These key vitamins, minerals, and nutrients enhance mental functioning:

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  • Water comprises up to 90 percent of brain tissues and is essential for its electrical transmissions. Drink eight to ten glasses a day.
     
  • B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12, folic acid, pantothenic acid, and biotin) help manufacture neurotransmitters in the brain. They function as vasodilators, enhancing blood flow, and help convert blood sugar into available energy. Take a multivitamin with a balance of Bs, and eat whole grains. Voilà! Better memory.
     
  • Minerals are required to convert amino acids to brain chemicals. They also help transport oxygen and produce energy in the brain. Jackson, Wyoming-based Mary Howley, MS, RD, suggests that you take a multivitamin supplement containing magnesium, zinc, and calcium to enhance brain function.
     
  • Choline (500-1,000 mg/day) is a major component in the structure of brain membranes. Lecithin granules (1 tablespoon, 3x/day) are a great source of choline.
     
  • Essential Fatty Acids, or EFAs, keep the brain flexible and agile. DHA and EPA (200-600 mg/day) are the most abundant fats in the brain. Eat salmon on a regular basis, or add ground flaxseeds to morning cereal, pie crusts, or pasta.
     
  • Coenzyme Q10 (100 mg/day) is a major component of healthy cell structure, and it protects nerve connections in the brain.

    —L.D.