When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, the most current advice is perhaps the kind that begins with 'clean eating', adding more fresh and seasonal vegetables and fruits, cutting on processed foods like sugar, and daily exercising. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle comes with various health benefits and one of them is that it offsets a person's genetic risk of dementia, as per findings of a new study. The study, published in the journal 'JAMA', found that the risk of dementia lowers by 32 percent in people with a high genetic risk if they follow a healthy lifestyle, in comparison to those who have a sedentary lifestyle.
It was observed that people with high genetic risk and an unhealthy lifestyle were almost three times more likely to develop dementia, in comparison to their counterparts with low genetic risk and favourable lifestyle. "This is the first study to analyse the extent to which you may offset your genetic risk of dementia by living a healthy lifestyle. Our findings are exciting as they show that we can take action to try to offset our genetic risk for dementia. Sticking to a healthy lifestyle was associated with a reduced risk of dementia, regardless of the genetic risk," said Dr Elzbieta Kuzma, study's lead author.
For the study, Dr Elzbieta Kuzma and team analysed data from almost two hundred thousand adults of European ancestry, aged 60 and above. The team identified seventeen hundred cases of dementia over a follow-up period of eight years. Researchers grouped the participants into two groups: first -high, intermediate, and second - low genetic risk for dementia.
(Also Read: Clean Eating: Easy Steps For Healthy Lifestyle)
Moreover, the team of researchers also looked at previously published data to assess genetic risk and identified all genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. Each genetic risk factor was weighted according to the strength of its association with Alzheimer's disease.
Further to examine participants' lifestyle, researchers categorised them into different groups based on their lifestyle habits: favourable, intermediate and unfavourable categories. The team found that living a healthy lifestyle was associated with a reduced dementia risk across all genetic risk groups.
"This research delivers a really important message that undermines a fatalistic view of dementia. Some people believe it's inevitable they'll develop dementia because of their genetics. However it appears that you may be able to substantially reduce your dementia risk by living a healthy lifestyle," said Dr David Llewellyn, another lead author of the study.
Healthy Eating Tips:
1. Include more green veggies to your diet. If you like rice-based meals, replace your white rice with brown/black/red rice. Additionally, include more grains like bajra, oats, jowar et al in your diet.
2. Avoid fried and junk food. Keep your sugar intake in moderation; in fact, replace sugar with healthy alternatives like jaggery, coconut sugar or honey.
3. Steer clear of processed foods.Moreover, include some non-meat high protein foods like eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, soy and quinoa.
4. Drink enough water. You knew this one was coming, right? Add fruits that have loads of water content in them like watermelon, cucumber, etc.
5. Avoid overeating! Overeating is one of the main causes of weight gain.