From the Magazine

4 Easy Fixes for Holiday Brain Drain

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In these busy-busy days, feeling scattered seems unavoidable. Not so, say Stanford University researchers! They’ve found that as many as 67 percent of us experience blood-sugar spikes after meals, which leave us foggy and tired. The good news: These simple strategies keep your blood sugar steady all day, boosting memory, mood, and more!

Start with walnuts.

Few foods sharpen focus, concentration and recall as quickly as walnuts! That’s the word from Yale University researchers, who say nibbling on just 1⁄4 cup of walnut halves daily could give you 35 percent better blood sugar control all day long — enough to cut your risk of foggy thinking and memory lapses in half. Thanks goes to a unique sugar-steadying compound in walnuts (alpha-linolenic acid).

Put away canned tomatoes.

A few minutes of arm exercises every half hour could prevent blood-sugar surges after meals, helping you feel 57 percent sharper and more energized on even busy days, British researchers say. Explains endocrinologist Rick Bracken, M.D., moving your arms switches on genes that help your body use sugars for fuel. No gym required! Simply haul your laundry up from the basement or do arm curls as you put away groceries.

Try magnesium.

Taking 400 mg. of this blood sugar– steadying mineral daily can cut your risk of holiday brain fog and scattered thinking by 48 percent. Tip: You’ll absorb four times more magnesium if you supplement with magnesium citrate ($7.34, Amazon) instead of the old standby, magnesium oxide, say University of Texas researchers. Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.

Fill the tub.

You already know the de-stressing power of a good soak. Turns out, ending the day with a 20-minute steamy bath could also cut your risk of post-meal blood-sugar troubles and brain fog by 45 percent for 24 hours straight, suggests research in the journal Temperature. Explains study co-author Chris Leicht, Ph.D., when your body temperature rises, your muscle and brain cells release proteins that help them soak up blood sugar and convert it into energy.

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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