New Year’s Resolutions are often about fitness and losing weight. Equally as important is fitness for the brain.
“This is no surprise … what’s good for the body is good for the brain,” said Mia Tischer, executive director of Learning Rx Chicago-Naperville. “It’s important that people know they can take a proactive approach to building a healthy brain.”
She recommends a number of tips for brain
health for 2014.
1. Eat complex carbohydrates. Eat complex carbohydrates instead of simple sugars. Our brain can’t store carbohydrates like muscles so it requires a constant supply of glucose.
2. Balance foods. Balance carbohydrates by eating them with small amounts of protein, beneficial fats and fiber
3. Stay hydrated. Water is vital for proper brain function. Nutrients can reach the brain in adequate amounts only if the body gets enough fluids. Even slight dehydration can produce short-term memory deficits, reasoning difficulties and other cognitive problems.
4. Exercise. Even brisk walking increases blood flow to the brain.
5. Eat breakfast. Keeping our brains optimally powered is also dependent on when we eat. Eating breakfast is critically important for mental function in the morning. Studies show that kids who eat breakfast have better memories and test scores than those who skip the first meal of the day.
6. Snack throughout the day. Instead of consuming giant meals, snack throughout the day.
6. Keep your brain active. Do sudokus and crossword puzzles, learn another language, or lose the list and use mnemonics to remember your grocery list.
7. Get enough iron. Adequate iron is essential, along with Vitamin C, to help the body absorb certain types of iron. In one study, less than 1/3 of the female participants had sufficient iron in their blood. These women performed cognitive exercises better and faster than women who were iron deficient
8. Eat fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish. These oils are crucial for building brain cell membranes and protecting brain blood vessels.
9. Get a brain check-up. Get a cognitive skills evaluation to find out which brain skills (memory, attention, visual processing, etc.) are weak.
10. Get your brain trained. Studies show that intensive, one-on-one brain training can help increase cognitive reserves, which significantly helps reduce the risk of developing dementia.
The almost daily onslaught of new brain food research can be confusing, and… well, mind-boggling, said Tischer. “As new information comes along and you find yourself in doubt, just remember the bottom line: If it’s good for the body, it’s good for the brain too,” she said.
About LearningRx-Naperville: LearningRx-Naperville specializes in treating the root cause of learning struggles, such as dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, and provides support in reading, math, and career and academic advancement. Anyone of any age can increase the speed, power or function of his or her brain. LearningRx-Naperville opened in November 2011 and is the only one-on-one Brain Training Center in Illinois.