A: There are several ways to keep your brain healthy, and prevention is the key. Be sure to manage your chronic medical conditions. Uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure and untreated depression can have harmful effects on brain health (and general health overall).
If you are on any medications, review them with your health care provider or pharmacist. Some medications can impact memory and ability to concentrate. Staying mentally and physically active, socializing regularly, limiting distractions and getting organized are very important steps to take to improve your memory and maintain good brain health.
Eating a healthy diet is also very important. Foods that are high in antioxidants such as blueberries, pomegranates, citrus fruits and colorful vegetables improve motor skills and improve your ability to learn new things. Freshly-brewed teas also contain antioxidants in addition to several natural stimulants including caffeine. These can enhance focus and concentration. Dark chocolate is also a great “brain food” because of its antioxidant and caffeine content.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain function. They are found in items such as fish (especially salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna and sardines), flax seed, spinach and walnuts. Whole grains decrease your risk for heart disease and promote good blood flow to the brain. Nuts and seeds contain vitamin E which can help slow memory loss. Supplements may also be used to assure that you have these key nutrients in your diet.
Information provided by Cat Anderson, Nu Cara Pharmacy, 4927 Maple Drive, Pleasant Hill, 515-264-1503.