Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Other Lifestyle Factors in the Prevention of Cognitive Decline and Dementia

Nutrients. 2021 Nov 15;13(11):4080. doi: 10.3390/nu13114080.


Multiple factors combined are currently recognized as contributors to cognitive decline. The main independent risk factor for cognitive impairment and dementia is advanced age followed by other determinants such as genetic, socioeconomic, and environmental factors, including nutrition and physical activity. In the next decades, a rise in dementia cases is expected due largely to the aging of the world population. There are no hitherto effective pharmaceutical therapies to treat age-associated cognitive impairment and dementia, which underscores the crucial role of prevention. A relationship among diet, physical activity, and other lifestyle factors with cognitive function has been intensively studied with mounting evidence supporting the role of these determinants in the development of cognitive decline and dementia, which is a chief cause of disability globally. Several dietary patterns, foods, and nutrients have been investigated in this regard, with some encouraging and other disappointing results. This review presents the current evidence for the effects of dietary patterns, dietary components, some supplements, physical activity, sleep patterns, and social engagement on the prevention or delay of the onset of age-related cognitive decline and dementia.

Keywords: Alzheimer; aging; cognitive decline; dementia; diet; exercise; inflammation; nutrition; oxidative stress; physical activity; sleep; socialization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / prevention & control*
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Dementia / prevention & control*
  • Diet, Healthy / psychology*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Elder Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Risk Factors