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Consumer Reports: Simple ways to boost your brainpower

Posted at 7:11 AM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 08:11:00-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF/CONSUMER REPORTS) — Who doesn’t want a little more brain power these days? Many of us are shopping for ways to boost memory with everything from superfoods and supplements to online games.

But what really works to preserve, and even enhance, your thinking skills? Consumer Reports digs into the latest research on how to stay sharp.

If forgetting where you put your keys, or not being able to remember someone’s name has you concerned about your memory, you are not alone. In a recent survey by Consumer Reports, one out of three Americans say they’ve noticed signs of forgetfulness significant enough to worry them.

"There’s obviously a big difference between forgetfulness and dementia. Some memory issues are caused by lack of sleep, stress or just normal aging," said Trisha Calvo, Consumer Reports health editor.

Maybe you’re considering trying one of the many dietary supplements sold as brain boosters.

"While there is some research that shows omega-3 fatty acid supplements may be worthwhile for those with a family history of dementia, the majority of memory supplements have no benefit for most people," Calvo.

What’s worse — research has found unapproved drugs in some supplements, potentially pose a health risk. So it is important to talk with your doctor before using supplements.

What about the brain-training games or programs sold as a way to sharpen your thinking skills? Things like learning to paint or listening to an educational podcast can also help. The same goes for physical activities like tai chi, yoga or dance.

"Practicing the unfamiliar moves also helps your brain to create new neural pathways and that’s especially true if you spend time learning a new skill with friends!" Calvo said.

As with most aspects of living a long, higher-quality life, overall wellness — things like eating healthy and staying fit — can help reduce brain disease risk and maintain cognitive strength for years to come. Meaning that living a healthy life may be a key part of reducing brain disease risks and maintaining cognitive strength.

It’s always good to talk with your doctor about memory and cognitive issues so they can properly screen you for any serious medical conditions.