by Sabrina Stierwalt, PhD: Popular media is full of suggestions on how to improve our brain health and cognition. But can we really boost our intelligence? The ‘selfish brain’ theory of evolution describes our brains as taking the energy it needs, typically in the form of glucose, before doling out what remains to the rest of the body. In other words, the brain selfishly prioritizes its own needs which are comparably high. A recent study from the University of Cambridge put this theory to the test by challenging elite rowers to perform a memory task and a physical rowing task, first separately and then at the same time. Performance in both the memory-related and the physical tasks decreased when the students attempted to accomplish them simultaneously, but their rowing suffered far more than their ability to recall words for the memory task. On average, the participants showed a 30% greater drop in their physical strength than in their cognitive abilities , suggesting the brain does in fact take what it needs first when resources become scarce. Although the selfish brain theory has been proposed as a possible origin for physical issues like obesity, it may also push back against the idea that we are stuck with an innate level of intelligence. If we can count on our brains to demand our body’s limited resources, can we also count on them to continue to improve even once we’re done growing in adulthood? A common brain myth is that we only use 10% of our brain . I have certainly heard this statistic and a study from only a few years ago showed that as many as 65% of Americans believe it to be true. However, neurologists at the Mayo Clinic note that throughout the course of the day, we use […]
Herbs and spices have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal properties and healing powers. Chinese medicine relies heavily on natural ingredients for health and vitality—with good reason. Herbs and spices are commonly used to add flavor to food, but many people don’t realize that adding these tiny touches of flavor also boosts the nutritional value of your favorite dishes. Certain herbs and spices have been researched and proven effective in their inflammation-reducing, cancer-preventing, immune-boosting, and anti-aging properties. These ten little powerhouses of healthy goodness may already be sitting in your pantry or your fridge, so start spicing up your food for better health! 1. Turmeric Turmeric contains a powerful compound called curcumin, which has incredible anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive properties, according to studies. It has shown positive results in improving symptoms of several types of chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological, and autoimmune diseases. (1) Curcumin is so effective that it is even sold as capsules for supplementation. Thousands of studies were conducted to determine the health benefits of curcumin with the same results— curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. It reduces oxidative stress and fights cancer. (2) 2. Oregano Oregano is a popular herb used in Mediterranean and Italian cuisine. In the US, it is primarily used as pizza seasoning in its dried form. Oregano is full of important nutrients , including vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Even though it’s packed with vitamins, oregano’s potency can be attributed to its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Oregano possesses two antimicrobial phytochemicals called carvacrol and thymol . Oregano essential oil has been researched extensively for its antimicrobial effects and is proven effective against many kinds of bacteria, including E. coli , S. aureus , […]
( Natural News ) The majority of people are living in a food desert, with very little unpolluted and nourishing food on the horizon. Sure, there is the odd oasis where you can pick up some fresh, organic, and nutrient dense food, but for many people these spots are far and few in between. Fortunately, organic food delivery services, food growing systems , and online shopping has allowed people to access food they normally would never get (or even see), which has dramatically changed the landscape for those wanting to live a true healthy lifestyle anchored in nutrition. Now, if you want to accelerate your well-being by flooding your body with some of the most powerful foods on the planet, this is an excellent list to start with that will help shape your health goals in a fraction of the time it takes most people. As someone who used many of these foods to create my one-in-a-million health story , I’m well aware of how well they work when sourced appropriately. Now, let’s dig in and see how ten of the most powerful foods on the planet can change your life, for good! Chlorella A single-celled green algae, chlorella has quickly become one of the most powerful foods that have been cultivated on the planet. It’s rich in highly digestible protein (58 percent of weight), chlorophyll, iron, zinc, vitamin A, C, E, and K, beta carotene, lutein, polysaccharides, and essential fatty acids including gamma linolenic acid (GLA). It also contains the entire vitamin B-complex, is one of the few whole food sources of vitamin D, and contains magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium. Sponsored solution from CWC Labs: This heavy metals test kit allows you to test almost anything for 20+ heavy metals and nutritive minerals, including lead, mercury, arsenic, […]
Brain-gut connection determines how we respond to stressful situations… junk food makes for a junk mind
( Natural News ) “You are what you eat” might be an overused phrase, but there’s quite a bit of truth to it, particularly when it comes to your brain. According to a paper published in the journal Physiology , the signals from your gut to your brain have a strong influence on your behaviors and emotions, especially during threatening events . Your gut and brain constantly communicate with one another through your vagus nerve. This nerve makes its way throughout your chest and abdomen, controlling and monitoring not only your digestion but also your hormone levels, immune function, heart rate and blood pressure. This nerve forms part of a protective system that can help you make decisions by compelling you to slow down and evaluate a particular situation before proceeding or even avoid it entirely. It essentially connects your brain with your gastrointestinal tract, which covers a big surface area and is laden with sensors. To put it in perspective, the GI tract is more than 100 times bigger than your skin’s total surface, and it sends more signals up to your brain than any other of your organs. As you can imagine, this makes your gut tremendously powerful. A poor diet can throw off the protective signals that come from the vagus nerve that encourage you to be cautious. This can change your behavior and your mood. As a matter of fact, the connection is so strong that recent studies have found that traumatic brain injuries can damage an individual’s gut in addition to their brain. Moreover, it appears to be a two-way street, with gut irregularities impacting brain inflammation following traumatic brain injuries . Support our mission and protect your health: Organic Seeds of Life combines Red Raspberry Seed Power, Black Cumin Seed Power and Red […]
Everyone has moments of forgetfulness from time to time, especially when life gets busy. While this can be a completely normal occurrence, having a poor memory can be frustrating. Genetics plays a role in memory loss, especially in serious neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. However, research has shown that diet and lifestyle have a major impact on memory too. Here are 14 evidence-based ways to improve your memory naturally. Eating too much added sugar has been linked to many health issues and chronic diseases, including cognitive decline. Research has shown that a sugar-laden diet can lead to poor memory and reduced brain volume, particularly in the area of the brain that stores short-term memory ( 1 , 2 ). For example, one study of more than 4,000 people found that those with a higher intake of sugary beverages like soda had lower total brain volumes and poorer memories on average compared to people who consumed less sugar ( 2 ). Cutting back on sugar not only helps your memory but also improves your overall health. Research has shown that people who regularly consume lots of added sugar may have poorer memories and lower brain volumes than those who consume less sugar. Fish oil is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fats are important for overall health and have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation, relieve stress and anxiety, and slow mental decline ( 3 , 4 ). Many studies have shown that consuming fish and fish oil supplements may improve memory, especially in older people. One study of 36 older adults with mild cognitive impairment found that short-term and working memory scores improved significantly after they took concentrated fish oil supplements for 12 months ( 5 […]
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to concentrate longer and stay focused at school or work? Maybe even increase your IQ, memory or even creativity? Now you can. The answer is a newer line of supplements that are made to do all those things we listed above and more. These brain supplements are called nootropics and they deliver. Nootropics will help you process information faster, have better decision making, solve problems and not fall behind younger minds. If you need help with memory, focus or even your motivation then these brain supplements might be just what you are looking for. There is a wide variety of people who use brain supplements. From athletes to older people to accountants to students and even fighter pilots. If it is something that requires high mental demand and focus, then there are probably people using brain supplements. What do brain supplements do? When it comes to a good brain supplement or nootropic there are several things they do for you. They are: Increase concentration – If you are one of those people who has trouble staying focused on a task and keep jumping from one thing to another without really getting much accomplished then nootropics can be a big help. Rhodiola Rosea is an herb to look for in a nootropic that helps with concentration. Many nootropics will increase your attention span as well. Enhanced problem solving – Nootropics are great at enhancing problem solving and learning. A good nootropic will increase your Alpha Brain Waves which puts you in a state of wakeful relaxation, an ideal state for studying, learning or achieving superior work productivity. Similar to an athlete being in the zone. Improve memory – Brain supplements contain ingredients that improve your memory. Vinpocetine in particular has been shown to […]
( Natural News ) Believe it or not but pain can actually be a friend. It tells us something is wrong and that we should avoid it, like getting too close to the bonfire and hurting ourselves. It tells us to be careful when slicing vegetables, because we can hurt our fingers if we don’t watch out. Neuroscientists from the University of Pennsylvania concluded in a new research that animals suppress chronic pain when they are hungry , in an attempt to look for food and survive. The study zeroed in on 300 brain cells that prioritize the need for food to quell hunger, than the need to get over chronic pain. Amber L. Alhadeff, one of the researchers admitted that his team did not expect that hunger could influence the feeling of pain. But he realized it made sense. Animals must get nutrients from food first before they can even think of overcoming pain from injury. Curious about how hunger may interact with the sensation of pain, the researchers observed how mice that hadn’t eaten for 24 hours still responded to acute pain. But unlike their well-fed counterparts, hungry mice ignored pain caused by inflammation. Long-term pain from inflammation is thought to involve neural circuits in the brain. The researchers also discovered that hungry mice did not steer away from the place that brought them inflammatory pain . This made researchers wonder what part of the brain was behind the hunger-pain connection. They experimented on gouti-related protein (AgRP) neurons, which are believed to trigger hunger. They found out that mice responded less to chronic pain while retaining their reactions to severe pain. The researchers dug deeper and discovered that stimulating only a few hundred AgRP neurons markedly suppressed inflammatory pain. J. Nicholas Betley, assistant biology professor at the […]
- Exercise — Dr. Charles Kim, M.D., assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine and anesthesiology and a medical acupuncturist at the the New York University Langone Medical Center says that working out produces natural painkillers like endorphins. They raise our threshold of pain and work with brain receptors to change how we perceive pain.
- Fish oil — A study showed that after 75 days, more than half of the patients with neck or back pain who took 1,200 milligrams of fish oil a day with eicosapentaenoic and decosahexanoic acid stopped taking painkillers. Order all natural fish oil here.
- Turmeric — Researchers who combined turmeric with Devil’s claw and bromelain on patients found that that the mixture relieved pain from osteoarthritis. The patients took two 650-milligram capsules twice or thrice a day. All natural turmeric available online here.
- Resveratrol in red wine, grapes and berries — Researchers reported that the substance regulates pain on the cellular level.
( Natural News ) So you’ve become a regular at the gym, turned vegan, and done almost everything in your power to stay physically healthy. What about staying mentally fit as well? Mental health is just as important as physical health. Mental fitness protects us from depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s , and other diseases. Neuroscientist Dr. Lisa Mosconi, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College , New York claims we can prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia through healthier food and lifestyle choices. In her new book Brain Food: How to Eat Smart and Sharpen your Mind , Mosconi says that while genetics plays a key role in causing dementia, lifestyle factors, like diet, are just as crucial. Maintain your sugar levels — Our brain depends mainly on glucose (sugar) and needs 62 grams of glucose daily. Before you grab that extra-large pizza though, Mosconi says our brains’ ‘sugar gates’ open when it needs sugar, but shuts down once it’s had enough. Excess glucose can’t enter the “sugar gate.” Instead, it leads to high blood sugar levels and weight gain. Know how your nutrients interact — Nutrients in your body should interact withe each other. Make sure you get a balance of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and vitamin B. Have plant-based meals — Our vegetarian ancestors knew it all along. Plant-based foods are the best. In fact, 98 percent of those who live long, healthy and dementia-free lives are vegans. Choose organic food well — You can also save on costs by choosing fruits that are in season. You can also opt for wild fish over the farmed variety, since the former tends to have less pollutants and pesticides. Always eat breakfast — Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day, because the brain needs an […]
( Natural News ) In 2015, at least 47 million people worldwide had dementia, a memory problem that often greatly affects an individual’s ability to accomplish daily tasks. While the most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, other forms exist as well. Unlike other diseases that can be treated, there is no cure for dementia. However, learning about its risk factors is one way to prevent it. According to a study, older adults who have slower walking speeds could have a higher risk of developing dementia than those with faster walking speeds. A team of researchers from the U.K. analyzed the relationship among changes in walking speed, changes in the ability to think and make decisions, and dementia. The results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society . For the study, the researchers reviewed data from the “English Longitudinal Study of Aging” which contained information from adults aged 60 and older who lived in England. The researchers relied on information gathered from 2002 to 2015 and they assessed participants’ walking speed on two occasions: From 2002 to 2003; and in 2004 to 2005. The participants were observed once again to determine whether or not they developed dementia following the tests from 2006 to 2015. The researchers then compared the patients who had developed dementia with those who had not. (Related: Go for a brisk walk every day to protect your brain .) The researchers found out that out of the almost 4,000 older adults they observed, the ones with a slower walking speed had a higher chance of developing dementia. Additionally, individuals who experienced a faster decrease in walking speed in a two-year period were also at greater risk for dementia. Support our mission and protect your health: Organic Seeds of Life […]
With the world’s population aging, more and more people are losing their memory. This is why there is a strong focus on finding preventative measures for memory loss, preferably natural remedies. Researchers examined the effects of tai chi on different levels of mild cognitive impairment — a precursor to future more serious memory loss — to determine its effectiveness for maintaining memory. There are currently an estimated 7.7 million dementia cases reported each year with 47.5 million patients. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a noticeable decrease in memory, thinking, and skills, but as the name insinuates, it’s still quite mild compared to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease . On the other hand, individuals with MCI tend to have a higher risk for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. MCI can very much interfere with a person’s daily life, such as performing everyday tasks like driving, shopping, or caring for themselves, as the individual may become forgetful. There is some preliminary research to suggest that tai chi can help support the brain, as it promotes blood circulation, which slows down the death of brain cells and aging of the brain. The Chinese researchers of the recent study recruited 160 older adults to explore the effects of tai chi on the brain and MCI. The participants were divided into two groups: One group received one hour of tai chi lessons for 16 weeks and the other group did not. The researchers uncovered that the older adults that received tai chi scored better on questionnaires measuring cognitive ability. The results remained even after accounting for age, education, marital status, and living conditions. Although the study did pose some limitations, including the study not being blind, it still reveals that this type of exercise has the potential to offer benefits to brain health. Generally, any type […]