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April 2014

How to Keep Your Brain in Working Order

Want to keep your brain in top shape?  Although we cannot turn back the hands of time we can try to keep our brain in working order as time marches on.  What you eat along with lifestyle and activities can help keep or even enhance our mental edge. 

Nourish Your Mind
Sharpen your brain with Mediterranean style eating.  Simply said, fruits, vegetables, fish and healthy fats may decrease damage to small blood vessels in the brain.  These vessels deliver vital nutrients, key to brain health.

Eat your Fruits & Vegetables–  Potassium-rich produce; legumes, oranges, tomatoes, spinach, cantaloupe and potatoes are key for healthy blood pressure and brain health. Berries contain phytonutrients that may slow cognitive aging.  Spinach, winter squash, broccoli, pistachios and peas, may boost brain performance as they are an excellent source of lutein. Strive for 2½-3 cups of vegetables and 1½-2 cups of fruit each day.

Go for the Fish– Fish rich in omega 3 fats may lower rates of dementia or slow cognitive decline. When omega 3 fats are combined with lutein, there may be added benefits in brain function. Select fish high in omega 3 fats such as, salmon, tuna, sardines and trout that are baked or broiled and not fried.  Aim for at least 1 serving a week.

Healthy Fats for the Brain– Foods rich in mono- unsaturated fats may help the brain.  They are found in olive and canola oils, avocado and nuts and seeds.  Even though they are healthy, moderation is the key when it comes to fat, calories add up quickly!

Coffee & Tea– These beverages seem to have protective effects on the brain.  Enjoy coffee, tea or both daily, in moderation, unless you have a medical issue or have been advised not to.

Enjoy a Healthy Lifestyle to Boost Brain Function

  • Get and Stay Physically Active: walk, bike, swim, garden, tai chi, yoga, it does not have to be strenuous. It all contributes to a healthier brain.  Strive for 30 minutes a day.
  • Be Selective About Your Attention:  focus your attention on what you want to learn and remember. Try to minimize distractions.
  • Stimulate Your Brain:  play mind games, word and number puzzles, cards, board games.  Try reading or playing a musical instrument!
  • Get Adequate Nutrition:  malnutrition can lead to cognitive issues.  B12 is a critical vitamin and associated with memory.  Have your B12 checked!  You may need a supplement.
  • Get Enough Sleep: losing an hour or two a night of sleep on a regular basis can impair brain function.  Try to keep a consistent bedtime.
  • Treat Depression: often the root of some memory problems.


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