Brain Boosters!

Ever feel like you are not as sharp as you used to be? Your brain needs nourishment, just as much, if not more, than any other part of your body. Brain boosting foods and games are two ways to keep your brain functioning at its peak.

Brain Boosting Foods:

The brain is an organ, like the heart, and will benefit from a low-fat, low cholesterol diet.

• Choose chicken, turkey, tofu or fish, particularly salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna, which are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts and flax oil are also high.

• Choose foods high in antioxidants. Particularly vitamin E, C and beta-carotene. Because the brain uses more oxygen than any other organ, it needs antioxidants to maintain itself. Dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, collards) fruits (blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, dried apricots, peaches, bananas) and vegetables (tomatoes, asparagus, sweet potatoes, avocados). For vitamin E, consider wheat germ oil and sunflower seeds.

•Choose monounsaturated oils, such as oil and canola oils. Avoid hydrogenated vegetable oils, found mainly in processed foods.

Mind Games:

• Keep a journal – write your memoirs or try poetry.
• Practice math – turn off the calculator.
• Play games – Scrabble or crossword puzzles for verbal skills. Jigsaw puzzles for spatial skills.
• Study – take classes. Learn or relearn something that interests you. Use it or lose it!
• Plan/plant a garden – engage in a multi-sensory activity that stimulates your brain and all your senses.
• Relax – relaxation helps clear the mind to make room for memories.
• Read a map – instead of using the GPS or asking for directions and take a new way home.
• Repeat things out loud. Hearing helps you (and others) remember.
• Read books – start with the classics you’ve never read.
• Turn off the TV – strengthen your powers of concentration by removing distractions and avoiding interruptions.
• Use visualization to improve recall – try to remember by visualizing what a person looks like, what they wore, what your last conversation was about.
• Pay attention – memory problems are often related to attention, not retention.
• Make lists – writing was invented as a mnemonic (helpful of the memory) device!