Did you ever watch Jeopardy on TV and be amazed at how fast the contestants can press the buzzer and offer the correct question? How do they recall so much information on so such a wide array of subjects? What about you? Do you need to think quickly and clearly at work or at home? How is your memory?

Is there anything you can do to amp up your memory, reaction speed and cognitive functioning? As a matter of fact, yes. Recent research supports the following five exercise and nutritional categories to improve your executive decision making capability, processing speed and memory. Let’s start:

1. “Alex, I’ll take Stay Hydrated for $200.”

According to a study published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal, being dehydrated by only 2% on water consumption causes a decrease in cognitive performance.

The solution is to drink about 8 ounces of water when you wake up, as you have not drunk anything for 6 to 8 hours while exhaling water vapor with your carbon dioxide. In addition consuming approximately 64 ounces per day of water or water-based liquids will keep you hydrated and support neural connections running at top speed.

2. “Can I have Eat a Breakfast That Contains Protein for $400?”

Research published in the IDEA Fitness Journal support findings that we need to eat protein to keep our brains healthy as well as keep us feeling full.  Also, a large-scale study published in the British Journal of Nutrition indicates that peanut butter contains the right balance of fiber, good oils and protein so that fluctuations in blood sugar are held in check.

3.Let me have Eat Brain Food for $600.”

Many foods have properties which help our brains to age better by reducing inflammation and boosting protective hormones. Blueberries contain antioxidants, vitamins C and K and Gallic acid. Dark chocolate contains flavanols, which, in addition to being an antioxidant, increases blood flow to the brain. Salmon, eggs and beets are also contain powerful antioxidants.

4. “Alex, give me Cardiovascular Exercise for $800, please.”

Sure, Sudoku and chess are fun. But their impacts on staving off memory loss and age related dementia have not been proven.

On the other hand, bathing your brain in oxygenated blood from doing cardio has been proven to work. The oxygen molecules that scoop up free radicals in your heart and blood vessels are even more important to keep your brain from getting gummed up. The goal is to do between 150 and 300 minutes of cardio per week.

5. “I’ll finish the category with Strength Training for $1000.”

Each strand of DNA has a protective end cap called a telomere. It is like the plastic tip on most shoelaces. These biological end caps offer protection from metabolic processes and environmental assaults. The longer and stronger your telomeres are, the younger your DNA is.

Strength training has been shown to make your telomeres more robust. The key is exercising at an intensity where the last few repetitions of each set are difficult, but still executed with good form.

Will these strategies work for me?

I can say without question that you can make it to Final Jeopardy if you implement these five answers.

What strategies do you use to prepare your brain for the Fitness and Nutrition Tournament of Champions? I’d love to hear how you boost your brainpower.