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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Superfoods for a healthy brain

Food for thought

superfoods you must include in your diet to boost your brain:

Wild salmon: are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for brain function

Crab: One serving of crab contains more than your entire daily requirement of phenylalanine, an amino acid that helps make the neurotransmitter dopamine, brain-stimulating adrenaline and noradrenaline and thyroid hormone, and may help fight Parkinson’s disease. Crab is also an excellent source of brain-boosting vitamin B12.

Chicken Giblets or Clams: are a great sources of vitamin B12, which is crucial for brain health. Just a cup of giblets provides 228% of your recommended daily dose of B12. They also contain zinc and iron, which have been associated with the brain’s ability to stay focused and recall information.

Coffee: A cup or two of coffee could boost the brain’s ability to store long-term memories and also reduces the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Nuts and seed: are good sources of vitamin E that protect neurons and nerve cells. Higher levels of vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline as you get older.

Whole grains: Whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-grain breads, and brown rice can reduce the risk for heart disease. Every organ in the body is dependent on blood flow and if you promote cardiovascular health, you’re promoting good flow to the organ system, which includes the brain

Chickpeas: are one of the best food sources of magnesium (aside from kelp and green leafy vegetables). Magnesium benefits brain cell receptors to speed the transmission of messages, while also relaxing blood vessels, which allows more blood flow to the brain.

Tomatoes: lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes, could help protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s

Broccoli and cauliflower: A great source of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower. Broccoli and cauliflower are good sources of choline. Choline intake may boost cognitive function, improve learning and memory, and even diminish age-related memory decline and your brain’s vulnerability to toxins during childhood, as well as conferring protection later in life.

Sage: has long had a reputation for improving memory and although most studies focus on sage as an essential oil, it could be worth adding fresh sage to your diet too

Celery: a rich source of luteolin, a plant compounds that may calm inflammation in your brain, which is a primary cause of neurodegeneration. Luteolin has also been linked with lower rates of age-related memory loss in mice. In addition to celery, peppers and carrots are also good sources of luteolin.

Beets: boost your brainpower. Natural nitrates found in beets (as well as cabbages and radishes) can actually increase blood flow to the brain, thereby improving mental performance.

Avocados: it’s a monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow “healthy blood flow means a healthy brain”. Avocados also lower blood pressure, and as hypertension is a risk factor for the decline in cognitive abilities, a lower blood pressure should promote brain health. Avocado also contains vitamin E.

Garlic: Fresh garlic is best as it has properties which reduce bad cholesterol and fights bacteria because of the antioxidant content.

Vegetable Juice: Vegetables provide all the vitamins and antioxidants our hearts and brains need. Juiced vegetables are a convenient and delicious way to get all those vital nutrients.

Blueberries: help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Pomegranates: As good as blueberries, pomegranates are rich in antioxidants. Rather than waste all the fibers present, it is better eaten in the fruit form rather than as a juice. Pomegranates are great stress busters.

Elderberries: are packed with quercetin, a flavonoid that’s critical to your brain’s health. Like blueberries and strawberries, the flavonoids found in elderberries help reduce harmful inflammation at a cellular level. Additionally, quercetin increases the activity of your cells’ mitochondria, which you can think of as the “powerhouses” within each of your cells. By boosting your mitochondrial activity, you’ll boost your overall energy level, too.

Red wine: moderate amounts of red wine and other types of alcohol may be at reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease

Curry: Contains turmeric, a spice that in turn contains the anti-inflammatory antioxidant curcumin that may help inhibit the accumulation of destructive beta amyloids in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, as well as break up existing plaques. Curcumin has even been shown to boost memory and stimulate the production of new brain cells.

 

 

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Posted by on March 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Chewing can improve your memory

chewing apple

Several studies have shown that chewing produces an enhancing effect on memory. Mastication is associated with various brain regions, including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, ventral prefrontal cortex and parietal cortex. It may accelerate or recover the process of working memory, encoding new information, delayed recall  and the arousal level will also be improved by the chewing motion. Chewing also increased the blood circulation in one of the most important arteries. This artery (middle cerebral artery) is mostly affected in case of a stroke. Heart rate was found to increase in the chewing condition which was similar to other light physical activities.
This is quite essential, specially among the group of elderly who suffer from dementia and cognitive problems such as memory impairment. As there is no cure for dementia, interventions are aimed at improving the clinical consequences. For example, interventions targeting life style factors, such as increasing physical activity, have been found to improve cognitive measures in healthy elderly. Physical activity interventions targeting elderly persons suffering from dementia may improve cognitive function, mood, and Quality of life (QoL) or reduce the risk of cognitive impairments. But demented elderly and in particular, residents of nursing homes have often less or in most cases no physical activity during the day. For this reason it is important to find alternative ways to reduce and delay the process of cognitive decline. One suggestion is simply by mastication. There is additional support for a relationship between mastication and cognition in the elderly population, including those, perhaps even especially those, suffering from dementia. But unfortunately most elderly also suffer from a bad oral health because of inadequate oral health care. A healthy dentition, preferably with nine or more occluding pairs, is needed for good masticatory function in adolescents and adults of all ages. Bad oral health, such as periodontal disease, can lead to tooth loss in the older population causing loss of masticatory function. In most cases even if elderly are able to chew they regularly receive fluid or mashed and pureed meals, because of the fear for chocking. This is very unhelpful because in the first stages of dementia only 30 percent of this group suffer from swallowing and chewing difficulties (dysphagia) and the other 70 percent is often eating fluid and pureed food for no particular reason.
Overall, the above information shows a quite serious condition that needs immediate attention. After reading this you might now want to start looking around to see if you can help people in your community. But what can you do exactly to improve their quality of life? Start by stimulating them to be more active and if they are unable to move, make sure they are chewing regularly and eating properly. Dentist visits at least once in 6 months and regular oral care is essential as well.
And for yourself try a chewing gum while you are learning and memorizing, before and during your exam or during other memory performances. chewing will improve the encoding and recall of the information and help you perform better. I am sure it will at least help you stay more alert whenever you need it.

interesting to read:

Effects of chewing gum on mood, learning, memory and performance of an intelligence test http://www.maneyonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/147683009X423247

Effects of chewing in working memory processing http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304394008003169

Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory http://www.pnas.org/content/108/7/3017.short

Physical activity and enhanced fitness to improve cognitive function in older people without known cognitive impairment http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005381.pub3/abstract

Increased masticatory activity and quality of life in elderly persons with dementia-a longitudinal matched cluster randomized single-blind multicenter intervention study.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1186%2F1471-2377-13-26#page-3

 

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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