Category: Brain Health

Everyday Tips for Improving Your Brain

200313650-001Did you know that living with stress, eating junk food, and embracing the sedentary life as a couch potato aren’t just bad for your mood and body, they’re bad for your brain, too? This is the reason professionals who deal with brain health often tout the benefits of exercise, eating well and reducing stress.

Your brain can benefit from other everyday things, as well. Laughter, for example, releases stress and—if you’re laughing with a friend—is a great way to connect with those around you. (Social connection is a key indicator of brain health, and experts say that social interaction helps build something called “cognitive reserve.”)

Getting plenty of sleep is also an everyday activity that is critical for brain health because it’s when you are asleep that your brain solidifies learning and makes recent memories permanent.

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Little White Lies Are Good for Your Brain (Just kidding. But see how easy it is to let one slip?)

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iStock_000000335618SmallYour grandmother asks how you liked her Spam® burger. Gulp. Choosing your words carefully, you say, “I’ve never eaten anything like it! What unique texture!” Your boss asks why you’re late. Gulp. You tell him about the accident that tied up two lanes of traffic, but you conveniently leave out the fact that you also overslept.

Oh, the little white lies we tell. If we’re honest, most of us have undoubtedly stretched the truth at times. Call it exaggeration or fibbing, but leading deception expert Pamela Meyer concludes that the average person lies between 10 and 200 times every day. White lies are the seemingly harmless “untruths” we offer to minimize someone’s disappointment or anger, avoid embarrassment or forego an unpleasant outcome. But lies of any degree can affect more than your reputation, your career and your relationships—they can mess with your brain, alter your health and decrease your longevity. Really? Yes really.

“I don’t think that dress makes you look fat.”

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Thinking Outside the Box (About Bananas)

Maybe someone’s been monkeying around, but we went ape over the creative product reviews of the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer on Amazon.com.

Either this real product sold on Amazon.com is particularly appealing to creative writers, or one creative soul has gone to a lot of trouble to create a string of the most entertaining, outrageous (and fictional, we hope!) product reviews you’ll ever read.

Here’s a sampling of what these raving reviews are saying about this product:

“Can’t believe how much time I used to waste with a ruler and pencil, marking my bananas to get those perfectly uniform slices.”

“I’m ordering one for my nephew who’s in the Air Force in California. He’s been using an old Slinky to slice his bananas. He should really enjoy this product!”

“I have 27 trained monkeys I use to do my evil bidding. Well, the younger monkeys’ teeth have not fully developed and so slicing a banana to feed them used to be a necessary chore…”

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Aquaponics: Good for Your Brain?

Aquaponics is a relatively new gardening technology that grows fish and vegetables together.

From a gardening standpoint, aquaponics is sheer genius, creating a symbiotic system in which fish create nutrients for the plants, and plants filter the water for the fish. The outcome? Healthier, happier fish; healthier, happier veggies. No chemicals allowed. Oh, and because the same water is recycled continually through the plants and fish tank, there’s no big water bill, either.

From small backyard systems to big commercial farms, people are using aquaponics to feed their families and even their communities with organic veggies and edible fish such as tilapia, perch, catfish, and even trout.

So what does that have to do with your brain?

Green, leafy veggies are great for your brain because they are often full of vitamins, iron, folic acid and antioxidants, all necessary for cognitive health, In fact, Harvard Medical School researchers discovered that women who ate the most green leafy veggies (compared to women who ate fewer veggies) experienced less cognitive decline as they aged.

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Here’s to a Healthier Brain! Bottoms Up!

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A recent study proves something you’ve been wishing were true: Chocolate is good for you!

You heard right! Chocolate has been scientifically proven to boost blood flow to certain areas of the brain. It’s the flavanols in chocolate that make it so healthy, and the darker the chocolate the better. Flavanols can also be found in foods like red wine, green tea, and blueberries. But let’s get back to the business of discussing chocolate.

Scientists found that drinking a flavanol-rich cocoa drink increased the flow of blood to the brain for two to three hours. Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), these scientists were able to detect increased activity in specific areas of the brain in individuals who drank just one serving of the chocolaty drink. The activity is linked to dilation of blood vessels which allows more blood–and therefore more oxygen–to reach key areas of the brain. The result?  Better performance at specific cognitive tasks, plus greater alertness.

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