Dr. Sanjay Gupta describes the ultimate goal is to build what’s called cognitive reserve, which is what scientists call “brain resiliency.” With more cognitive reserve, you support cognitive function and can lower your risk of neurodegenerative issues. It’s like having a backup set of networks in your brain when one fails or, worse, dies and is no longer functional. In many aspects of life, the more backup plans we have, the more chances for success, right? Well, the same is true for our brain’s hard- and soft-wiring. And perhaps the most important key to establishing that reserve is to do so over time – years or even decades – before your risk for decline increases with advanced age.
Always remember this: Cognitive decline is not necessarily inevitable. Research suggests healthy habits you can incorporate into your daily life can help protect your brain health for the long term. Think of health as a “top-down” project. Focus on your brain and everything else will follow. Happy New Year!
There are 5 main pillars to brain power plus a few more
You’ve got to move it move it move it Your body that is….
Exercise is the single most important thing anyone can do to improve brain function and resiliency to disease. Exercise also helps lower inflammation and that is critical in preventing dementia, while it stimulates the the release of growth factors and production of cells including brain cells. Studies have shown that 11 minutes a day can increase your life span while the recommended amount is 150 minutes /week That’s roughly 21 minutes/day. It doesn’t have to be consecutive . Take a break from what you are doing with a 10-12 minute walk twice a day,
Stretch your mind
Learn something new; solve a problem, use reasoning. Learn a hobby, prepare recipes, try a new language. join a book club, share ideas.
Sleep perchance to dream
Sleep is like restarting your computer. Ideally get 7 hours of solid sleep per night. Having trouble getting to sleep learn meditation or deep breathing. Create a sleep inducing bedroom.
Eliminate stress by taking breaks to reduce the cortisol that causes high levels of inflammation. Naps for 20-30 minutes can make a huge difference. Churchill, JFK and many CEOs know the power of this along with meditation
Fuel your brain
Like your car, your brain needs the right fuel to keep it running smoothly. There are many studies of different diets that can have positive or negative health implications. A May study published in Neurology found the Mediterranean diet, for example, may limit your risk for dementia. This way of eating limits processed foods and red meats in favor of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and extra-virgin olive oil. You need to find a sensible way to eat that you can maintain. Does this mean giving up sweets or chips? No, it means being smart and eating non healthy foods sparingly. For brain health, incorporate fatty fish like salmon or mackerel into your eating routine. if you don’t like that try other ways to get omega -3,
Reduce sugar. many well-designed studies have found that people with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar.
Be with others
Over the years, numerous studies have shown that strong social relationships contribute to healthier and happier lives. But, when it comes to brain health, recent research has shown those relationships also enhance neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to change, enhance and preserve its cognitive abilities.
Join others that share interests. Want to stretch your mind and move; learn dance, yoga, or other group exercise. Join a book club Take knitting or crocheting lessons Just get out of the house and away from the TV, and phone