Keeping Your Smarts, Part 2

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So it’s been a few days since you read part one of this topic. Tucked in your bag next to your New York Times is the adult education course schedule at your local community college. You’ve finally decided, once and for all, that you’ll learn French.

You’re tackling Hamlet and it isn’t as bad as you thought. In fact, maybe you’ll rent the movie. Instead of Norah Jones, you’ve got a Beethoven Quartet on your iPod. It’s the new you, doing the important work of keeping your brain interested and working.

Here are some dietary tips for maintaining a healthy brain:
Eat more fish. The omega-3 fats in fish are vital to healthy brain function. Low-mercury, high omega-3 fish are the deep-water ocean fish, including halibut, mackerel, wild-caught salmon, and tuna (pregnant women should limit tuna because of the effect of even small amounts of mercury on the developing fetus).
If you don’t eat fish, take two fish oil capsules daily–virtually all brands have been tested for mercury and the levels come up zero. If you can’t stand fish oil capsules, take a couple of tablespoons of flaxseed oil daily.
Eat more fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants in these foods protect your brain from damage caused by altered oxygen molecules called free radicals. Folic acid (one of the B vitamins) in produce has been proved unequivocally to slow down age-related memory loss.
Eat more curry. That’s right, the yellow Indian spice has been shown to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Drink a cup of green tea daily. If you don’t like green tea, try pomegranate juice. Both are potent antioxidants.
Avoid foods with a lot of saturated fats (which clog your arteries) and sugary foods (also not good for your arteries).
Don’t forget your daily aspirin (81 mg is fine).

The five supplements I believe are your best bet for maintaining a healthy brain:
Phosphatidyl serine, 100 mg twice a day. This versatile memory enhancer acts on the brain chemical acetylcholine, needed for focus and memory.
Phosphatidyl choline, 500 mg once a day. Another component needed for acetylcholine production.
Coenzyme Q 10, 50 mg once a day. This remarkable anti-aging supplement is used around the world.
Vinpocetine, 10 mg twice a day. Vinpocetine improves circulation in the brain.
Ashwagandha, 100 mg twice a day. Ashwagandha prevents breakdown of acetylcholine.

Among several books on the subject, my own favorite is Brain Longevity by Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD. Dr. Khalsa is an internist who has spent years researching this topic and his book is a valuable resource.

Last, please take a good high-potency multiple vitamin (if you’re menstruating, use the multiple vitamin with iron) to plug any inadvertent nutritional gaps in your otherwise stellar eating habits

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