How You May Be Able to SHIELD Your Brain from Cognitive Decline

Various parts and head silhouette on wood background.In recent years, a lot of information has come out about ways to slow cognitive decline and dementia, and it can all get a little confusing.

And although there is no known cure or failsafe prevention method for avoiding cognitive decline or dementia, researchers have identified a series of lifestyle factors that appear to be associated with risk.


The SHIELD plan incorporates a number of lifestyle interventions that have been found to help reduce the risk of dementia and strengthen cognitive function in aging. And perhaps most importantly, it gives you an acronym that is easy to remember.

SHELD stands for:

Sleep: Getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night can help improve brain health. It gives your body enough time to send through a cleanup crew that can remove plaques from your brain.

Handling stress: Stress can also beat away at your brain’s capacity to function optimally. Finding ways to deal with stress, including exercise, managing expectations, or meditation, can all help.

Interacting with friends: Loneliness is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s and dementia. Spending time talking to friends, family, and other acquaintances can help. Joining community groups, hiking groups, or volunteering can all help.
Exercise: Exercise may help strengthen brain regions affected by Alzheimer’s and trigger the breakdown of amyloid plaques that can contribute to Alzheimer’s. Find an exercise modality that you enjoy and try to do it for at least 150 minutes per week.


Learn New Things: Learning new things can strengthen and increase the number of synapses in your brain, which are the connections between nerve cells storing your memories. Synapse loss is correlated with dementia, so making more gives you more to spare.

Diet: Eating a Mediterranean-style diet, which minimizes processed food and red meat and is rich in fiber from fruits and vegetables, is also associated with a healthier brain. It is also good for your gut, which could influence inflammation and nerve cell health in the brain.

Adopting the SHIELD plan is an easy way to remember the steps to a healthy brain that could lead to better brain health and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.

Author Bio

About eight years ago, Mat Lecompte had an epiphany. He’d been ignoring his health and suddenly realized he needed to do something about it. Since then, through hard work, determination and plenty of education, he has transformed his life. He’s changed his body composition by learning the ins and outs of nutrition, exercise, and fitness and wants to share his knowledge with you. Starting as a journalist over 10 years ago, Mat has not only honed his belief system and approach with practical experience, but he has also worked closely with nutritionists, dieticians, athletes, and fitness professionals. He embraces natural healing methods and believes that diet, exercise and willpower are the foundation of a healthy, happy, and drug-free existence.