As we all know Winter Break is a time for students and parents alike to take their minds off of school and get into the season of giving. This is an awesome way to recharge your batteries and get back the energy you'll need to excel through the rest of the year! What we find though is that between all of the presents, the good food, and the happy atmosphere it's easy to lose a little bit of the edge our brains had during the summer months! Here are three of the best ways to keep your brain sharp this winter.
First and foremost has to be keeping a healthy and brain hearty diet! Now this doesn't mean that you have to eat salads every day but there are some "super foods" that are delicious and can keep your brain from getting a case of the lazies.
1. Blueberries. "Brainberries" is what Steven Pratt, MD, author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life, calls these tasty fruits. Pratt, who is also on staff at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif., says that in animal studies researchers have found that blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
2. Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin E, says Pratt, explaining that higher levels of vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline as you get older. Add an ounce a day of walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, filberts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, and unhydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, and tahini.
3. Whole grains. Whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-grain breads, and brown rice can reduce the risk for heart disease. "Every organ in the body is dependent on blood flow," says Pratt. "If you promote cardiovascular health, you're promoting good flow to the organ system, which includes the brain." While wheat germ is not technically a whole grain, it also goes on Kulze's "superfoods" list because in addition to fiber, it has vitamin E and some omega-3s.
Besides getting the right kind of brain foods to keep us sharp we also need Exercise. Exercise is the Second tip to being sharp of the winter break. It's so easy to come back to a warm home out of the cold, make some hot chocolate, and just relax for the night! Although that hot chocolate and rest is great to relax your body, don't forget to get out there and run around! Staying active will increase the blood flow to your brain and keep it from getting that heavy slow feeling from being inactive for too long.
Last but certainly not least have fun! I can't think of a single better way of staying sharp than laughing and having a blast! No matter if its witty family banter or if it's singing some carols with the family. The happier you are the faster and sharper your brain will be throughout the break. It's too easy to get a little sad with the grey skies and the chilly air. Make every day of the break actually feel like what it is and make some fun long lasting memories while it's here!