Beijing researchers found that over-60s who combined more healthy lifestyle choices were 30% to almost 90% less likely to develop dementia or mild cognitive impairment. Not surprisingly, a healthy diet had the strongest effect so it always a good place to start! 


The study which was published in the British Medical Journal in January 2023 found that eating well, regular exercise, playing cards and socialising at least twice a week may help slow the rate of memory decline and reduce the risk of dementia. Researchers analyzed 29,000 adults aged over 60 with normal cognitive function who were part of the China Cognition and Aging Study.



At the start of the study in 2009, memory function was measured using tests and people were checked for the APOE gene, which is the strongest risk-factor gene for Alzheimer’s disease. After that, the subjects were then monitored for 10 years with periodic assessments.

A healthy lifestyle score combining six factors was calculated: a healthy diet; regular exercise; active social contact; cognitive activity; non-smoking; and not drinking alcohol. After accounting for factors likely to affect the results, the researchers found that each individual healthy behavior was associated with a slower-than-average decline in memory over 10 years.

A healthy diet had the strongest effect on slowing memory decline, followed by cognitive activity and then physical exercise.

Overall, people with four to six healthy behaviors or two to three were almost 90% and almost 30% respectively less likely to develop dementia or mild cognitive impairment relative to those who had the least healthy habits.

Dr Susan Mitchell, head of policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “This is a well-conducted study, which followed people over a long period of time, and adds to the substantial evidence that a healthy lifestyle can help to support memory and thinking skills as we age.’’

Like many health challenges, dementia has many possible causes, so a broad approach to lifestyle changes makes sense.

Book a consultation with one of our Nutritionists for guidance on the best way to reduce your risk of dementia. Bookings can be made at our website here:


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