Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Can Green Tea Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

Green tea is touted as an amazing superfood replete with many healing benefits, from its anti-cancer properties to its heart health boosting compounds. So it is no surprise that green tea has been linked with the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. But new research found that it may offer more protection than originally believed.

Green tea is high in antioxidants that fight off harmful free radicals. By some estimates the antioxidants found in green tea may be 20 times more potent than vitamin E, which is a proven brain health booster. But new research shows that green tea is even better than just its amazing antioxidants.

According to a new study by scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society found that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) has yet another health benefit—it stops beta amyloid plaques linked to Alzheimer’s from forming. Beta amyloid plaques have long been known as causal factors in Alzheimer’s but finding ways to stop the harmful plaques from forming has been the task of many researchers. Beta amyloid plaques disrupt communication between brain and nerve cells, creating the memory loss and dementia, which are the trademark signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

This new research found that EGCG in green tea effectively prevented plaques from being able to damage healthy cells. While the exact mechanism by which EGCG achieves this protection is not fully clear, the discovery is an exciting one into brain health and Alzheimer’s disease.

This ground-breaking research offers hope to the 50 million people worldwide who already suffer from Alzheimer’s disease since EGCG may slow the plaque’s progression and therefore the disease’s progression as well. It may also help anyone looking to prevent the disease, which is probably most people.

This research supports earlier research in the medical journal Brain Research that also found that green tea consumption can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Other research in the American Journal of Medicine found that regular tea consumption can cut the risk of cognitive decline in half, which is impressive by anyone’s standards.

While the research is still quite early so it is not clear exactly how much green tea or its protective compound EGCG is needed to reap the brain protective effects, most experts agree that a few cups of green tea daily should be helpful with brain health. Earlier research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who drank two or more cups of tea each day were less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. The benefits were not linked to tea’s caffeine content which is lower than the caffeine found in coffee.

To make green tea: add one or two teaspoons of green tea leaves to a cup of boiled water, preferably in a tea strainer. Let steep for five minutes. Pour over ice if you prefer a cold beverage.  And don’t worry—it contains a lot less caffeine than coffee or black tea. Green tea contains about 55 mg of caffeine per cup while coffee typically contains between 125 and 200 mg per cup.

If you’re not a big fan of the taste of green tea, try it blended with other types of tea, such as ginger or lemongrass. You can also try icing it with some stevia to sweeten the beverage and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a delicious green tea lemonade.

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds:  The 4-Week Plan for a Sharper Mind, Better Memory, and Healthier Brain.

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook          November 9, 2017
About Michelle    Follow Michelle at @mschoffrocook
 
source: www.care2.com
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Fun Fact Friday

  • Psychology says, when we’re constantly wishing for something, we overlook everything we already have.

  • The mushrooms in Mario games are based on a real species called ‘Amanita Muscaria’ that when eaten, make people feel like they’re growing.

 

  • Straightening out the physical aspects of your life can also bring clarity to the mental one.

  • Drinking white or green tea every day will minimize the environmental damage done to your skin, and minimize fine lines and wrinkles.

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


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4 Foods That Can Improve Your Metabolism

A magic bullet solution does not exist, but there are some things that can encourage your body to burn a few extra calories.

Don’t listen to the Internet. There’s no such thing as a miracle calorie-burning food that will allow you to vegetate on the couch while melting off the pounds. If there were, gyms would go out of business instantly. According to registered dietitian Ellie Krieger, however, there are a few things that can help one’s metabolism work more efficiently, though this should not be considered a replacement for hard sweaty work.

In an article for the Washington Post, Krieger sifted through the “overhyped, over-extrapolated half-truths” that dominate millions of articles and podcasts to identify those items that might actually have metabolic value. She ended up with four – green tea, cayenne pepper, protein, and whole grains – but benefiting from them isn’t as simple as chowing down.

Green tea gets a lot of well-deserved attention, for it contains polyphenols (specifically, one called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG) and caffeine that increase the calories and fat your body burns. Studies show that a minimum of 250 milligrams of EGCG must be consumed in order for it to work. This translates to three cups daily of the highest-quality green tea, which isn’t too difficult for tea-lovers. Just be sure to buy the good stuff.

Cayenne pepper is a tough one because studies recommend consuming 10 grams a day; this works out to nearly 2 tablespoons. As anyone who’s eaten cayenne pepper knows, it’s nearly impossible to ingest that much, even if it’s spread out over three meals. But a small amount can help a bit, too:

“A 2011 Purdue University study looked at more palatable quantities of cayenne and found that even about half a teaspoon in one meal worked to increase energy expenditure, but only by 10 calories, which, incidentally, is the number of calories in one peanut.”

Protein is notable for automatically burning 20 to 30 percent of its own calories through the process of digestion. Krieger compares this to fat (0 to 3 percent) and carbohydrates (5 to 10 percent), though these are still crucial components of a well-rounded diet and should not be neglected in favor of excess protein.

Whole grains are similar to protein in that their digestion burns more calories than when you eat refined carbohydrates. Plus, you get the added benefit of fiber, which is sadly lacking in the typical American diet and is desperately needed for healthy guts.

Katherine Martinko     @feistyredhair       Living / Health       May 24, 2017


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Can Green Tea Boost Your Brainpower and Treat Disease?

The images that come to mind when thinking of green tea are likely associated with calmness, purity and relaxation.

The ancient beverage has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine as a means to relieve people from various ailments, but more recently the tea – and its extracts – have caught the attention of scientists. Teams across the world have been trialling green tea extracts and specific compounds within them for their potential to lower the risk of various conditions: cancer, blood pressure, cholesterol and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Evidence for these benefits is limited, however, and often inconclusive, but recent studies have found that one particular compound inside green tea, known as EGCG, could improve the functioning of one particular part of the body: the brain.

Boosting brain power

“Many people consume green tea extracts in some form, so we were interested in the effects [on the brain],” said Stefan Borgwadt, Professor of Neuropsychiatry at the University of Basel.

In 2014 study, Borgwadt’s team gave green tea extracts to 12 healthy volunteers and imaged their brains to see changes in connectivity inside certain brain regions. The volunteers were given beverages containing extracts equivalent to one or two cups of green tea. They consumed them nasally to ensure their tongues couldn’t taste whether the drink contained the extracts.

After four weekly doses of the drink, the team saw increased connectivity in regions of the brain associated with working memory.

“Drinking green tea improved memory in healthy people,” said Borgwadt who stresses the small scale of the study and the associated limitations of their findings, but the team saw promise in the results.
“As it is a more natural kind of medication, [people] are more likely to change it,” he said. “It could be helpful for diseases.”

Since this research, interest in the cognitive benefits of green tea has grown and focused on the potential to improve symptoms of certain neurological, or psychiatric, disorders.

“There can be plasticity changes in the brain,” said Mara Dierssen, Group Leader of the Systems Biology Group at the CRG-Center for Genomic Regulation in Spain. These changes can be used to target diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but Dierssen has long been searching for ways to treat one particular condition – Down syndrome.
“[People think] there is no hope and that people with Down syndrome cannot be treated due to its complexity,” said Dierssen.

But she has set out to prove them wrong.

Green Tea

Taking on Down syndrome

Down syndrome is a genetic condition caused by people having an extra copy of chromosome 21 and is estimated to occur in 3000 to 5000 children born globally each year.

The presence of the extra chromosome means people with the condition have more genes being expressed in their cells – and more proteins being produced – resulting in a range of physical and intellectual disabilities. These include decreased muscle tone, a flat face, slanted eyes and a range of potential learning disabilities.

“A number of genes are overexpressed and there is no way of tackling this overdose of genes,” said Dierssen. Her team set out to find out any genes that contribute more greatly to the disease itself and found one key player, called DYRK1A.
“This gene causes a lot of the neurological and [physical] symptoms of Down Syndrome,” she said.
By controlling the activity of this gene, and the proteins it expresses, the team could reduce some of the cognitive symptoms of the condition and the contender to have this control came in the form of the EGCG compound found commonly in green tea.

The tea potential

In a recent study, Dierssen’s team analyzed the potential for EGCG to improve symptoms of Down Syndrome in 87 people with the condition, with half receiving 12 months of pills containing the compound and the other half given a placebo. All participants received cognitive training as well.

Those given EGCG performed better in tests for visual memory, the ability to control responses and the ability to plan or make calculations. Brain scans revealed improvements in connectivity between nerve cells and improvements were also seen in areas of the brain relating to language.

“This shows we can really target Down syndrome pharmacologically,” said Dierrsen. For some patients, the effects lasted an additional six months after the study ended.
“This [study] confirms that you can give these extracts to have beneficial effects,” said Borgwadt. “We need to know if these affects are specific for Down syndrome or if it is a more general effect on brain diseases.”

Dierssen stresses this is not a cure for the condition as all of the neurological changes caused by the condition cannot be overcome. “What we see is that we can improve functionality,” she said.

Borgwadt added it would be far too optimistic to expect this to become a treatment for the disease as the size of the effect is unclear and patients with the condition experience a range of symptoms. “You see effects, but are they fully relevant to the patient?,” asked Borgwadt.

The team also saw a difference between genders, which they will provide greater insight into in their next paper, but for their discovery to have true effect, the team must next trial the green tea compound in greater numbers of people.

“Let’s hope that the promise of this early experimental study is confirmed in larger-scale trials,” said Professor David Nutt, Head of the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London in a comment. “Others follow[ing] this approach as therapy targeting a number of the biochemical abnormalities that result from trisomy 21 might be the most effective way forward.”

Experts are also quick to highlight that simply drinking green tea will not help.

“We cannot recommend that people self-medicate with green tea because different varieties contain different levels of the key compound,” said Dr Marie-Claude Potier, Researcher on Down Syndrome and Neurodegenerative Diseases, Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle.” It’s also vital that we see the results of a toxicity study with these nutraceuticals before going further.”

They next plan to also test the compound in children where there could be greater effect as the brain is more adaptable at younger ages. “We hope there will be more improvement in children,” said Dierrsen.

The findings have also inspired experts like Borgwadt who are curious about any benefits against other neurological diseases.

“One could argue there is a more general affect of neuroprotection in the brain, so it could help other psychiatric diseases,” he said.

By Meera Senthilingam, for CNN     Mon June 20, 2016
source: www.cnn.com


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7 Ways to Combat the Worst Spring Allergy Season Yet

By: Diana Vilibert     March 2, 2016     Follow Diana at @dianavilibert

If you’re one of the 50 million North Americans who suffer from spring allergies, you may find yourself suffering a bit more this year. The amount of pollen in the air each spring has been getting worse in recent years due to climate change, and this year may bring the worst pollen season yet, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Luckily, you don’t have to resign yourself to living in a bubble for the next few months. Start addressing your allergies now with these tips:

Start your medication now. If you use an allergy medication, don’t wait until you’ve become one with a box of tissues to address your symptoms. “Although people think spring starts in April or May, spring allergy symptoms begin earlier, so start taking your prescription allergy medications two to three weeks before your symptoms normally appear,” the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology advises.

Leave house cleaning duty to someone else. Keeping your home clear of allergens requires cleaning…but cleaning actually releases a lot of the dust and allergens that have settled all over your home. When drawing up the chore chart, make sure the family member who doesn’t suffer from allergies is the one doing the dusting, sweeping and vacuuming. If you have to do it, wear a dust mask.

allergies

Don’t re-wear clothes. Make room in your schedule for extra laundry days—the clothes you wear outdoors bring home a ton of allergens during heavy pollen season. An investigation published in the journal Grana found that a single large T-shirt trapped seven million pollen grains in one day. “The high numbers of pollen and airborne particles trapped on fabrics may act as a primary source for indoor allergens particularly public indoor areas, e.g. the work environment where large numbers of people come in from the outdoors wearing the same clothes throughout the day,” the researchers write. “For severe allergy sufferers a frequent changing or washing of clothes will reduce the number of allergens on clothing. We found that washing the fabrics with water and a foaming wetting agent removed 99.9% of the pollen in the first washing.”

Shower at night—and don’t forget your hair. It’s not just your clothes and shoes that track in allergens—it’s your skin and hair, too. Make sure you aren’t bringing them to bed with you by showering before going to sleep…and lather up your locks while you’re at it. Products like gels and pastes may keep your ‘do perfect, but they’re also pollen magnets.

Drink more green tea. Though the effect wasn’t proven in humans yet, lab tests led by researchers in Japan found that EGCG, a compound in green tea, blocks a cell receptor involved in triggering and sustaining an allergic response. Those suffering from severe allergies probably won’t want to drop their allergy medication in favor of a hot cup just yet, but Hirofumi Tachibana, the study’s chief investigator, does say that “Green tea appears to be a promising source for effective anti-allergenic agents.”

And less alcohol. Sorry, the glass of wine won’t help you cope with your sniffles—it may make them worse. One study of almost six thousand women found that having more than two glasses of wine a day double the risk of allergy symptoms…even among those women who didn’t have allergies when the study started. The fermentation process produces histamine, the chemical that triggers allergy symptoms—and you may want to stay away from wine in particular, which contains sulfites—another trigger.

Load up on omega-3 fatty acids. Fish for dinner won’t cure you of your allergy symptoms, but it can help support a healthy immune system, decrease inflammation and reduce your susceptibility to allergies, according to research. An intake of two grams of EPA and DHA, two fatty acids found in oily fish and fish oil supplements is recommended to get the benefits—salmon, sardines, flaxseeds and walnuts are all good sources to get you started.


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10 Ways You Can Increase Dopamine Levels In The Brain Without Medication

January 20, 2016 by Stephan Gardner

“Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional response, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.” – Psychology Today

There are a lot of articles on the internet about dopamine and how it affects your mood, behavior, energy, and focus. What’s not commonly spoken about, however, is how dopamine is affected by your perception. Discussed more rarely still is the reason why your dopamine levels may be low. Below are 10 ways to increase your dopamine levels, courtesy of Power of Positivity, as well as my own observations regarding the underlying issues which may have led to each situation, and how to tackle them.

1. Don’t Get Addicted

“Many people get addicted to something because it gives them some kind of instant gratification – drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, shopping, and other addictive behaviors actually have the opposite effect on dopamine levels in the long-term. In essence, when we get overly addicted to something, the ‘reward circuitry’ of our brain kicks into overdrive and we crave the ‘quick hit.’ This is not a sustainable solution for dopamine production, which can and should be done naturally.”

What’s missing here is the fact that addiction is quite often a result of low dopamine, meaning addiction is more of an attempt to fix an already existing problem. In essence, “the underpinning of your addictive personality is a lack of fulfillment from within, with a resulting urge to achieve fulfillment through substances, objects, or events that relieve the inevitable pain – for a while.” (source)

“When we receive a reward of any kind, dopamine is released in our brains. Over time, this stimulus and release of dopamine can lead to learning. Researchers have recently found that how quickly and permanently we learn things relates directly to how much dopamine we have available in our brains. As we get rewarded over and over again for something, we learn that we should keep doing whatever that is very deeply, and it’s hard to unlearn those kinds of behaviours.” (source)

What this means is that low-dopamine is a response to a lifestyle which doesn’t offer much in terms of reward to the person living it. It may be a response to the environment you’re living in, the clothes you’re wearing, the tight budget you’re working within, the relationship choices you’ve made or have been made for you, or a result of trauma where there was no perceived reward. It’s very easy to understand how dopamine levels may appear low when we consider all the potentials leading to less-rewarding lifestyles and life-experiences.

What’s necessary then is less of a ‘don’t get addicted’ approach and more of an ‘increase the rewards in your life’ style of applied advice. Fact is, you’ll constantly feel less fulfilled through low dopamine when you’re not (or are unable to) fill your day with things that inspire and reward you. Meaning, the most effective protection against addiction and greatest advantage to high-dopamine levels is a defense against low-rewarding activities and an offence working towards rewarding actions, activities, and ultimately, a lifestyle of fulfillment and achievement.

Also, because addiction is most often rooted in past traumatic experiences, where emotions create a fight or flight response that becomes rooted in your core emotions, it’s vitally important to seek proper and effective help in dissolving past trauma. Doing so can only help you perceive more rewarding experiences in your life, rather than filtering experiences through a ‘traumatized’ awareness.

2. Checklist Small Tasks

“Dopamine increases when we are organized and finish tasks – regardless if the task is small or large. So, don’t allow your brain to worry about things that need to be done. Instead, write these tasks down and then check them off one at a time. It’s been shown that it’s more satisfying to the brain’s dopamine levels when we physically check something off of our to-do list. Also, write down and check stuff off regardless if you can mentally remember the tasks.”

In reading the book Principles of Self-Management, I came across a brilliantly well-researched understanding of motivation when it comes to tasks. In short, if a task is greater than 25% of a change in a person’s routine, the person will be overwhelmed with feeling incapable of achieving it. This leads them to self-defeat and self-sabotage to avoid accomplishing the task. On the other side, if a task is less than 10% different than a person’s normal routine, they don’t do it because it won’t have enough meaning for them to do so. As such, it’s wise to make sure you write down goals and tasks that are in between this 10% to 25% range of new behaviors and actions, otherwise, you just won’t do it.

However, this 10-25% range is simply a guide for tasks that are not directly linked to our highest values. In reality, if you can link a task to your highest values and see clearly how it will help you accomplish what’s truly most important to you, you’ll do it. If you can’t see how it will help fulfill your highest values, you’ll procrastinate, hesitate, and get frustrated in the attempt to do it. By linking a task to your highest values, you’ll both increase the chances of you doing it and also increase the reward you will feel when you accomplish it, a result of producing more dopamine in the brain.

3. Create Something

“For us writers, painters, sculptors, poets, singers, dancers, and other artists, we can identify with this. When we’re in creative mode, we can become hyper-focused. As a result, we can enter a state called flow. Dopamine is the brain chemical that allows us to achieve this state. The lesson is this: take up a hobby or activity in which you actually create something tangible. Try something like arts, crafts, auto repair, drawing, photography, or something else that sounds interesting.”

Sparking your creative drive is an effective way to increase your potential for feeling great, achieving goals and inspiring yourself through your accomplishments. However, it can also be a distraction from a feel-bad lifestyle, if it’s not maintained with a purpose in mind. Whenever you’re working on a project, creative or not, that truly inspires you, you’ll activate your ‘flow state,’ where time and space seem to stand still. So how to you determine what it is that truly inspires you?

The most important goal in revealing your most authentic creative energy is to remove the creative energies of other people from your life. So many of us look up to the creations of others, whether works of art or music, and their works or talents take up time and space in our own minds. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it can influence your own beliefs about what you can create. If you compare yourself to others and minimize yourself, you’ll repress your own creative ability. This can affect your dopamine levels, because if you can’t see your own creations as rewarding to you, as much as someone else’s, you’ll feel inferior and incapable.

One very effective way of neutralizing the influence other people have on your mind is to literally look at the negatives or downsides of their accomplishment. This isn’t to practice being a critic, but it can enable you to de-infatuate with their creative powers, helping you to stop minimizing your own. Once you recognize that your creative endeavors can exist on the level of those you admire, through practice (just like they did), you’ll increase your ability to see your own creations as meaningful and rewarding.

happy-chemicals-dopamine-serotonin-endorphin-oxytocin

 4. Exercise

“Same ‘ole, same ‘ole, we know. We’ve discussed repeatedly the importance and benefits of physical exercise, and we’re just going to add to this list again. So, not only does exercise help us relieve stress, achieve better physical health and make us more productive; it boosts our dopamine levels. More specifically, exercise increases multiple neurotransmitters – serotonin and endorphins, besides dopamine, receive a boost. Here’s something else cool: the exercise needn’t not be arduous. Simply taking a stroll or climbing some stairs will achieve a good dopamine jolt.”

Exercise is important, but it can also become a crutch or an addiction if it’s not something being integrated into your daily life. Many people go to the gym to work out, yet don’t live a life that requires the body they’re building. Another thing is actually placing a value on exercise itself. Many people buy the gym memberships, yet never use them. So what’s the easiest way to make exercise a part of your life?

There’s a branch of exercise called ‘functional training’ in which exercises are tailored to help you with your daily tasks. This is much more helpful than just ‘workouts,’ because if you can train your body into a state where your daily tasks are not taxing on your energy, you’ll breeze through the day and have more energy at the end of it. Staying in a high energy state instead of being brought down by your daily tasks will help you be more inspired during your day and innately feel more inspired to exercise.

5. Get a Streak Going

“As with creating a checklist, getting a streak going is a great way to increase dopamine levels. For the purpose of this article, a streak is a visual reminder of how many days in a row you’ve achieved something.

Get a calendar specifically for this purpose: write down whatever goal you have and the days of the week or month when they are scheduled. For example, if you work out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, mark these days on the calendar for the month. As you finish a workout, mark it off on the calendar. Keep a streak going, and you’ll keep the dopamine coming.”

While the ‘streak’ is a useful tool for celebrating accomplishments, it unfortunately has a downside—routine. Doing something enough times becomes a routine, especially if the action isn’t continuously fulfilling to your highest values. To counter this, try adapting the ‘goal’ or ‘action’ in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. By continuously finding ways to improve the performance of the behavior, over time, you can look back at how many times you’ve done it, but also how much better you’ve become at it. This way, your performance becomes a competition with yourself, which increases your potential for feeling rewarded as you master a skill.

6. Increase Tyrosine

“Of the chemicals that make up dopamine, none are more important than tyrosine. In fact, tyrosine is considered the building block of dopamine. Therefore, it is important that you get enough of this protein. There’s a large list of foods that increase Tyrosine, including: Almonds, Avocados, Bananas, Beef, Chicken, Chocolate, Coffee, Eggs, Green Tea, Watermelon, Yogurt.”

Food is a reward, not a chore. This is the difference between living to eat and eating to live. While it’s important to utilize foods to your advantage, it’s just as important to recognize that the brain is its own best pharmacy. Few foods actually make it past the blood-brain barrier and this actually includes Tyrosine.

“Tyrosine is one of the 22 key amino acids that are used for building proteins around the body. In addition to this, however, it also raises the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, namely dopamine and norepinephrine. These are famous for being ‘feel good’ chemicals that can help boost mood and elevate concentration, making tyrosine a popular nootropic. However, tyrosine is completely incapable of passing the BBB. This way, no matter how much of it you were to take, you’d feel almost no effects.” (source)

The truth is, tyrosine must be bonded with another molecule to make it past the blood-brain barrier, so tyrosine in itself isn’t capable of making significant impacts on the brain. However, through natural digestion and regulating healthy bodily function, it can assist the brain in having to work less on fixing an unhealthy system, which in turn can help increase the potential for dopamine and dopamine related good feelings.

7. Listen to Music

“Do you ever wonder why music makes you happy? I mean, we can be in the dumps one moment but once we put on our favorite jam, we’re swaying and shaking away…feeling pretty good about ourselves too! The reason for this is that listening to music increases dopamine levels. In fact, scientists say that listening to music has the same effect as eating our favorite foods or watching our favorite T.V. show. So, when you’re feeling down, throw on some of your favorite tunes and jam out!”

Listening to music can increase dopamine levels temporarily, but what we’re really looking for is a lasting fulfillment feeling so you can make your daily life enjoyable and productive for your goals. Also, popular music these days is often manufactured in such a way as to prey on your brain’s chemical dependency, making much of music a form of substance addiction.

However, music has been a part of human history since as far as we can see, so its influence on our brain is greatly appreciated. In fact, one of the greatest cultural appreciations throughout history has been music. So, listen to music, but just make sure it’s not the only source of dopamine in your life.

 8. Meditate

“As with exercise, we are discovering more and more benefits to meditation. We are again adding to the list. As we discussed, the human brain is susceptible to a variety of addictions. One other addictive habit that we have is overthinking. In fact, some Buddhists have a phrase for this addiction: ‘monkey mind.’

Overthinking is not merely a distracting habit, it’s also a genuine compulsion that leaves us in a perplexing state, while also having a negative effect on our spiritual development. However, scientists are finally catching up to what Buddhists have known for thousands of years: meditation and mindfulness are essential to a healthy mind.”

Meditation can be a highly effective form of dopamine increase if done properly, as it can weed out the mental influences which may be causing your chemistry to be less than desired. With the intent of reaching a state of self-fulfillment, meditation clears out the mental clutter and replaces it with presence and fulfillment for just being alive. This is a state available to every human and can help assist our daily lives by increasing our awareness of what feels good for us and what we don’t resonate with.

9. Take Supplements

“While there are some great ways to increase dopamine levels, sometimes we’re facing a time crunch. Fortunately, there are natural supplements on the market that have been shown to increase dopamine levels. Here are a few:

  • Acetyl-l-tyrosine: Another building block of dopamine. A healthy dose of this makes it easier for the brain to produce dopamine.
  • Curcumin: An active ingredient that’s also common in curry spices and turmeric.
  • Ginkgo Biloba: A tremendously popular wonder supplement that’s also believed to boost dopamine levels and keep it circulating in the brain longer.
  • L-theanine: Increases multiple neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine. Green tea is a terrific source for this.” (source)

While supplements can impact our dopamine response, they should by no means replace your own inner potential for fulfillment. That responsibility lies with you and you alone. However, with respect to inner wisdom, without knowing what feeling amazing actually feels like, it’s difficult to strive for it as a goal. Supplements can help us get there so we can have a reference point for what our potential can be. The trick is to facilitate change in our lives, enough so that the need for supplementation to feel good is lower than the feel goods we actually experience in our life.

10. Toxic Cleansing

“As miraculous as our bodies are, we do accumulate toxins and bacteria that is bad for us. Endotoxins are the kind that can cause our immune systems to get out of whack, and it also constrains the production of dopamine. Here are a couple tips for helping cleanse the gut of endotoxins: eat fermented food, get enough sleep, and resist the urge to indulge in fatty or sugary foods.”

Whenever you’re not fulfilled in your life, you run the risk of over-indulging in sugary and sweet foods in an attempt to temporarily fulfill yourself. However, if you find fulfillment through the challenge and support of your day, you’re more likely to eat for the tasks you’re doing instead of eating just to feel good.

How you eat and how fulfilled you are, are directly correlated. If you’re actively enjoying the challenges of your life, you’re more likely to consume foods that serve your highest interests and health, because you see a reason to eat well. Controlling how you eat is less important than finding fulfillment in what you do.

So the next time you find yourself craving that candy bar, ask yourself if there isn’t something else you could eat that could help you find fulfillment. Also, notice what you are doing at the time you’re craving sugar and ask yourself if it’s really something you need to do, or can you delegate it to someone else so you can get back to things that inspire you. By focusing on what inspires and fulfills you, you’ll find yourself actively seeking to better your health without having to really focus on it.


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7 Nutrients To Help Protect Your Brain From Aging

Flavanols, Fish, Nuts, And Blueberries May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s

Apr 21, 2015      By Lecia Bushak

Eating certain nutrients, like cocoa flavonals and magnesium, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, help boost your cognitive function and brainpower.

While genetics and exercise play a large role in your brain health and risk of developing dementia, diet is quite influential, too. There is no magical elixir that can cure or completely prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but scientists have been able to pinpoint certain nutrients that are associated with improved cognitive function or memory. Keeping your diet full of the foods that contain them, then, can help you protect your brain.

Cocoa Flavanols

Cocoa flavanols are found naturally in cocoa and can be beneficial to your brain health; they make dark chocolate healthier than regular chocolate, which has been washed out with milk and sugar. A 2014 study examined the impact of eating a high cocoa flavanol diet over the course of three months. The researchers focused primarily on the dentate gyrus (DG), a part of the hippocampal formation in the brain that, when it declines, is often associated with aging. Scientists believe this part of the brain is linked to memory loss. After eating a lot of cocoa flavanols, the researchers report that the participants experienced “enhanced DG function.”

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, mackerel, and tuna, are going to not only help your heart health, but they’ll also give you a boost in brainpower. According to a 2014 study, mice that were given supplements of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid showed improved cognitive function while they aged — showing better object recognition memory, spatial and localized memory, and aversive response retention.

nuts

Nuts

Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids like fish, so adding nuts to your diet in addition to fish will provide you with solid amounts. Walnuts, in particular, have been shown to fight memory loss. In one recent large-scale analysis, researchers found that a diet supplemented with walnuts — which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, folate, antioxidants, and melatonin — improved adults’ performances on a series of six cognitive tests.

Magnesium

Scientists believe that a magnesium deficiency may play a role in cognitive decline, brain aging, and ultimately, dementia. So taking magnesium supplements — or eating foods that contain magnesium, like chard, spinach, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, almonds, black beans, avocados, figs, dark chocolate, or bananas — can help you fight off the effects of the aging brain.

Blueberries

Blueberries are delicious, but they also help in boosting your memory. According to a 2010 study, blueberries were shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. They also contain anthocyanins, compounds that are associated with increased neuronal signaling in the brain’s memory areas. In the study, researchers found that participants who drank wild blueberry juice on a daily basis had improvements in paired associate learning and word list recall; they also found lower depressive symptoms and glucose levels.

Cruciferous Vegetables

According to the National Institute on Aging, eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help stave off cognitive decline as well as other chronic diseases, like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Green, leafy, cruciferous vegetables in particular (like broccoli and spinach) have been shown to reduce the rate of cognitive decline. The Mediterranean diet, in particular (vegetables, legumes, fruits, cereals, fish, olive oil, mild amounts of alcohol — as well as low consumption of saturated fats, dairy, meat, and poultry) has shown in studies to be beneficial for cognitive health compared to more “Western” diets that are high in fats, carbs, and meat.

Green Tea

Green tea is good for a lot of things — but it’s also going to help you protect your brain. In a recent study completed at the University of Basel, researchers found that green tea extract enhances your thinking process and working memory. Participants scored higher for working memory tasks after they received the green tea extract, and an MRI showed a boost in connectivity between the parietal and frontal cortex of the brain, meaning that green tea “might increase the short-term synaptic plasticity of the brain,”  said Professor Stefan Borgwardt, an author of the study.