It's the last weekend of August and although summer carries on a bit longer, the start of school, the end of vacations and getting back to all those projects we put off while enjoying the last days of summer, are all happening next week. As you send your kids off to school and you gear up for work, I thought it's a good time to think about things you can do to help make you smarter or at least perform better at school and at work.
While there are no foods that an actually raise your IQ or make you smarter, there are some strategies that can help with concentration, memory, reasoning skills and overall performance ... in other words, help you maximize the smarts you already have. Here are 4 strategies to get you started:
* Eat iron-rich foods: Found in lean meat and eggs, iron-fortified cereals and grains, dried fruits, leafy greens, beans, nuts and seeds, iron is the mineral needed to make hemoglobin which transports oxygen to all cells and tissues, including your brain. An iron deficiency can leave you feeling tired and lethargic and its been shown that some people who have difficulty with concentration or memory may need more iron in their diet. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron better so have your cereal with berries, throw red peppers in a bean salad, orange sections in your green salad or eat your almonds with a glass of juice.
* Breakfast for everyone: You hear it over and over but you should listen because it still is the most important meal of the day. It's been shown that a healthy breakfast helps kids concentrate better, making it easier for them to learn and this can apply to adults as well. So start the new season off by making breakfast a priority. It can be as simple as a whole grain cereal with fruit and milk, a smoothie, a sandwich (made the night before if time is an issue), crackers and cheese or even leftovers.
* Go Fishing: Fish, especially the cold water, fatty fish including salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, halibut are great sources of omega-3 fats which are in brain tissue and key in brain development and function. Some studies suggest they may help memory and mood. You can also get some omega-3 fats in flax seeds, canola oil, walnuts and omega-3 enriched products like some eggs or dairy products. However, they are not good sources of DHA, the fat most associated with brain health. Enjoy mackerel, halibut or trout cooked on the barbecue, sardines in a salad or have a salmon sandwich for lunch. Try to eat fish two to three times a week.
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