Brain Boosters: Foods That Can Help Improve Your Intelligence, Alertness, Focus, And Memory
When it comes to your brain, there’s always room for improvement. One can never be too smart, too witty, nor full of too many useless facts. Still, all the effort needed to acquire such abilities is rather tiring. If only we could eat a food that would instantly transform us into geniuses. Well, until scientists develop this magic cuisine, here are a few foods that may help out a bit with your brain’s strength.
No one ever started their day wishing that they were less smart. Colleges make billions by promising hopeful 18-year-olds that four years at their institutions will make them more intelligent than the rest of the population. Little do they know that similar results could be achieved by simply consuming…dark chocolate? In a study conducted by Northumbria University in England, students performed better on simple math tests after drinking shakes chock full of cocoa, Fox News reported. It’s not that dark chocolate makes you “smarter” but it does help the knowledge you already have shine through a bit better. The flavonol in dark chocolate boosts the circulatory system, increasing the amount of blood that reaches your brain, according to Fox News. This ultimately increases brain functions which would explain why test scores can improve after a quick chocolaty snack.
When you’re feeling sluggish, you may be tempted to grab a coffee or candy bar for a quick pick me up. Although these foods will give you an instant energy boost, it’s often short lived and the later crash can leave you worse off. Vitamin E filled almonds may offer a more effective alternative. These are the most nutrient filled nuts, according to a 2010 study,Business Insider reported. The vitamin E and magnesium in almonds will keep your brain at top-working capacity without the aforementioned “crash” afterwards. If nuts aren’t your thing, there’s nothing quite like gold old fashioned protein to give your brain a much needed boost to get you through the day. Protein is able to stimulate orexin neurons, the cells in your brain responsible for keeping you awake. All animal by products such as fish, meats, dairy, and eggs are packed with protein.
It happens to the best of us. You get halfway through a perfectly fine work day when suddenly you find you can’t seem to focus on anything for longer than a few minutes. Maybe next time you should put down the coffee and try reaching for a berry snack instead. Studies have shown that blueberries in particular are able to increase “concentration and memory” for up to five hours. This is due to the large amount of antioxidants they contain. These powerful nutrients are able to stimulate the blood of blood and oxygen to your brain which results in sharper focus, no caffeine needed. The fact that they are able to fight cancer as well doesn’t hurt either.
Who doesn’t want better memory? Studies suggest that eating cold water fatty fish, such as salmon not only helps you to improve memory retention, but can also protect you for degenerative mental disease such as dementia. That is because they contain high levels of essential fatty acids called DHA. According to the BBC, tomatoes can help protect memory loss due to free radical damage to cells, you know just in case you needed a reason to have that second serving of pasta.
The Health Benefits Of Tea + 15 Teas For Any Ailment
Have you noticed the rise in popularity of tea drinking where you live? Tea shops are popping up as often as coffee houses! Beyond just the charm of drinking tea, science supports the health benefits of tea. Tea is wonderful for you! Black, green, oolong, herbal, white – there are so many choices. Let’s discuss the benefits of each type of tea and when to drink them.
1. GREEN TEA
Green tea is one of the lesser processed teas, therefore it’s high in antioxidants, specifically catechins. Catechins help fight cell damage, so to preserve the catechins it’s recommended that green tea be steeped with water no hotter than 170 degrees. One of the greatest benefits of green tea is its effects on healthy cell growth which have widespread advantages for our bodies, inside and out. Use it topically in an infused coconut oil moisturizer to fight sun damage. Green tea reduces bad cholesterol and although there is caffeine in it, which boosts metabolism and aids in weight loss, green tea can have a relaxing and calming effect.
2. BLACK TEA
Black tea actually comes from the same plant as green tea, but the tea leaves are exposed to oxygen and this oxidization turns the leaves black. Black tea is known for it’s larger amounts of caffeine and antioxidants. The benefits of black tea include lowering risk of heart disease and diabetes, encouraging a healthy immune system and regulating blood sugar levels. If you need digestive help, black tea in small doses is known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties as well.
3. OOLONG TEA
Falling between green and black teas, you’ll find oolong, with its partially oxidized leaves. Oolong provides the benefits of both black and green teas, and with it, a fruity flavor. Oolong is often the tea of choice for weight management and is known to help alleviate skin conditions. A word of caution – oolong tea can be very high in caffeine, so if you are sensitive to caffeine, drink in moderation.
CINNAMON OOLONG TEA
- 12 oolong tea bags
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- hot water
Steep tea bags and cinnamon sticks in hot water (about 190 degrees) for 10 minutes. Strain and serve. For iced tea, pour over ice.
4. WHITE TEA
White tea reigns as the least processed type of tea, making its antioxidant properties the highest. It also has the least amount of caffeine of the caffeinated teas. White tea can lower cholesterol and blood pressure and is antibacterial.
HEALING HERBAL TEAS
There are several types of herbal teas, however none are produced from tea leaves. Herbal teas, or herbal tisanes, are usually made from dried fruits, herbs, roots, bark, berries or flowers. Infusions are made by blending any number of these together. Herbal teas are caffeine free and generally safe for children and pregnant women. These teas can be high in minerals (Rooibos), cold and flu fighters (Ginger), alleviate insomnia (Hibiscus), help clear a stuffy nose (Peppermint), lessen menopausal symptoms (Red Clover), stimulate digestion (Dandelion), aid colicky babies (Chamomile), and fight viruses (Cinnamon).
Rooibos, also called Red Bush Tea, comes from South Africa. It is naturally caffeine-free and contains two bioflavonoids called rutin and quercetin. Both of these compounds block the release of histamine (the chemical our bodies produce in response to allergens). Rooibos may also have benefits for skin irritations and contain cancer fighting properties.
The oil and menthol found in peppermint can have a therapeutic effect, acting as a decongestant and an anti-inflammatory, while also helping to suppress the appetite. The verdict is still out on whether is soothes or exacerbates an upset stomach, so contact your doctor before taking peppermint if you have a condition like GERD.
7. DRIED GINGER
Ginger has so many amazing healing properties! When it comes to allergies and colds, its natural antihistamine is a boon. And ginger’s anti-inflammatory abilities can soothe the stomach, relieve sore muscles, and lessen the strength of menstrual cramps. Going on a boat? Drink ginger tea to ease motion sickness. And of course we are all familiar with ginger’s natural kick, which makes it a great flavor booster even in small amounts.
8. STINGING NETTLE
You might have less than fond memories of stinging nettles from your childhood. These are the same nettles, but they turn from harmful to healthy when boiled into tea. Nettles are the most often recommended remedy for seasonal allergies and can help relieve itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and runny nose. This is also an herb to try for anyone suffering from arthritis or who need a quick boost of energy.
9. YERBA MATE
Yerba Mate is very popular in South America. It contains natural caffeine and works to produce corticosteroids, which act as an anti-inflammatory in response to allergens. This can help open up respiratory passages and increase oxygen intake. Yerba Mate can also lowers lipids, leading to reduced cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
10. LEMON BALM
Lemon balm belongs to the mint family, but has a lemony scent, hence its name. Widely known for its calming effects, lemon balm can also help with the common cold and other respiratory issues. Lemon balm alleviates digestive problems, such as an upset stomach and gas, and also works well for painful ailments like a headache or toothache.
Long used throughout Europe and Asia to treat sleep and stomach troubles, chamomile is becoming quite popular in North America. While its sleep-inducing properties are well known, chamomile can also soothe puffy eyes and be used as an anti-bacterial mouthwash. A word of caution to allergy sufferers though, the chamomile plant is a relative of ragweed..
Hands down, Hibiscus is a favorite tea choice to cool off with during the summer. In addition to being refreshing, hibiscus also has properties that help lower blood pressure, especially for those with diabetes. Other reasons to drink hibiscus? It’s naturally high in vitamins, like vitamin C, and acts as a natural diuretic.
13. RED CLOVER
Red Clover is most often associated with its ability to lessen menopausal symptoms, but it can help men, too. This herb can reduce one’s PSA, the marker used to determine if you are at risk for prostrate cancer. Of benefit to men and women are the isoflavones found in red clover, which help protect against cardiovascular disease.
Dandelion tea is popular because it acts as a diuretic to stimulate digestion. Less commonly known is that dandelion root is used medicinally to treat hepatitis, jaundice and dyspepsia. And it should be mentioned that dandelion tea lessens hot flashes and combats the formation of kidney stones.
Rounding out our list of teas is cinnamon, the super spice of the herb world. Consider it if you’re interested in lowering cholesterol, fighting viruses, increasing your antioxidants or alleviating systems of arthritis.
Read more at http://hellonatural.co/the-health-benefits-of-tea-15-teas-for-any-ailment/#YiduTC2kQbG2UJ8q.99
1. Watch your diet
Experts have weighed in on this topic, and what they have concluded after many studies is that your metabolism slows down when you cut calories. This might seem counter-productive if you are trying to lose weight, but if you remember to get regular exercise, it can negate that slowdown effect.
Gradual weight loss will keep your metabolism chugging along. If you are trying to lose weight, cut no more than 500 calories from your daily diet and be sure to work off the same amount of calories when you workout.
2. Stop stressing
If you have been stressed out about your job, your family, or any other factor in your life, you need to find a way to cope with the stress positively. Research has shown that when you are completely stressed out, your metabolism can’t deal.
At a study conducted by Ohio State University, women that were stressed to the max burned less calories after eating a high-fat meal when pressed with stress the day prior to eating that meal. Too much stress could cause you to add 11 pounds a year. Eek.
3. Go fast
While experts shun most cleanses and other trendy diets of starvation, new research seems to show that fasting in a certain way might actually help. Alternate-day fasting allows one to eat without any restrictions on one day and then on the next day, only allows one to eat 500 calories. This method triggers weight loss without slowing up your metabolism.
4. Pump some iron
Lifting weights is one of the best ways to rev up your metabolism. Most people are aware of the benefits of strength training, however a newer research has shown that when lifting weights, one of the best things you can do is go slowly instead of fast. By resting for several minutes between sets, you’re helping to promote the growth of muscles.
5. Eat protein properly
Protein is fuel for muscle growth. However, you need to split up the amount of it you consume evenly throughout your day. Your body can only handle roughly 4 to 6 ounces of protein at once. Eating more than that during a meal will cause it to be stored as fat.
6. Employ calorie blasters throughout the day
There are many other little things you can do during your day that will make a difference, like exercising in the morning on an empty stomach, drinking more water, adding small bursts of activity to your day such as a walk on your lunch break, and sleeping in colder temperatures can all contribute to a speedier metabolism.
7. Health problems can cause metabolism issues
Certain health issues like thyroid disorders, prediabetes, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and polycystic ovary syndrome are just some of the ones that can turn your metabolism upside down. If you have any of these health problems, discuss your options with your doctor.
By working these tips into your day, you will soon start to feel your metabolism working more efficiently and quickly for you. And when that happens, you will be able to achieve the goals you have been dreaming about.
I recently read a “30 Tips” post on Rubies and Radishes that had some great suggestions to make eating Paleo easier.*
But… compulsive editor that I am, I edited it down to what I thought were the best tips for eating Paleo, and add a few helpful items and notes of my own. Here you go!
• When you’re just starting, plan out meals and snacks several days in advance. This keeps you from caving in on busy days. Once you get the hang of cooking and eating Paleo, it will be easier to throw together meals from your well-stocked kitchen.
• If planning all your meals seems overwhelming, try it in phases. Most people don’t need a lot of variety in breakfast, so find one or two Paleo-friendly breakfasts that work for you and get those nailed down. Then find a few lunches that work for you. Then move on to planning dinners.
• Cook meat in bulk; save in easy-to-thaw portions in the freezer. Hamburger, pulled pork, chicken, and your favorite kinds of sausage are all handy to have ready to deploy. You can also cook bacon in big batches and keep it in the fridge. Have you tried cooking it in the oven?
• Dedicate time to prep ingredients every week. Or, if it works better for you, every evening after dinner, prep what you’ll need for tomorrow’s meal(s). Thaw anything that’s frozen. Chop up ingredients. Pre-mix seasonings or sauces.
• Paleo eating and meal planning takes time to adjust to. Give yourself time and grace. Keep at it — it will get easier! It’s only hard until it’s routine.
• Read labels. Learn to recognize sugar in all its disguises. Yeah, it’s overwhelming and kind of depressing at first, but it’s a necessary education.
• Don’t spend too much time trying to figure out how to substitute or recreate the non-Paleo food you once ate. Instead of mourning the loss of food that makes you feel yucky, celebrate new food discoveries that make you feel great! As you stick with this, your taste buds will change and junk food will become less and less appealing.
• Explore Paleo blogs and books. The more Paleo knowledge you have, the easier it is to stick with your new lifestyle!
• When you make dinner, make extra. Enjoy it for breakfast (yes, you can!) or lunch the next day, or pack it in the freezer for an easy future meal.
• One of the hardest things about eating Paleo is the social pressure to eat junk. Always have a plan before going to social gatherings. And focus on how that food is going to make you feel tomorrow! Tell yourself, “When I eat crap, I feel like crap.”
• Eat a satisfying meal before you go to parties so you won’t be tempted by unhealthy choices. Drink plenty of water while you’re there. Focus on enjoying the people, not the food.
• If it’s a pot luck, bring your own Paleo dish (or two), because that might be your only healthy choice!
• Likewise, have a plan for how you’ll eat when meeting friends at restaurants.
• Remember to get the sleep you need every night, and drink plenty of water. And several times a week, if not every day, try to get a little sunshine and gentle exercise.