Brain Fitness

By: Suzanne Swearengen, DOM, AP

There is much discussion about making healthy choices for a healthy body, but what about the brain? It does in fact govern the body. It too requires the right fuel to remain sharp and healthy throughout our lifespan. As with many medical topics, research is still in progress, but there are some confirmed findings of completed studies.

The basics of brain fitness involve food choices, cognitive stimulation, and stress management. If this sounds familiar, then you have noticed a trend for general well being. The top foods known to optimize and preserve brain function should be consumed as much as possible:

  1. Blueberries
  2. Wild Salmon
  3. Pure Cacao (best in its raw form or pure organic dark chocolate 75% or better)
  4. Green Tea
  5. Walnuts

All of thesefoods rate high on the ORAC scale(oxygen radical absorbance capacity) and help protect both the brain and body from degeneration. Some other good choices are black plums, blackberries, raspberries, avocadoes, red grapes, broccoli and bananas.Choline rich foods such as eggs, whole grains and legumes help to preserve memory. Be sure to include foods rich in Omega-3 and 6, such as flaxseed oil, grape seed oil, wild caught mackerel, and herringto take advantage of their added benefits for heart health. Avoid foods that have an inhibiting effect on the brain such as refined sugars, starchy foods, dairy, and foods high in saturated fat. These work against us in all aspects of health and should be limited anyway; as do hectic schedules, stress, and lack of sleep.

One can further enhance the brain's potential by setting time aside for oneself. Use this time to form ideas, or simply clear the mind. This can be done anywhere one has some quiet time to allow for brainstorming or soul searching.The brain is one of the most important organs in the body, give it what it needs to thrive and you may be surprised at what you will create and achieve.

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