Cognitive Reserve An Unexpected Benefit

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Cognitive Reserve An Unexpected Benefit

In the late 1980s researches found that people who had an abundance of cognitive reserve were able to stay ahead of symptoms related to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s’ multiple sclerosis or a stroke. They found in some autopsies of what they expected to be “healthy brains” that there was damage consistent with a variety of brain diseases. Yet, while the individuals were alive, they had not shown symptoms of those diseases.  WOW! Thus, they had a large enough cognitive reserve to offset the damages of the disease and live a “normal” life.

Since then, research has shown that people with greater cognitive reserve are better able to stave off symptoms of degenerative brain changes associated with dementia or other brain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or a stroke. A more robust cognitive reserve can also help you function better for longer if you’re exposed to unexpected life events, such as stress, surgery, or toxins in the environment. Such circumstances demand extra effort from your brain—and with that extra cognitive reserve it is possible to function normally.  Here are some insights gained from a variety of studies.  They found that following these six steps, we can build a large cognitive reserve.

STEP 1. Eat a plant-based diet – Emphasize Fruit, Vegetables and Legumes

STEP 2. Exercise regularly – Consider Both Cardio Fitness and Strength Training – oh, and Tai Chi!

STEP 3. Get Enough Sleep – It’s Critical for Establishing Long-term Memory

STEP 4. Manage your stress – Exploring Different Tools and Strategies – oh, and Tai Chi!

STEP 5. Nurture social connections – A Vital Link in Retaining Cognitive Health STEP 6. Continue to challenge your brain – Strive to learn something everyday and think.

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