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The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains By: Alvaro Fernandez

Article By: Alvaro Fernandez

Let’s review some good lifestyle options we can follow to maintain, and improve, our vibrant brains.

  • Learn what is the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic understanding will serve you well to appre­ci­ate your brain’s beauty as a liv­ing and constantly-developing dense for­est with bil­lions of neu­rons and synapses.
  • Take care of your nutri­tion. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but consumes over 20% of the oxy­gen and nutri­ents we intake? As a gen­eral rule, you don’t need expen­sive ultra-sophisticated nutri­tional sup­ple­ments; just make sure you don’t stuff your­self with the “bad stuff”.
  • Remem­ber that the brain is part of the body. Things that exer­cise your body can also help sharpen your brain: phys­i­cal exer­cise enhances neurogenesis.
  • Prac­tice pos­i­tive, future-oriented thoughts until they become your default mind­set and you look for­ward to every new day in a con­struc­tive way. Stress and anx­i­ety, no mat­ter whether induced by exter­nal events or by your own thoughts, actu­ally kills neu­rons and pre­vent the cre­ation of new ones. You can think of chronic stress as the oppo­site of exer­cise: it pre­vents the cre­ation of new neurons.
  • Thrive on Learn­ing and Men­tal Chal­lenges. The point of hav­ing a brain is pre­cisely to learn and to adapt to chal­leng­ing new envi­ron­ments. Once new neu­rons appear in your brain, where they stay in your brain and how long they sur­vive depends on how you use them. “Use It or Lose It” does not mean “do cross­word puz­zle num­ber 1,234,567″. It means, “chal­lenge your brain often with fun­da­men­tally new activities”.
  • We are (as far as we know) the only self-directed organ­isms in this planet. Aim high. Once you grad­u­ate from col­lege, keep learn­ing. Once you become too com­fort­able in one job, find a new one. The brain keeps devel­op­ing, reflect­ing what you do with it.
  • Explore, travel. Adapt­ing to new loca­tions forces you to pay more atten­tion to your envi­ron­ment. Make new deci­sions, use your brain.
  • Don’t Out­source Your Brain. Not to media per­son­al­i­ties, not to politi­cians, not to your smart neighbor… Make your own deci­sions, and mis­takes. And learn from them. That way, you are train­ing your brain, not your neighbors’.
  • Develop and main­tain stim­u­lat­ing friend­ships. We are “social ani­mals”, and need social inter­ac­tion. This, by the way, is why ‘Baby Ein­stein’ has been shown not to be the panacea for chil­dren development.
  • Laugh. Often. Especially to cog­ni­tively com­plex humor, full of twists and sur­prises. Bet­ter, try to become the next Jon Stewart

Now, remem­ber that what counts is not read­ing this article-or any other-, but prac­tic­ing a bit every day until small steps snow­ball into unstop­pable, inter­nal­ized habits…so, pick your next bat­tle and try to start improv­ing at least one of these 10 habits today. Revisit the habit above that really grabbed your atten­tion, and make a deci­sion to try some­thing dif­fer­ent today!  [end of article]

Call BrainFlex™ Wellness Club and get started today!  

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you.

The Neural Retraining System



The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you.

Neuroplasticity allows the brain to be strengthened at any age.



The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you.

A Few Facts: The Impact of Socialization on Senior Wellness

A FEW FACTS:  SOCIALIZATION and SENIOR WELLNESS

“Strong social ties can preserve our brain health as we age.”
(The American Journal of Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health study).

“Social isolation may be an important risk factor for cognitive decline in the elderly.”
(Tara Parker-Pope, Socializing Appears to Delay Memory Problems, The New York Times, Well, June 4, 2008)

“Elderly people who are socially isolated and lonely may be at greater risk of early death”

–March 25 (HealthDay News)

“Lack of social contact might be an even bigger risk factor than loneliness.”

–March 25  (HealthDay News)

“Social contact is a fundamental aspect of human existence.  Being socially isolated may lead to the development of serious illness and a reduced life span”
(Andrew Steptoe, director of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care at University College London.)

 

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you.

Research Supports Engaging in Specific Activities May Lead to Decrease in Cognitive Decline

Can brain exercises keep your brain healthier as you age and prevent memory loss? Can they even prevent or delay dementia such as Alzheimer’s?                 

We need more studies to know for sure. But a number of studies show the benefits of staying mentally active. Mental engagement is consistently linked with a decreased risk of a decline in thinking skills. So games, puzzles, and other types of brain training may help slow memory loss and mental decline.

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about the impact of brain exercises on memory and dementia.

Can brain exercises prevent memory loss or dementia?                         

Researchers still need to do more study. But there appears to be a consistent link between brain training and a decreased risk of mental decline.

Some studies have shown brain training can have long-lasting positive effects. That was seen, for example, in a study called ACTIVE — the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly study.

The study involved 2,802 adults aged 65 and older. Participants attended up to 10 brain-training sessions over a 5- to 6-week period. The sessions included training in strategies for:
• Memory
• Reasoning
• Speed of processing information

People who took the training showed improvements in those areas that lasted for at least 5 years. Even better? This translated into improvements in their everyday lives, such as the ability to manage money and do housework.

But what about prevention of Alzheimer’s and other dementias? Does brain training help?                                                                                                      A study published in 2010 looked at this question and found that staying mentally active delayed cognitive (thinking) decline. After onset of Alzheimer’s, however, mental decline sped up in people who were mentally active. How could this be true? It’s possible that being cognitively active initially bolstered the brain, so symptoms didn’t show up until later in the disease process after it reached a kind of tipping point.

The silver lining here? People who are mentally active may spend a shorter part of their lives in a state of decline, even if they develop Alzheimer’s.
How does brain activity help?
Animal studies have shown that mental stimulation may help protect the brain by:
• Decreasing the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, such as increases in certain proteins (plaques and tangles)
• Supporting new nerve cell growth
• Prompting communication between nerve cells

By keeping your brain active with brain exercises or other engagement, you may help build up a reserve of brain cells and connections. You might even grow new brain cells. This is one explanation for the link between Alzheimer’s and lower levels of education. Experts think that extra stimulation from education may protect the brain by strengthening brain cell connections.

Of course, neither education nor brain exercises provide an insurance policy against Alzheimer’s. But they may help delay the onset of symptoms, prolonging a higher quality of life. And that could be worth a whole lot.

What kinds of brain exercises should I do?  

Researchers know even less about the best types of exercise for your brain. They may well vary from person to person. But the main idea seems to be keeping your brain active and challenged.

Learning something new makes new brain cells grow. You could even try something as simple as occasionally eating with your non-dominant hand.
Here is some brain training you might try:

• Learn something new — a second language or a musical instrument.
• Work on crossword, number, or other kinds of puzzles.
• Play online memory games or exercises or video games.
• Play board games with your kids or grandkids.
• Get your friends together for a weekly game of cards.
• Mix it up by trying new games.

The extra bonus of doing activities like these? Social connections also help your brain.

Simply surfing the Internet may be a great way to “stretch” your brain into new territory.

By using MRI scans, researchers have even seen this activity trigger centers of the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning.

Reading, writing, or attending local adult education classes are other great ways to keep your brain exercised.

 

WebMD Medical Reference                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  View Article Sources
Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on August 20, 2014

 

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you.

Mind Diet – Part 2

Fatty Fish

Seafood like salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, and sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, powerful and versatile nutrients that are essential for a healthy mind. About 40% of the fatty acids in brain cell membranes are DHA, one of the main omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil. Experts believe it’s probably necessary for transmitting signals between brain cells.

Researchers at Tufts University found that people who ate fish 3 times a week and had the highest levels of DHA in their blood slashed their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 39%.

Eat it: At least twice a week (limit albacore tuna to no more than 6 ounces a week to minimize mercury exposure).

Leafy Green and Cruciferous Veggies
Pile salads,stir-fries, and side dishes with broccoli,cauliflower, cabbage,kale, bok choy, and brussels sprouts. They’re filled with antioxidants like vitamin C and plant compounds called carotenoids,which are particularly powerful brain protectors.

Antioxidants prevent damage from free radicals, which are waste products your body makes when cells use fuel to create energy. Your brain is especially vulnerable to damage from free radicals because it uses a lot of fuel (it’s only about 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy).Since your mind makes a lot of these toxic by-products, ample antioxidants help to disarm and defuse them.

While all antioxidants (from a variety of plants) are good for your brain,these cruciferous veggies are especially effective. A Harvard Medical School study of more than 13,000 women found that those who ate the most lowered their brain age by 1 to 2 years.

Eat it: Daily, as part of a well-rounded mix of other colorful veggies.

Avocado,Oils, Nuts, and Seeds

They all contain another important antioxidant: vitamin E. n one study, researchers found that people who consumed moderate amounts vitamin E-from food, not supplements-lowered their risk of AD by 67%.

Eat it: Frequently; shoot for 15 mg of E a day, the equivalent of 2 ounces of almonds.

Chocolate
Sweeten your brain-boosting diet with the dark kind (at least 70% cocoa); it contains flavonoids, another class of antioxidants that some research links to brain health. Other flavonoid-rich foods include apples,red and purple grapes, red wine, onions, tea, and beer.

Eat it: Frequently, as part of a healthy total calorie intake. Up to half an ounce daily has also been shown to lower blood pressure.

Berries

Research indicates these antioxidant powerhouses may protect your brain, although the mechanism isn’t fully understood. Some scientists think they help to build healthy connections between brain cells.

Eat them: Daily, added to yogurt,oatmeal,or cereal for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Whole grains

Fiber-rich oatmeal,oat bran,brown rice, and so on help stabilize blood glucose (sugar) levels, compared with refined carbs like white bread and sugary foods. Your body digests these simple sugars quickly, so you have a sudden energy spike-and subsequent plummet. Since glucose is the brain’s main source of fuel,it’s important to keep levels steady; during a crash, you’ll feel tired and crabby and have trouble concentrating.

Eat them: Daily, aiming for 25 grams of fiber; fruits, vegetables,and beans are other good sources.

Water

Every cell in your body needs water to thrive, and your brain cells are no exception; in fact, about three-quarters of your brain is water. A small Ohio University study found that people whose bodies were well hydrated scored significantly better on tests of brainpower, compared with those who weren’t drinking enough.

Drink it: Throughout the day; aim to sip 6 to 8 glasses total.

Alcohol (in moderation)

While chronic, heavy drinking can cause serious dementia, research shows that imbibing lightly may protect the brain. In one JAMA study, people who had one to six drinks a week were 54% less likely to develop dementia than teetotalers. Experts aren’t sure why, but some doctors point out that moderate drinkers have reduced rates of heart disease, too. Small amounts of alcohol may protect both the heart and brain by preventing blockages in blood vessels.

Drink it: Once a day or less-and have no more than one drink. f you have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor

Coffee

Caffeine is another substance wherein the dose makes the poison: In excess, it can cause brain fog, but in moderate amounts, caffeine can improve attention span, reaction time, and other brain skills. One French study found that women over 65 who drank three or more cups of coffee a day were better able to recall words than women who consumed little or none. Another review showed that coffee drinkers may cut AD risk by up to 30%.

Drink it: Daily, limiting caffeine intake to 300 to 400 mg; an 8-ounce cup of coffee has around 100 mg.

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you.