All month we will explore the brain. Specifically, we’ll walk you through the methods for training your brain to be stronger, smarter, and faster!
In my former life as a neuroscientist, I recorded brain cells to understand how the nervous system controlls behavior. I have this memory of speaking with some of the physicians at the time, saying that I thought exercise should provide strong positive benefits for brain health.
“What’s your evidence,” I was asked? Well, kinda common sense really. It’s associated with better blood flow in other parts of the body, and healthier arteries as well, and both of those things should benefit the health and therefore performance of neurons.
This conversation didn’t go well for me though because at the time there was just no research support for the idea. It was just a guess that seemed like it should be true.
Fast forward to today, and a great deal of research has been generated since that time showing the relationship between regular activity and measures of a healthy brain. It is associated with slower age-related cognitive decline, a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s Disease, and reduced risk for the arterial problems that lead to stroke, including cerebral stroke.
In fact, both aerobic and strength training exercises lead the brain to release neurohormones that have positive effects on brain health. These chemicals improve the health of brain cells, encourage the growth of new blood vessels, and increase the longevity of new brain cells when they are formed. Exercise also improves cognition by reducing insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, and by releasing “growth factors”.
The key is to focus on activities you love doing. When you enjoy what you are doing, you will stick with them longer!
Here is a recipe for a different kind of loaf. And it makes a great gift! Enjoy this, especially, right out of the oven with a little pat of butter.
- 3/4 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
The more we cook in the home the more we have control over quality of ingredients used. Give this recipe made with basic ingredients try.
- 6 chicken thighs, boned and skinned
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 orange, peeled and sectioned
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- Juice of one lemon
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into strips
- Season the chicken with the salt and pepper and marinate in a ½ cup of the orange juice for 10 minutes.
- Drain and set aside.
- Heat the butter in a large skillet and sauté the ginger over medium-high heat until lightly browned.
- Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned on both sides. Add the orange sections, the remaining orange juice and lemon juice. Simmer for 10 more minutes.
Beans are great cancer fighters. Try this easy and tasty recipe. This recipe is an all around winner. Enjoy!
- 2 cups cooked great northern beans
- ½ cup chopped, drained, marinated sun-dried tomatoes
- ¼ cup sliced ripe olives
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Salt and pepper as needed
Continue reading “Italian White Beans”
The largest organ of your body is your skin. To care for this organ, so it can better take care of you, proper nutrition is important. But what foods are good for the skin?
One group of good-for-your-skin foods are those rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They can be found in, Anchovies, Mackerel, Salmon, Soybeans, Walnuts.
Another group of good-for-your-skin foods are those containing beta-carotene. The carotenes can become deposited in your skin, and serve as a natural sun block for you. Beta-carotene can be found in orange colored produce such as carrots, squash, papaya, and pumpkin.
Some of the tastiest good-for-your-skin foods are those high in water content! Proper hydration is important for skin health and can come from food sources such as fruits and vegetables. Watermelon, tomatoes, and cucumbers are over 90 percent water. To make sure you are properly hydrated, use your urine as an indicator. If it is not clear, you may be under-hydrated. Certain medications and supplements can affect the color as well.
Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is produced in your body when your skin is exposed to sunlight. However, there are times when this is not advisable or even possible.
If you have very fair skin and are susceptible to sunburn, you will need to protect yourself from exposure through sun screens and clothing that protects your skin area.
In addition, in winter months the angle of the sun’s rays are not direct enough to cause the reaction that creates Vitamin D. For this reason, it is important to add foods with vitamin D in them:
- Egg yolks
- Mushrooms (especially Shiitake)
To attain enough vitamin D, it is helpful to get a healthy amount of exposure to the sun. But the advice changes from summer to winter months.
If you are planning to be outside for many hours in a day, give yourself the first 10 minutes of sun exposure on your skin before applying sunscreen. This will allow it to produce vitamin D before blocking exposure by applying sunscreen.
During the winter months when the day lengths are shortest, your skin is not able to make vitamin D from sun exposure. Once the season moves into spring, try to give yourself at least 10 minutes outside with either your face or hands being exposed. Do this when the sun is highest, between 11am and 1pm.