It’s not exactly news that taking care of your body can help keep your mind in better shape during your later years, but a recent study makes a strong case for good nutrition, physical activity and other drug-free approaches being better at warding off Alzheimer’s disease than prescription medications and other current medical approaches.

Results of the randomized study of more than 1,200 people at risk for Alzheimer’s were presented recently at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. Researchers found that after just two years, the at-risk study participants showed significant, recordable improvements after certain lifestyle changes.

A control group was given standard medical advice about staving off the disease, while the other group was guided to change, add or improve behaviors like performing proper exercise, maintaining a healthful diet and nurturing friendships. The latter group actually warded off the cognitive declines associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Based on the new research, prescription-free treatments that are helpful for delaying the effects of Alzheimer’s, which still has no medical cure, include eating more fruits, vegetables and fish; adding weight and cardiovascular training to weekly activities; and training your brain with cognitive exercises.

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