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Tips to Increase Brain Power

Prevention

Neurologist with Shawnee Mission Health

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help prevent a number of diseases, including heart disease and cancer. It can also improve brain function. If you’re feeling in a mental fog or just want to give your brain a boost, consider the following lifestyle choices:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Including all of the food groups in your diet and exercising portion control can improve your ability to think and focus. Pay special attention to high-nutrient foods, such as berries, fish, and whole grains. As a general rule, foods that are deep and rich in color are healthier. A sample menu would look like:

    • Breakfast: One bowl of high-fiber cereal with blueberries + one slice of whole-grain toast + one serving fruit juice
    • Lunch: Turkey sandwich made with whole-grain bread, low-fat turkey, lettuce, tomato, light mayonnaise and mustard + side salad or raw vegetables
    • Dinner: Salmon + steamed broccoli
  • Get enough sleep. Most people need between 7.5 and 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Not getting this amount can lead to a slow start to the day and make it difficult to focus on work and other activities.

  • Make exercise part of your routine. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise, five days per week. If you can’t fit a 30-minute block of time into your schedule, try breaking it up into three 10-minute mini workouts. For example, you could just take a short walk or climb the stairs. Just make sure you do it to a point where you’re a bit winded and you’ve increased your heart rate.

  • Reduce stress. The first step is identifying what is causing stress. Next, you need to make an action plan that deals with it. You may also decide to try diffusing stress with physical activity. For example, both yoga and tai chi can help burn off extra energy, as well as teach you to focus your mind and let go of daily stress.

  • Challenge your mind. Keeping your brain active will help your mind stay sharp for years to come. This may include doing puzzles, playing word games or making an effort to learn new skills. Dancing is also good because it’s active and requires you to learn new patterns to follow, which may lead to better memorization skills. Whatever you choose, just find something you like to do and make it fun.