Taking regular exercise, eating healthily, keeping your brain active, reducing alcohol intake, giving up smoking and booking frequent check-ups with your family doctor can preserve mental function into old age, say experts.
Dr James Pickett, head of research at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It is key we all remember these golden rules and make them part of day-to-day life.
“Although there are factors we can’t change, such as age and genetics, there are also a few simple changes we can all make to help reduce our risk of dementia.”
Dementia has overtaken heart disease as the leading cause of death.
The incurable condition claimed the lives of almost 63,000 people in 2016, affecting almost twice as many women as men.
Exercise and frequent check-ups can preserve mental function into old age
Scientists hope to develop a treatment by 2025 but growing evidence suggests the way in which we live can have a significant impact on brain health in old age.
Regular exercise that leaves you slightly breathless has been shown to be good for the heart, circulation, weight and mental wellbeing.
Aerobic activities such as walking and cycling are best but gardening or housework helps as long as it is for at least 30 minutes, five times a week.
Research also shows that eating well is one of the best ways to protect mental function and stave off the onset of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, stroke and heart disease.
Loading up on five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, eating fish rich in omega-3 at least twice a week and diets rich in unrefined cereals and olive oil can give the brain a powerful boost.