For me, being efficient with my time is key to managing all the demands of the holiday season. Whether it’s playing Santa, decorating, cooking, baking, entertaining or traveling, I need to be organized.
To that end, there’s been a lot of press lately about the ability of certain foods to sharpen your focus, enhance memory and, at the same time, slow the process of cognitive decline. So, what’s really fact and what’s fiction? Let’s take a closer look:
Around the globe, millions of people begin their day with coffee, because they feel it wakes them up and keeps them alert, and they’re right. Coffee contains a blend of caffeine and antioxidants that improve concentration and information retention, but recent studies show that the more often you drink coffee, the less effective it becomes.
One day, there may be specific recommendations about how much caffeine to consume. Until then, you should limit yourself to 300 mg of caffeine per day, or the equivalent of three, six-ounce cups of coffee or four cups of regular tea.
New scientific research also shows that you can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain while you age, if you add certain foods to your diet.
Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids are linked to lower dementia and stroke risks; slower mental decline, and may play a vital role in enhancing memory. Salmon, flaxseed, soy and walnuts are all good sources of omega-3s.
While the abilities of vitamins B, C, E, beta-carotene and magnesium are promising in terms of improved cognative function, they’re still inconclusive. Nuts which are good sources of the antioxidant vitamin E, might slow cognitive decline as you age, and studies performed on animals show that blueberries may help reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
While scientists remain cautiously optimistic about ginseng, gingko, and other herbs, don’t forget the power of a good night’s sleep and regular exercise to keep you focused and agile.