Thursday, August 28, 2008

Keeping Your Brain Healthy While You Age: Five Tips to Help You

Author: Jamie Jefferson

Recent scientific discoveries have shown that the body is not
the only thing that ages as we grow old. Your brain can also
experience the effects of aging, especially if you don't take
steps to keep it healthy. The following five suggestions will
help you stay sharp.

1. Eating for Brain Health. Your brain relies on the foods that
you eat, as well as the rest that you get, in order to work
properly. It's important to eat a well-balanced diet. Eating
foods considered to be "brain healthy" will help keep your body
and your brain working at optimum levels. These foods include
vegetables, foods high in antioxidants (such as blueberries,
raisins, red bell peppers and eggplant), omega-3 fatty acids
(mostly found in cold water fish) and B vitamins.

Recent research has also indicated the importance of two other
brain nutrients: alpha-lipoic acid and acetyl l-carnitine. Talk
to your doctor about taking supplements of these nutrients to
help keep your brain young. Both of these supplements increase
the energy output of the mitochondria, a part of your cells that
produce the energy that runs your entire body. Over time,
mitochondria start to disintegrate and taking a supplement may
help to prevent or slow this process.

New research is coming out all the time on the effects of
various nutritional supplements on brain health, so stay alert
to new developments in this exciting branch of modern science.

2. Physical Exercise. Your brain also loves physical exercise.
Exercise brings more oxygen into your body, which is great for
your brain. Physical activity also helps by producing stress
proteins that encourage the regeneration of brain cells.

For best results, according to recent research, you need to be
mentally engaged with the exercise activity. If you consider
your exercise boring, and you mentally check out during the
activity, research suggests that you are not going to get the
same benefits as someone who is having fun and is fully engaged
during the exercise.

3. Mental Exercise. Your brain is a muscle and, in order to keep
it fit as you age, you need to continue to exercise it as much
as possible. The first way you can do this is through improving
and maintaining your reasoning skills. This can be done through
puzzles or challenging games, such as chess. Stretch your brain
by reading philosophy or engaging in friendly debating with some
friends. Another part of exercising your brain is improving your
verbal skills. Word of the Day calendars, crossword puzzles, and
games such as Scrabble can also help increase your vocabulary
and strengthen your brain.

4. Try something new. Expand your experience by taking up an
instrument or trying to learn a new language. Not only are these
hobbies fun, but they can also help to create new connections in
your brain. These new connections improve the overall strength
of your brain and allow you to learn and remember more over time.

5. R & R. Finally, your brain functions best when it has had
enough rest. Getting enough sleep is important to your mental
functioning and also in the storage of memories. When you have
good sleep habits, you'll be able to think more clearly and you
may even find that you start to remember more than you did

Thursday, March 27, 2008

4 Stress Relief Ideas You Can Use Right Now

Author: Caroline Selfe

Are you looking for stress relief ideas? Do you have about five minutes to spare in your busy day? There are many effective stress relief methods that only take minutes to do.
In our hustle and bustle world, we are caught between a rock anda hard place. Lack of time is causing us stress yet we don'thave the time to destress. Try these four techniques right now and you will feel instantly relaxed.

1) Deep Breathing - Tension and stress causes shallow breathing.Deep breathing not only destresses but also oxygenates the blood. Try this: Sit upright with your body relaxed. Inhale deeply through both nostrils filling your stomach and lungs.Then, exhale by pushing your stomach in to get the air out. Do this a few times and your tension will melt away. This is one of my favorite stress relief ideas. It is quick and very effective.If you don't have time to sit and do it, you can do it as you are walking about.

2) Stretching - Loosening tense muscles melts away stress quickly. Stretching relaxes tense muscles and sends a signal to your brain to relax. This exercise is great for the neck where most tension builds up. Do this: Sit up straight and breath deeply. Move your head slowly to the right until your ear touches your shoulder comfortably. Keep breathing deeply. Do the same to the left. Repeat a few times on each side. Then, bring your chin slowly toward your chest. Breathe deeply a few times and hold this position. Raise your head up to normal position.

3) Affirmations - Reciting an affirmation throughout your day will be relaxing as well as uplifting. Affirmations are simple positive statements. You can use "I am peaceful", "I am joyful","I am in harmony with all". What negative thoughts have you been experiencing lately? You can create an affirmation by taking a negative thought and transforming it into a positive statement.For example, if you have thoughts of lacking time, your affirmation could be, "I have plenty of time to do all that Ineed to do."

4) Positive Feelings - Focusing on positive feelings sounds hard to do if you are in the midst of a stressful situation. If the positive feelings already exist, it is easy. Let's say you have an argument with your boss. You are angry and tense. To calm yourself, think of someone you love. Think of a time when you were proud of yourself. Hold the feeling of love or pride in your heart. Holding the positive feelings that you already own in your heart is transforming. Holding onto the stress and anger from the argument will only be detrimental to you, not your boss.

These stress relief ideas can be used anywhere you are sitting. You can use them at your desk, while you are stuck in traffic,waiting for your doctor's appointment, on the bus or train or on your lunch break. With practice, you can even do them while you are walking about. Either way, they really pack a punch against stress.

Mental Health

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Different Types of B Vitamins

Author: Nicholas Tan
There are a large number of B vitamins that are needed to keep all of the body functions performing properly. All of the B vitamins are essential for a number of different processes.Without sufficient B vitamins the blood supply would not be healthy and this leads to a variety of illnesses and diseases.The brain needs B vitamins to function correctly and the heart also needs B vitamins to stay healthy and prevent heart disease and food is broken down into the various nutrients by B vitamins. In fact, just about every organ and process within the body requires at least one form of the B vitamin.

Thiamin, or B1, is the B vitamin that the body needs to keep all of its cells, especially the nerves, functioning correctly. It is especially important for memory and general mental health and is one of the B vitamins that is required to convert food into energy.

Riboflavin, or B2, is the B vitamin that is essential for releasing the energy from food that has been consumed. Without this B vitamin the body cannot grow or develop properly as red blood cells will not be as healthy as they should be.

Niacin, or B3, is the B vitamin that is involved in over fifty processes, ranging from detoxifying chemicals to making hormones and releasing energy from food.

Pantothenic acid, or B5,works with several other B vitamins fora number of essential processes including breaking down fats,proteins, and carbohydrates into energy and is also the Bvitamin that is needed to form vitamin D, a variety of hormones,and red blood cells.

Pyridoxine, or B6, is the B vitamin that is largely responsible for redistributing the amino acids to create over five thousand proteins that are needed by the body and is also one of the B vitamins needed to form various enzymes.

Biotin, or B7, is one of the B vitamins that are involved in a number of processes within the body, including the breaking down of fats, carbohydrates and proteins into usable energy forms.
Folic acid, or B9, is the essential B vitamin for aiding in cellgrowth and division, especially during pregnancy. This B vitaminis also necessary to make natural chemicals which control the appetite, moods and quality of sleep. It is also the best B vitamin for helping lower the chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke by keeping the arteries open.

Cobalamin, or B12, is one of the B vitamins that is important in the process of converting the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into energy. This B vitamin is also vital in forming the protective covering of nerve cells and to keep red blood cells healthy, and help prevent heart disease.