Sex + dark chocolate = a brainier you. Now that’s gotta make you happy!

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Tuesday’s SMH ran a story on a new book telling us what to do, and what to avoid, to keep our brain cells firing at optimal levels.

Top brain gainers include copious sex, dark chocolate and cold meats for breakfast.

So start your day with a daybreak dalliance, followed by cold, leftover BBQ chicken pizza and a Cherry Ripe chaser, and it’s goodbye Cletus-ville, hello Mensa. Sweet.

Also helpful, but way less fun, is cuddling babies (okay, that is fun), a business degree and reading aloud. No, I don’t think moving your lips as you read Where’s Wally counts. And no, neither does calling out the subtitles during a foreign movie.

If you want to mix it up, try narrating snippets from your business text during sex. You may need to periodically rouse your partner, but at least you’ll have super cognitive powers at the ready for a snide remark should they complain.

Brain drainers include TV soap operas, smoking cannabis and hanging with whiners.

I love TV shows, but to qualify for watching my proviso is they must make me (a) laugh (b) think or (c) feel happy – and soap operas masterfully sidestep all 3. (Ironically, the show Weeds is a triple scorer).

Drugs cause more trouble than they’re worth, so avoiding the lot is a no-brainer – oops anti-brain-drainer.

And as for whiners – I wish there was awards-speech music that welled up as a bout of whining approached 4 minutes. Or a whining download limit that shaped the whinge to an inaudible whisper as it went over 210 seconds. For chronic whiners who persevered beyond all deterrents, I’d like there to be a whiners’ island where they could be exiled to live with other whiners.

Authors Terry Horne and Simon Wootton say the ideas in their book Teach Yourself: Train Your Brain come from research by experts around the world, including findings that certain activities precipitate chemical reactions.

Their advice is excellent: “Mix with people who make you laugh, have a good sense of humour or who share the same interests as you and avoid people who whinge, whine and complain as people who are negative will make you depressed.”

Add a little sex, no drugs and some rocky road – and your brain’s golden.

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Image by by f10n4 under a Creative Commons license.