggs and other superfoods like flax seeds and green tea.
  4.  Workout (Physically And Mentally) – Exercising your body, and brain is crucial towards preventing cognitive decline. A Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease study suggests that being physically active helps fight oxidative stress and increases energy metabolism, vascularization, and neurotrophin synthesis, all responsible for improving memory and enhancing brain plasticity. Exercising thus helps prevent AD and other neurodegenerative diseases. Another study by BMJ found that increased participation in mentally stimulating activities like reading, playing a musical instrument, solving puzzles can keep an aging brain sharp. The study suggests that people over 75 years, who participate in mentally challenging activities, reduce their risk of developing dementia.
  5. Break The Bad Habits – Still looking for reasons big enough to quit smoking? Add cognitive decline to the long list of its dangers. A study performed by Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported that the tobacco industry’s claims about smoking helping prevent AD are all false. Smoking does, in fact, increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive impairment substantially.

These positive habits can work in tandem, not only to improve your overall life state and wellbeing but to also protect your gray cells from deteriorating. Adopt a healthy lifestyle and keep your brain ticking.



Aradhana is from India. She is a veteran writer on topics concerning parenting, child nutrition, wellness, health and lifestyle. As a regular contributor to popular sites like Huffington Post, Natural news, Elephant journal, Thehealthsite, Naturally Savvy, Curejoy and MomJunction.com, Aradhana writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle.

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5 Essential Habits to Prevent Cognitive Decline