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10 Ways To Keep Your Brain Sharp

10 Ways To Keep Your Brain SharpNo matter what age we are, we need to look after our brains. Our brain is a very important organ! Here are 10 ways to keep your brain sharp. Hopefully you’re as unsurprised as me to see that ‘Stay active’ is the first piece of advice. When we do aerobic exercise our blood volume to the brain increases which encourages neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells). More benefits are below. Did you know that by eating small and frequent meals is also good for your brain? Here a low glycemic diet is recommended but it’s not actually mentioned that the key fuel for our brains cells is glucose – and glucose comes from carbohydrates. A high glycemic diet and sugary snacks can cause all the energy to flow from your brain – ever experienced that low after a chocolate bar or sugary drink? [Read more…]

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7 Ways To Boost Productivity When You’re Tired

How To Boost Productivity When You're TiredWhat a fitting post for a Monday. Unless you’ve had a revitalising weekend enriched with exercise, healthy food and no alcohol, Mondays can be a struggle! Here are 7 ways to boost your productivity when you’re tired. Unsurprisingly, movement is the first method to boost your energy levels. It’s fascinating what happens to our brains when we exercise – we really can’t function effectively without it. Interesting to see ‘get some sun’ featured – no wonder people go into melt down in the winter. I think everyone suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) to some extent. [Read more…]

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12 Ways to Focus On your Energy

How To Boost your EnergyFollowing on from Friday’s video by Tony Robbins on energy, here are 12 ways to focus on your energy brought to you by Dumb Little Man. Our productivity and focus are heavily affected by our energy levels so it’s really important to do everything we can to enhance them! If you’re a follower of any highly successful people, you’ll notice a clear trend between their energy and productivity. Richard Branson attributes his productivity to his morning exercise. Tony Robbins recommends exercise and starting every day with an “hour of power.”   [Read more…]

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Food For The Brain

Food For The BrainHave you ever wondered why you experience a “food coma” after certain foods you eat? Have you ever felt really energized? Have you ever felt de-energised or sluggish an hour or so after treating yourself to a chocolate bar or something sweet like a soda drink? Have you noticed that sometimes caffeine has little or no effect on your state of mind at certain times during the day? [Read more…]

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Sleep And Your Brain

Sleep And Your Brain If you struggle with focus and concentration, it may be worth assessing how much sleep you’re getting every night and gaining an understanding of how sleep and your brain health are heavily linked. There’s a bit of a worldwide debate going on about how much sleep we need each night and there doesn’t appear to be a general rule of thumb. Some people survive on four hours a night, others can’t function on less than 8 hours a night. One thing that is certain though, is that chronic sleep deprivation is harmful to your brain – in fact it can have the same effects on your brain as aging does – namely, the part of your brain responsible for your memory – your hippocampus – starts to shrink. Scary much? [Read more…]

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How To Improve Your Memory

CyclingIf you’d like to learn how to improve your memory, then stop what you’re doing now! No matter how young or old we are, we have a brain that needs protecting and looking after. On a societal level, there are things that we do or don’t do which can can affect our brains – like, living an inactive lifestyle, not drinking enough water, over-indulging in alcohol, consuming the wrongs types of food and exposure to certain chemicals. As we age, the part of the brain responsible for memory starts to shrink, but this can be significantly slowed. [Read more…]

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7 Foods That Can Help Boost Your Focus

We’ve all heard the saying ‘we are what we eat’. This rings true as much for our minds as it does for the rest of our body and vital organs. Here are 7 foods that can help boost your focus created by Amy Paturel for the Huffington Post. As far as I’m aware, through no fault of their own, very few people understand the importance of nutrition for our minds. If they did, they wouldn’t eat such cr*p! I’ve probably just alienated a few people but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. In fact, the majority of what we find in our supermarkets does not provide much quality nutrition at all. Check out this article to see an easy to read slideshow of foods that are great for our brains and therefore focus.

Brain FoodThe trick, says Patricia Bannan, M.S., R.D., author of Eat Right When Time is Tight, is fueling your body with foods that enhance focus, memory and concentration. Most of these gems are chock full of nutrients like fiber (which keeps you satisfied so you’re not thinking about hunger pangs) and essential fatty acids (which smooth connections in the brain).

Continue reading full article here

These 7 foods than can help boost your focus are congruent with my understanding of what our brain needs to function. Our brain needs essential fatty acids from foods such as avocados and and eggs. They’re called essential fatty acids as our body cannot produce them; we have to make a conscious effort to actually consume these daily. Fatty acids form the membranes surrounding brain cells, through which oxygen, glucose and antioxidants pass in and metabolic waste passes out. Our brain cells need them to produce brain cells. What wasn’t mentioned in these brain foods was complex carbohydrates to provide the brain with glucose – it’s key fuel. For more information on the right sorts of carbohydrates for our brain, see this article here.

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Strengthen Your Brain With Exercise

We were born to move, yet too many people do not prioritise exercise. This article explains how you strengthen your brain with exercise, improve learning capabilities and also slow down aging. It was once believed that our brains stopped growing when we reached a certain age. This is of course nonsense. Our brains are constantly undergoing changes, the neurons between cells can be renewed and strengthened with the right treatment, or indeed weakened and severed when not treated with care. Exercise is key in maintaining the brain’s plasticity – its ability to build and repair and change throughout our lives. Take a few minutes out to read this no-nonsense, concise and informative article by Lori Rockl for Castanet.net.

Strengthen Your Brain With Exercise

Exercise for your brainNumerous studies have been conducted on brain plasticity to explore the changes in cellular structure which occur in the brain over time. A number of factors appear to contribute, from hormones generated inside the body to shock therapy. One of the most effective and least compromising is exercise. Studies show that people are able to enhance the flexibility of the brain by “exercising” it, much like exercising the musculoskeletal system can be improved or modified with exercise.
The growth of new brain cells and nerves – neurogenesis – happens when the brain blood volume increases. Blood volume increases during moderate exercise. The hippocampal area of the brain, the area responsible for memory and learning, is the area primarily affected by increased blood volume. This is good news for us with aging brains where memory seems to deteriorate and learning new things like language or music also seems to be fairly challenging.

Read the whole article on Castanet

Therefore, you strengthen your brain with exercise by stimulating neurogenesis. This happens when the blood volume increases which of course exercise induces. It’s frustrating to see people neglect exercise as they’re neglecting their bodies, their health as a whole and their brains. I speak from the heart, having parents who don’t seem to understand the importance of exercise, knowing that their aging could be considerably slowed if they undertook regular exercise.  Spread the word!

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Exercises To Stimulate Your Brain And Senses

If you fear you may be getting forgetful, you may want to try a few of these exercises to stimulate your brain and senses written by Arti Patel for the Huffington Post Canada. Be sure to click through to the Huffington Post as there’s a slide show well worth viewing. Among it are tips such as turning your photos upside down in your work place as this will immediately puts your brain in “alert mode” according to Dr Stephen Brewer (cited below), and brushing your teeth with your less different hand can apparently induce creativity as it stimulates the brain’s senses.

Exercises To Stimulate Your Brain And Senses

Meditation For FocusDr. Stephen Brewer, medical director at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona says improving your memory is all about stimulating your senses.

“Using two senses can increase the likelihood of remembering something and smell is the most powerful sense for memory,” he said at the second annual St. Lucia Health and Wellness Retreat in Castries, St. Lucia.

Our senses work to engage our attention and helps our brain become more alert of our surroundings, Brewer says. Brain exercises, like playing Sudoku or crossword puzzles in the morning paper, have been shown to help improve not only intelligence,but also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, according to the Archives of Neurology. An estimated 500,000 people have Alzheimer’s or a type of dementia in Canada and over 70,000 of them are under the age of 65, according to the Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto.

Continue reading on The Huffington Post

I was happy to see meditation featured in these exercises to stimulate your brain and senses. Meditation has a heap of benefits including its ability to boost your focus and creativity, and according to this article has even been shown to slow mental decline. The simplest form of meditation is to go to a quite place, uninterrupted, close your eyes, take deep slow breaths and to focus only your breathing. As soon as a thought enters your head, get rid of it and turn your attention back to your breathing. This empties your brain of thoughts and the longer you do it, the better you get at just concentrating on your breathing without the interruption of thoughts entering your head. It’s actually quite liberating, I’ve been doing it before going to sleep and waking up in the mornings. If you’re interested in meditation, this article explains a little more.

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Super Foods To Help You Focus

Whether you’re student, business owner, employee or child suffering from ADHD there is a plethora of super foods to help you focus. This article is directed to help students during midterms but these foods apply to anyone. Your brain cells feed on glucose, which is derived from complex carbohydrates (whole grain, vegetables, fruits and legumes). Complex carbs release sugar at a steady pace into your blood stream and your brain feeds on this glucose for fuel. Your brain loves this type. Simple carbohydrates (refined, white and processed foods) on the other hand, actually drain your brain of energy, as they release sugar fast into the blood stream almost like an injection, which causes your pancreas to secrete Insulin. This in turn causes cells throughout your body to pull excess glucose from your blood stream and in turn drains your brain of the glucose it requires for energy. This leads to you not being able to concentrate, think, concentrate, focus or learn, you’ll feel weak and in extreme cases, this leads to hypoglycemia – which can actually lead to unconsciousness! Steer clear of high sugar foods which obviously includes sweets as well as simple carbs, but also high sugar soft drinks  – you’ll experience an immediate high, but that is swiftly followed by a low. Stick to these types of foods, written by Kathryn Miller for Student Printz:

Super Foods To Help You Focus

Dark ChocolateThe following is a list of super brain foods for a positive, stress-free midterm week.

• WHOLE-GRAIN—Cereals, whole-grain breads and popcorn boost blood flow to the brain.

• NUTS—Walnuts, cashews, almonds and pecans clear up “brain fog,” enable clearer thinking, and are positive mood enhancers.

•BERRIES—Blueberries strengthen the brain and help with cognitive processes. Strawberries improve brain cell abilities. Blackberries help protect the brain from oxidation stress and fights brain disease.

• SEEDS—Sunflower seeds can boost mood and brainpower. Pumpkin seeds enhance memory and thinking skills.

• GREEN TEA—When freshly brewed, it enhances memory and focus, fights mental fatigue and promotes relaxation.

• EGGS—Nutrients help boost the memory center in the brain.

• AVOCADOS—Contain mono-unsaturated fats, which contribute to healthy blood flow, which is the main requirement for a healthy brain.

• BROCCOLI—Great source of vitamin K, which enhances cognitive function and improves brainpower.

• EGGPLANT—The skin increases focus.

• SPINACH—A diet rich in spinach significantly improves learning capacity and motor skills.

• YOGURT—Calcium-rich foods improve nerve function. Yogurt improves alertness and memory.

• CHOCOLATE—Dark chocolate has powerful antioxidants, which enhance focus and concentration and improve mood. Milk chocolate starts impulse control and reaction time. Chocolate has been known to improve visual and verbal memory.

Read more on StudentPrintz.com

I was fairly surprised to see milk chocolate recommended here in these super foods to help you focus. Dark chocolate is known to be beneficial for your health (in small doses) as the coco has antioxidants but I wasn’t aware of the benefits of milk chocolate. Every day’s a school day!

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