Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Smelling green apples and bananas can help you lose weight.

  • Deja Vu occurs when your brain tries to apply a memory of a past situation to your current one, fails, and makes you feel like it’s happened.

 

  • Daydreaming is said to help people focus on what they want in life.

  • Crying is good for your health – Flushing unhealthy bacteria out of your body, strengthening the immune system and relieving stress.

 

~ Happy Friday!~


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Fun Fact Friday

  • People who speak two languages, may unconsciously change their personality when they switch languages.

  • Cuddling has the same effect on your brain as taking painkillers.

 

  • Your mind spends about 70% of it’s time replaying memories and creating scenarios.

  • When a person becomes more likeable because they are clumsy or make mistakes, it’s called the “Pratfall Effect.”

Happy Friday!
 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact


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Forgetful? It Might Actually Make You Smarter, Study Says

You know those people who always boast about having a perfect memory? Maybe they shouldn’t, because having total recall is totally overrated. That’s according to a new paper in the journal Neuron, which concludes that forgetting things is not just normal, it actually makes us smarter.

In the new report, researchers Paul Frankland and Blake Richards of the University of Toronto propose that the goal of memory is not to transmit the most accurate information over time. Rather, they say, it’s to optimize intelligent decision-making by holding onto what’s important and letting go of what’s not.

“It’s important that the brain forgets irrelevant details and instead focuses on the stuff that’s going to help make decisions in the real world,” says Richards, an associate fellow in the Learning in Machines and Brains program.

The researchers came to this conclusion after looking at years of data on memory, memory loss, and brain activity in both humans and animals. One of Frankland’s own studies in mice, for example, found that as new brain cells are formed in the hippocampus – a region of the brain associated with learning new things – those new connections overwrite old memories and make them harder to access.

This constant swapping of old memories for new ones can have real evolutionary benefits, they say. For example, it can allow us to adapt to new situations by letting go of outdated and potentially misleading information. “If you’re trying to navigate the world and your brain is constantly bringing up conflicting memories, that makes it harder for you to make an informed decision,” says Richards.

Our brains also help us forget specifics about past events while still remembering the big picture, which the researchers think gives us the ability to generalize previous experiences and better apply them to current situations.

memory

“We all admire the person who can smash Trivial Pursuit or win at Jeopardy, but the fact is that evolution shaped our memory not to win a trivia game, but to make intelligent decisions,” says Richards. “And when you look at what’s needed to make intelligent decisions, we would argue that it’s healthy to forget some things.”

So what does that mean for those of us who frequently forget things we just read, people we just met, and where we put our keys? For one, we should stop being so hard on ourselves, says Richards – to a certain extent.

“You don’t want to forget everything, and if you’re forgetting a lot more than normal that might be cause for concern,” he says. “But if you’re someone who forgets the occasional detail, that’s probably a sign that your memory system is perfectly healthy and doing exactly what it should be doing.”

Especially in today’s computers-at-our-fingertips society, Richards says, our brains no longer need to store information like phone numbers and facts easily found on Google. “Instead of storing this irrelevant information that our phones can store for us, our brains are freed up to store the memories that actually do matter for us,” he says.

Richards also recommends “cleaning out” your memory system on a regular basis by doing regular gym workouts. “We know that exercise increases the number of neurons in the hippocampus,” he says. Yes, that may cause some memories to be lost, he says — “but they’re exactly those details from your life that don’t actually matter, and that may be keeping you from making good decisions.”

By Amanda MacMillan, Health.com         Fri June 30, 2017
source: www.cnn.com


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This Beverage Reversed Normal Age-Related Memory Loss in Three Months

Drinking this could reduce your brain age twenty years in just three months.

Cocoa flavanoids — like those contained in a cup of cocoa — can reverse age-related memory loss in older adults, a new study finds.

This is the first direct evidence that an important component of memory decline that comes with age can be improved with a simple dietary change.

Typically, normal age-related memory declines are noticeable to people in their fifties and sixties: things like forgetting where the keys are or having trouble recalling a name or word.

These changes are much less severe than those which typically occur as a result of devastating dementias like Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, published in Nature Neuroscience, found a high-flavanol diet could restore aspects of older people’s memory back to that of a typical 30- or 40-year-old (Brickman et al., 2014).

The changes were clearly visible in brain scans, as Dr. Adam M. Brickman, the study’s lead author explained:

“When we imaged our research subjects’ brains, we found noticeable improvements in the function of the dentate gyrus in those who consumed the high-cocoa-flavanol drink.”

The image below shows the dentate gyrus in green (this is part of the hippocampus).

Previous research has shown that it is changes in this area of the brain that are associated with normal age-related memory loss.

dentate_gyrus

Participants in the study were 37 healthy people aged between 50 and 69.

They were randomised into two groups, one of which was given a high-flavanol diet (900mg of flavanols per day) and the other given a low-flavanol diet (10mg per day).

At the end of the three-month period of the study, participants on the high-flavanoid diet showed improvements on memory tests.

Professor Scott A. Small, one of the study’s authors, explained the results:

“If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months that person on average had the memory of a typical 30- or 40-year-old.”

Flavanols are also found in tea leaves, and certain fruits and vegetables, although the exact amounts and forms vary widely.

The researchers cautioned that people should not eat more chocolate as the critical flavanoids are not present at the required levels — the dietary supplement used in the study was specially formulated.

Naturally, this is only a small trial, but the results are promising and the researchers are planning a larger study.

source: PsyBlog


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Scientists say the brain purposely forgets certain memories in order to avoid information overload, and emotional hangovers.

  • The only sense that doesn’t fully rest when we are sleeping is our hearing.

Scientists say the brain purposely forgets certain memories in order to avoid information overload, and emotional hangovers.
  • In the Netherlands, workers can be absent for up to two years while receiving 70% of their salary as sick pay.

  • A study found that the heaviest social media users had twice the risk of disturbed sleep compared with the lightest users.

 

Happy Friday!
 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact


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Fun Fact Friday

  • If someone truly loves you, they tend to hug you for at least 5 seconds or more.

  • Changing how you walk affects your mood.

  • Studies show that the walking through a doorway causes memory lapses, which is why we walk into another room, only to forget why we did.

  • Emotions are contagious. Unpleasant or negative emotions are more contagious than neutral or positive emotions.

Coffee is the second most traded commodity on Earth after oil.
  • 1% of people are addicted to exercise.

  • Long distance relationships are as satisfying as normal relationships in terms of communication, intimacy, and commitment, studies show.

  • It takes your brain approximately 90 seconds to decide whether or not you like someone.

  • Laughter helps increase memory and learning. Incorporating humor into education leads to higher test scores.

 

Happy Friday!
 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact


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Fun Fact Friday

 

  • You can actually be addicted to cheese. When your body digests it, opiates are released, triggering the addictive element.
  • Bees are directly responsible for the production of 70% of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts that we consume on a daily basis.
  • Your nose can remember 50,000 different scents.
  • Honey is the only natural food that is made without destroying any kind of life.
honey
Honey is the only natural food
that is made without destroying any kind of life.

 

  • Crying keeps you healthy by literally flushing away harmful bacteria and reducing stress.
  • Physical touch makes you healthier. Studies show that massages, hugs, and hand-holding reduces stress and boosts the immune system.
  • When feeling down, do some cleaning. Straightening out the physical aspects of your life can also bring clarity to the mental one.
  • Intelligent people are more forgetful than those with average intelligence.

Happy Friday  
🙂

 

source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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Why Your Memory Sucks (and What You Can Do About It)

Thorin Klosowski

Human memory is quirky, complicated, and unreliable. Even when we think we’re remembering everything accurately, chances are things have gotten twisted along the way. Let’s take a look at why your memory sucks, and how you can change that.

Science is still figuring out all kinds of new things about our brains and memory. What we do know is that a lot of people struggle with remembering things, and in many different ways. Perhaps you’re always forgetting a few items at the grocery store, or to pick up the dry cleaning on your way home. Worse, maybe you can’t remember events from your childhood that well, or you remember an event from college differently than a friend. So, let’s take a look at what’s really going on in your brain, and then see if we can actually do anything to improve your memory.

Why Your Memory Is Terrible

Everyone’s memory is different, but none of us have a perfect memory. In fact, even if you think your memory is perfect, chances are it isn’t. To understand how this works, we need to look at a few different things, starting with how we remember anything to begin with.

Why You Remember What You Remember

The fact is, human memory is complicated. As an example, consider how you remember visual images. It seems straightforward, you see something, and you remember it. But as Scientific American points out, it’s more complex than that:

Memories of visual images (e.g., dinner plates) are stored in what is called visual memory. Our minds use visual memory to perform even the simplest of computations; from remembering the face of someone we’ve just met, to remembering what time it was last we checked…

Memories like what you had for dinner are stored in visual short-term memory—particularly, in a kind of short-term memory often called “visual working memory.” Visual working memory is where visual images are temporarily stored while your mind works away at other tasks—like a whiteboard on which things are briefly written and then wiped away.

So, what causes those memories to stick around and not be wiped away from that whiteboard? According to a one study from MIT, it might simply be how meaningful an image is and if we can connect it to other knowledge. If you can connect that image to something else, it increases the chances you’ll remember it later. Like learning, memory is all about context. This is why, as The Atlantic points out, pattern recognition is key. Essentially, the more connections a new memory has to knowledge you have, the more likely it is you’ll remember that information. The same basic process seems to happen with most memories.

Underneath the hood, all types of things are happening in your brain. How Stuff Works does a good job of breaking it down:

Experts believe that the hippocampus, along with another part of the brain called the frontal cortex, is responsible for analyzing these various sensory inputs and deciding if they’re worth remembering. If they are, they may become part of your long-term memory… these various bits of information are then stored in different parts of the brain. How these bits and pieces are later identified and retrieved to form a cohesive memory, however, is not yet known…
To properly encode a memory, you must first be paying attention. Since you cannot pay attention to everything all the time, most of what you encounter every day is simply filtered out, and only a few stimuli pass into your conscious awareness… What we do know is that how you pay attention to information may be the most important factor in how much of it you actually remember.

The fact of the matter is, we’re still learning a lot about human memory. Why we remember certain details over others is still a mystery.

Memories Are Fallible

It’s probably no secret to you that you can’t trust your memory. All of us have had moments where we’ve misremembered a detail, forgotten something, or even made details up completely. The reason is pretty simple: our memory isn’t always reliable because it’s about perception.

Memories are changed by all kinds of things. Nostalgia plays a roll in how we remember, and according to Scientific American it’s surprisingly easy to instill false memories in people. Most shocking though, is how often we’re just plain wrong about the details. For example, eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, but as The Smithsonian Magazine points out, our memory of major events is consistantly inaccurate:

Most people have so-called flashbulb memories of where they were and what they were doing when something momentous happened: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, say, or the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. (Unfortunately, staggeringly terrible news seems to come out of the blue more often than staggeringly good news.) But as clear and detailed as these memories feel, psychologists find they are surprisingly inaccurate.
Nader, a neuroscientist at McGill University in Montreal, says his memory of the World Trade Center attack has played a few tricks on him. He recalled seeing television footage on September 11 of the first plane hitting the north tower of the World Trade Center. But he was surprised to learn that such footage aired for the first time the following day. Apparently he wasn’t alone: a 2003 study of 569 college students found that 73 percent shared this misperception.

It’s not just traumatic events that cause our memories to flake out. One study in The Journal of the Association for Psychological Science points out that simply recalling memories enhances and distorts them. Which is to say, when you remember something you’re actively changing it. In part this has a lot to do with a wide variety of memory biases that color the ways we remember. From the positivity effect where we tend to remember the positive over the negative to the egocentric bias where we remember ourselves as being better than we are, we’re constantly changing memories in a way that benefits how we view ourselves. Which is to say, trusting your own memory isn’t always the best idea.

For example, one study published in The Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that we tend to think we’ll remember something important more than we will. This is essentially when you don’t write down a brilliant idea because it’s good you’ll never forget it, and then you immediately forget what it was. It’s happened to the best of us, and it’s because we’re overly confident in our ability to remember.

Unfortunately, like most of our biases, the only way to really counteract them is to know they’re there. Knowing that your memory isn’t perfect means you’ll pay more attention to those imperfections in the future.

memory

What You Can Do to Improve Your Memory

Improving your memory is possible, but despite what the self-help section at your local bookstore might say, it’s not just about a series of mental hoops you can jump through every day. In fact, while there certainly are some techniques proven to help you retain information, improving your memory is just as much about lifestyle as anything else.

Exercise Regularly

We know that physical activity affects the brain in a number of positive ways, and one of those is a boost to memory.

Physical activity’s role in memory is incredibly complicated. Studies published in Behavioral Neuroscience, The Journal of American Geriatrics Society, and The Journal of Aging Research, among others suggest that exercise plays a signifigant role in memory. The New York Times breaks the current research like so:

What all of this new research suggests, says Teresa Liu-Ambrose, an associate professor in the Brain Research Center at the University of British Columbia who oversaw the experiments with older women, is that for the most robust brain health, it’s probably advisable to incorporate both aerobic and resistance training. It seems that each type of exercise “selectively targets different aspects of cognition,” she says, probably by sparking the release of different proteins in the body and brain…

[B]eyond merely stemming people’s memory loss, she says, “we saw actual improvements,” an outcome that, if you’re waffling about exercising today, is worth remembering.

Essentially, exercise improves cognitive functions, and when that happens it enhances our memory storage and retrieval. Basically, the better shape your brain is in, the better the chances you’ll remember something.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Most of us have heard before that sleep plays an important role in memory, but as time goes on we’re learning a lot more about how that works. Sleep and memory is an intensely researched subject, and it’s pretty clear that sleep plays a signifigant role in memory formation. Sleep does this in two key ways. Speaking with NPR, Robert Stickgold from Harvard Medical School explains it like so:

Well, it turns out that probably all the stages of sleep are involved, but they’re involved in different ways. And so what we will classically do is we’ll train subjects on some memory task, and it might be a list of words, or it might be a typing sequence. So it can be very different types of memory problems…

And what we see pretty consistently is that the ones who got a chance to sleep will actually be performing much better after that 12 hours than the ones who had been awake… So on one task it might be the amount of deep sleep you get early in the night, and this would be the case more for things like verbal memory, that you’ll see that the amount of improvement subjects show after sleep will depend on how much of that slow wave, that deep sleep they get, whereas in other tasks it might correlate with the amount of REM sleep that they get.

Basically, certain stages of sleep are thought to help form different types of memories. So, declarative memories (things like facts and knowledge) are enhanced by slow wave sleep (deep sleep), whereas implicit memories (long term memories that don’t require conscious thought, like riding a bike or tying a shoe) are enhanced by REM Sleep. Essentially, it’s thought that the better the sleep you get each night, the better your memory.

The New York Times breaks down the importance of sleep and memory pretty bluntly:

Some of the most insidious effects of too little sleep involve mental processes like learning, memory, judgment and problem-solving. During sleep, new learning and memory pathways become encoded in the brain, and adequate sleep is necessary for those pathways to work optimally. People who are well rested are better able to learn a task and more likely to remember what they learned. The cognitive decline that so often accompanies aging may in part result from chronically poor sleep.

Case in point, a good night’s rest really can improve your memory in the long term. The good news is that rebooting your sleep schedule isn’t that hard to do. If you stick with it, your memory should stay strong.

Try These Memorization Techniques

In the end, your memory probably isn’t as bad as you think. It just takes some regular maintenance and a little training to keep it in shape. You can’t magically just improve your memory by studying. If you’re the type who forgets your keys, you’ll probably always do so. That said, you can employ certain techniques to help you with memory retention, and perhaps more importantly, your initial perception. We’ve talked about this a lot in the past, so here are a few places to get started:

 

  • Train your brain like a USA Memory Champion: Our own Melanie Pinola went through the USA Memory Championship and shares her techniques, including several different memorization systems.
  • Improve your memory with the chunking technique: The chunking technique uses the pattern recognition we talked about in the first section to help you remember things. In the simplest terms, it’s like remembering a phone number using the letters on a phone’s dial pad instead of just the numbers.
  • Combine information with bizarre images: If you need to remember a certain set of details, it’s often easier for us to do so when we combine that information with something crazy. So, if you need to remember milk and bananas at the grocery store, remember a giant banana with a hatchet chasing after a cow that’s ready to burst with milk.
  • Use a mnemonic peg system: This one’s a bit complicated, but a peg system essentially lists items as a rhyme so it’s easier to remember. Once an item is pegged to the list, you can usually recall that information later.
  • Increase your powers of observation and perception: You’re only going to remember what you notice, so if you want to improve your memory skills one thing you need to do is pay more attention to what’s happening. Watch the world closely, form connections between what’s happening and what you know. Remember, according to research in The Journal of Neurosciece, the more we value a memory, the more likely it is to stick around. The more you see, the more accurate your memory will be.
  • Take a nap: We already mentioned that sleeping has a direct impact on your memory, but so does a quick nap. If you can sneak one in during the day, go for it. A solid nap is an effective tool for improving memory and learning ability. If a nap’s not possible, medidation has been shown to work as well.

Memory is weird, and it works in strange ways. It’s unreliable, but we still have to put our trust in it. Memory is hard to work with, but it’s still malleable and you can force memories into your brain. Science is still figuring out exactly what works best, but for now it seems like few things trump a good night’s rest and exercise.

 


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6 Things That Improve Your Memory

Posted by Casie Terry

What’s worse than not being able to remember something when it’s right on the tip of your tongue? It’s infuriating. And worse, it only happens more frequently as the years pass. But, luckily, there are certain foods, supplements and tricks that can help you sharpen your memory and keep it way. Here are six easy ways to start improving your memory now!

1. Coconut Oil: Researchers are growing more and more optimistic about the relationship between coconut oil and memory preservation. One prominent researcher, Dr. Mary Newport, discovered that coconut oil showed exceptional promise with regards to dementia and Alzheimer’s prevention, as the medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut oil fuel certain brain cells that have a difficult time utilizing carbohydrates, the brain’s main energy source. (Read more about coconut oil and it’s benefits for brain health)

2. DHA from Fish and Fish Oil: While the brain’s main energy source is glucose, it’s building blocks are primary comprised of fatty acids, more specifically, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA makes up 70% of myelin, the protective sheath that lines active, communicating neurons. Without an abundance of DHA available, brain cell communication stands to be significantly compromised, inhibiting recall and jeopardizing brain health.

5 Foods to Make You Happy (Hint: Omega-3s)

3. Crossword Puzzles and Brain Teasers: Crossword puzzles and brain teaser exercises keep parts of the brain active that may otherwise fall into a rut. The important thing is to become engaged in different types of puzzles as they each stimulate the brain differently, according to Ed Zimney, MD, Medical Director of HealthTalk Inc. He says, “Crossword puzzles challenge the language and memory areas [of the brain] while jigsaw puzzles provide exercise for the parietal lobes.” He urges, however, to find crossword puzzles from varying sources and editors as your brain is otherwise likely to become use to the style and receive fewer benefits.

4. B-vitamins: B vitamins provide a tremendous benefit to brain health. The B vitamin family is associated with healthy nerve maintenance and and the production of DNA. Studies have also indicated that B12 prevents brain shrinkage, making this vitamin and it’s benefits an area of interest for researchers as reduced brain size is commonly seen among those with dementia and Alzheimer’s. (Read more about brain health and vitamin B12)

5. Curcumin: Among my favorite of the brain and memory protecting substances, the curcumin spice was first discovered for his brain health benefits when epidemiological studies revealed that regions with a high consumption of curry had fewer reported cases of Alzheimer’s disease. It is theorized that the anti-inflammatory spice with powerful antioxidant properties inhibits the formation of amyloid plaque, a major cause of dementia. (Read more about curcumin and it’s potential for brain health)

6. Berries: The antioxidants in berries provide incredible cell protection throughout your entire body, but the antioxidant family known as anthocyanidins, found in fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, cherries and elderberries, have proven to provide powerful protection to brain cells. Unlike several other antioxidants, anthocyanidins have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, providing exceptional protection the brain cells.


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Tea: 6 Brilliant Effects on the Brain

The British are rightly famous for their tea drinking.
They–I should say ‘we’, as, yes, your humble author is a Brit–manage to down 165 million cups every day, and there are only 62 million of us.

Only the Irish drink more tea than us per person.
We all know about the effects of caffeine on the brain, but research has found two more ingredients of tea with important effects…

1. Green tea may help fight Alzheimer’s

Scientists have found that a natural component of green tea may eventually provide a way of curing Alzheimer’s disease (Rushworth et al., 2013).
Early-stage research has found that a component of green tea–epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)–can disrupt the build up of plaques in the brain, which is what causes the cells to die.
Eventually this may help lead to a cure for the crippling disease.

2. Old brains love tea

While we’ll have to wait for the Alzheimer’s research to progress, tea has been shown to have more immediate effects.
A study of 2,031 people aged between 70 and 74 found that those who drank tea–which contain micronutrient polyphenols, like EGCG–had better cognitive performance (Nurk et al., 2009).
Polyphenols are also contained in red wine, cocoa and coffee.

3. Improved cognition

You hardly need me to tell you that tea makes you feel alert, but it’s down to more than just the caffeine…
Tea also contains theanine, a psychoactive amino acid almost unique to tea.
Although we know much less about the effects of theanine than we do caffeine, there are multiple studies connecting it with enhanced cognitive performance (Einother & Martens, 2013).
How To Get Natural Energy

4. That famous calming effect

Not only is theanine responsible for improving cognition, it also provides the famous calming effect of tea.
When theanine is given to people, their brains exhibit more α-waves, which are indicative of relaxation without drowsiness (Juneja et al., 1999)

5. Tea boosts memory

Theanine, along with EGCG, has also been implicated in improvements to memory.
Korean research by Chung et al. (2011) has found that green tea extract and L-theanine can produce memory improvements in people suffering from mild cognitive impairments.
Mouse studies on EGCG suggest that it helps memory by increasing the production of new brain cells (Wang et al., 2012)

6. Better mental health

All the benefits of drinking tea mean it could be a factor in improved overall mental health.
Hozawa et al. (2009) tested this in a population study of 42,093 Japanese. This study found that drinking green tea was associated with less psychological distress.
The same positive effect of drinking tea has been found in 1,058 elderly Japanese people (Niu et al., 2009).
Theanine has even been tested in the treatment of schizophrenia with some success in reducing anxiety and other symptoms (Ritsner et al., 2011).

Tea for me

Of course tea is a relatively benign substance and most of the effects described here are small.
But when you add these potential benefits to its other pleasures, tea becomes just that little bit more enjoyable.
And, as Henry James said:
“…there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
I’ll raise a cup to that.
source: PsyBlog