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Diet & Nutrition, Preventive Health

Smart Cookie: 8 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power

A new study found that celery (specifically, luteolin, a compound found within celery) had brain-boosting power in older mice. Yes, celery.

So this got me thinking: are there other things you can do to upgrade your smarty-pants quotient?

You betcha.

Omega-3 fatty acids are well-known to boost brain function. This, in addition to all the other health benefits of omega-3, of course. Smarten up with fish like salmon and mackerel, walnuts, and flaxseed.

Caffeine. I know what you’re thinking–coffee only gives a temporary jolt to those neurons, right? Wrong. Studies have linked coffee with a decreased rate of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other forms of dementia.

Meditation. Making a regular practice of meditation has been shown to improve memory and cognitive sharpness.

Breakfast. Research backs up what your mama always told you. Eating that oh-so-crucial morning meal has been shown to improve short-term memory and attention. Students with a good breakfast under their belt tend to perform significantly better than those who skipped their Wheaties.

Nuts and Seeds. Vitamin E is a superb antioxidant, and antioxidants are associated with less “now where did I put my keys?” as you age. Nuts and seeds happen to have lots of vitamin E.

Chocolate. Specifically, dark chocolate. This yummy treat also has powerful antioxidant properties (plus a little caffeine–see above). Keep your daily intake limited to an ounce, however, or say hello to a nice new muffin top.

Blueberries. Animal research has demonstrated the benefits of blueberries: they appear to protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Plus, aging rats on a blueberry-rich diet showed significant improvement in learning capacity and motor skills.

Sleep. A multitude of studies show the link between lack of sleep and mental dullness: poor memory, crummy concentration, slow reaction time, inefficient learning….and on, and on. So hit the sack. Your brain (and body) will thank you.

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About Kim Foster

Dr. Kim Foster is a writer, family doctor, and mom.

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Dr. Kim Foster, MD. (photo credit: Tamea Burd Photography)

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