Feed your memory

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Always forgetting where you put your keys? Feel lost without your iCal? To the rescue: Foods scientifically proven to boost your brainpower
• ORANGES

The research: This juicy fruit is a great source of folate, and a recent study in The Journal of Nutrition found that a diet rich in folate — which helps lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid related to memory loss — is associated with faster recall and information processing. Work it in: Aim for one medium-size orange a day; eat on its own, or cut wedges into bite-size pieces and add to a salad or on top of grilled fish.
• BLACK BEANS

The research: This fiber-rich food is an excellent source of vitamin B1, a nutrient that helps synthesize the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is crucial for memory, explains Cynthia Sass, R.D., a nutritionist in New York City. "Low levels of acetylcholine have been linked to age-related mental decline and Alzheimer's disease," she says.

Work it in: Aim for ½ cup a day; add to a Mexican-style salad with grilled peppers, pico de gallo and organic corn chips.
• SAGE

The research: Two double-blind trials showed that taking an essential oil extract of sage — which inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine — significantly improved recall in adults for up to four hours after consuming, says Sass.

Work it in: Aim for 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried sage, or 1 teaspoon sage-infused olive oil daily; add fresh or dried sage to canned or homemade soup, or use sage-infused oil in a meat marinade.
EDITOR'S PICK

Oil check "I often end up using more oil and butter than I normally would when I use stainless steel pots and pans, but the 360 Cookware surgical stainless steel small skillet ($150; 360cookware.com) traps moisture and circulates heat (much like a convection oven), The result? Such little stick that I've actually seared chicken without a drop of oil."
Win the cold war

We may not yet know how the H1N1 virus will play out, but bolstering your immune system with an extra shot of vitamin C certainly can't hurt — and it's important to load up on more than just oranges. Raw broccoli, peppers, tomatoes and strawberries are all great sources of this infection-fighting vitamin, says Ruth Frechman, R.D., a nutritionist in Los Angeles and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. Take a supplement to further boost your resistance to bugs. One we love: Ester-C ($9 and up for 60 tablets; ester-c.com).

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By D. M.

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