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Have A More Productive Morning

Do you have trouble getting moving in the morning? I’ve never quite gotten used to the 4 a.m. alarm, but once I hit the shower, I’m usually okay. The experts have given us a few tips to help us have a more productive morning.

Walk your brain awake. Just 20 minutes of walking improves your “cognitive flexibility”–your brain’s ability to produce a flow of ideas and answers when presented with a problem–by 16 percent.  Walking from the bed to the bathroom doesn’t count.

Protein power. Eating a protein-rich breakfast resulted in a nearly 20 percent boost in brain activity compared to either no breakfast or a breakfast high in sugar.  That’s because protein, unlike sugar, provides your brain with a consistent energy source. Eggs are a great source of hunger-quelling protein, not to mention a lot of other good stuff.

A better source of caffeine. A recent study from the University of Bristol in the UK found that just 20 to 30 milligrams (mg) of caffeine boosts brainpower–regardless of how alert the subjects felt. That’s about 100 mg less than your average cup of coffee. Higher doses didn’t provide any additional brain boost. So have a small amount of dark chocolate in the morning. (Do chocolate pancakes count?) Research has shown dark chocolate improves blood flow and cholesterol levels, and may even help you lose weight. One ounce–or about two 1-inch squares–containing 70 to 85 percent cocoa packs roughly 25 mg of caffeine.

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