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Brain Boosters

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Should we shell out time and money for games that we are told will make our brain work better? "Brain development starts in utero and there is a long period of time in which the brain matures just as the rest of the body matures,” explains Dr. David Loring who is a Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at Emory University. "After it's fully developed it’s like the rest of the body; nothing works as well ten years down the line."

That's where brain games come into the equation with promises of less forgetfulness, sharper and quicker problem solving-basically better thinking power. "The question that then pops up is to what degree do these cognitive tasks that you've practiced on will generalize and help maintain cognitive skills in a variety of real world tasks." We do know there are some things we can all do to make our brains function better. Healthy living and a fair amount of exercise will help keep your brain strong. "Both social interaction that you have and some of the more broad type of activities in which you engage are related to maintaining a level of function at optimum levels."

So if you want to play a few brain games now and then, Dr. Loring says it’s not the worst thing you can do, but don't forget to get outside, see people and try something new, because those brain boosters are free. 

Healthy food also impacts your brain. A recent study published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia found a new diet may help reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s by more than 50%. It is called the MIND Diet and it includes the following:

-Fatty fish like tuna are high in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial to the brain.

-Green leafy vegetables have vitamin K, which is shown to slow cognitive decline. This includes spinach, kale, and collards.

-Extra virgin olive oil improves learning and memory. It's an excellent source of poly-phenols—powerful antioxidants that have can help prevent and even reverse age- and disease-related memory problems.

-Blueberries help improve short-term memory, navigational skills, balance and coordination.

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