Six Steps to Boost Your Brain's Performance
Whether you're looking to improve your memory or intelligence, or you're wanting to ward off dementia later in life, there are key steps you can take to give your brain power a boost. Publix Super Markets provide the following easy guidelines for boosting your brain's performance in their magazine, GreenWise:
Include Fish in Your Weekly Diet
According to Dr. Gary Small, author of The Memory Prescription, the fatty acid Omega-3 helps to protect brain arteries. Try to consume one to three servings of Omega-3's a week. You'll find Omega-3's in fish, particularly the "fatty" fishes such as salmon, halibut, mackerel and sardines. Don't like fish? Try including almonds, walnuts or soy in your diet.
Get into an Exercise Routine
Studies show that physically active adults show a decrease in dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Small explains that, "The brain needs nutrients to work well, and exercise improves circulation." If you are not currently active, be sure to talk with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. And you don't have to join a gym to stay active. Get your whole family involved and go for walks around your neighborhood or go for a bike ride together. Or perhaps you can play couples tennis with your husband and friends. Whatever you do, find an activity you enjoy so you'll be more likely to stay with it.
Use Memory Cues and Memory Aids
You can find dozens of different techniques in memory books to help you remember lists, people's names and other information. GreenWise mentions one particular memory method that involves the steps Look-Snap-Connect. Essentially you try to remember a list by connecting the items in a visual image. GreenWise gives the example of remembering a "to do" list of going to the post office and dry cleaners, and buying eggs by imagining your postal carrier juggling eggs and wearing a clean shirt. They site that a UCLA study found people who used this technique for 2 weeks improved their memory 200 percent.
Get a Good Night's Sleep
Sleep is essential to good memory. GreenWise quotes Dr. Aaron Nelson, author of The Harvard Medical School Guide to Achieving Optimal Memory, with the following: "Your brain rehearses what you've learned and files it away in your memory. Without those phases of sleep, you won't have good memory." If you have trouble sleeping, consider talking with your physician about possible medical conditions that may be keeping you awake.
Keep Mentally Active
Did you know your brain is a muscle? And like any muscle, it needs to be conditioned to function at its best. For 15 minutes each day, exercise your brain with activities such as crossword puzzles, card games, learning something new or reading a new author. You can find challenging mental activities such as the popular Sudoku game, or a book of math and logic puzzles.
Consider a Brain Booster
Ask your doctor if the herb, ginkgo biloba, might be right for you. You'll definitely want to check with your physician before taking any dietary supplements, especially if you are on other medications, but many people have found ginkgo biloba enhances their memory and cognitive function.
Help your brain stay active and healthy with these simple steps. And talk to your doctor about other possible suggestions.
Source: Information for this article was taken from the article, "Get Smart! Boost Your Brain's Performance with These Six Nonacademic, Relatively Simple Tips," in the February 2006 edition of GreenWise magazine, a free family health publication of Publix Super Markets.
Medical information within this site is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of any health condition. Please consult a licensed health care professional for the treatment or diagnosis of any medical condition.
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