Monthly Archives: November 2010

Healthy Food Quiz


Miniature-sized Hershey's Special Dark chocola...

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Brain Boosters-Anagrams


Scan of the poem "Anagram" from the ...

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Have you ever challenged your brain with anagrams? Anagrams are another great brain exercise to help build your cognitive reserve. Yes, anagrams are anti aging for the brain promoting brain health and fitness.  Anagrams are fun for people of all ages- kids, teens, young adults, middle aged, baby boomers, and seniors of course! Anagrams target the cognitive areas of problem solving, reasoning, executive function, memory, and vocabulary. Before you attempt these dementia fighting, anti Alzheimer’s Disease mentally stimulating brain exercises, let’s be sure everyone knows what anagrams are. You will be provided with a single word and your challenge is to rearrange all the letters and form new words. You may form more than one word with the letters as long as all the letters are utilized. Here is an example. If BRAIN is the starter word, the letters may be rearranged to form the words: RAN BI. I think you get the point. Enjoy, laugh, take a deep breath, sit back relax and get ready to challenge yourself. Let’s promote mental fitness, mental stimulation, healthy aging, health and wellness, longevity, and brain health. So, here’s to your brain.

Try anagrams for the following list of words. Create as many new word combinations as you can!

VACATION

RASPBERRY

VITAMINS

BLUEBERRY

ORGANIC

Brain Boosters-Scrambled Words


Flowchart for problem solving.

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Here are some Brain Boosters for you to try. These are great brain exercises. These focus on problem solving skills, deductive reasoning skills, abstract reasoning skills, thought organization skills, and executive function skills. Enjoy, have fun, exercise your brain to keep yours healthy to decrease your risk for developing Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. Build your cognitive reserve!

Unscramble these words:

DLAECNRA

GAPNILNN

TRWEEAH

RRESHACOT

RODEYRICT

MAPIUNLT

NETSIVETMN

GAGNEDE

RIDELTLAM

How to Stay Mentally Sharp


A person making crossword puzzles.

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We believe there are countless things you can do to stay mentally sharp. Perhaps some of the most important are: NEVER stop learning and feeding your mind! You are never too old to learn and form new neural pathways in your brain. One of the key components to developing new brain pathways is to stimulate your brain with new learning. If you have been working crossword puzzles for say 30 years, well it’s time for something new. Perhaps try sudoku, learn to play bridge, learn a new language, something different that will challenge your brain. You must exercise and stimulate your brain!

Another crucial factor in staying mentally sharp, is your diet. Are you addicted to fast food, junk food, sugar, processed foods? I think you get the point. It’s important to consume a healthy diet loaded with FRESH vegetables and fruits, omega 3 fatty acids, and lean protein. Perhaps consult with your physician to determine if a Mediterranean type diet is for you. This type diet is comprised of foods that promote a healthy mind and body as it is so nutrient dense.

So, we now know to exercise our minds and eat a healthy diet. What else is important to stay mentally sharp? Well, you must also exercise your body. No, you don’t have to train like a triathlete for the Olympics, but you need to get moving! If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, of course first check with your physician prior to beginning an exercise program. Just get off your squishy tushy and get moving.  A good goal is 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. This includes simple walking. Do you have a dog? Dogs love walks, too! By being active and exercising, you increase your overall blood flow, including blood flow to your brain. This promotes brain health.

Have you thought about stress and your amount of nightly sleep? Stress, if not effectively managed can negatively affect your memory skills, impair your judgment, and impede new learning. Did you know that? You’ve got to let it go, relax. Why not begin each morning with say just 10 minutes of deep  diaphragmatic breathing. It’s a great way to reduce and help control stress. How much quality sleep do you get each night? Do you find it difficult to fall asleep and then sleep through the night? Does your bed mate snore all night long? Do you get any sleep at all? Seriously, we all need a good 7-9 hours of sleep each night. How many of us really get that much? Take an honest look at your stress and sleep and try to make the necessary adjustments so you can achieve mental sharpness!

If you make a commitment to the exercising your brain, eating healthy, exercising your body, decreasing your stress, and increasing your amount of quality sleep, you will be a positive example of someone living an overall healthy life. This is an anti-aging, healthy aging,  and longevity promoting life style. It’s never too late to adopt these ways-whether you’re 25, a baby boomer, or a senior citizen. Your age is merely a number you can’t control, but you can keep your brain young!  Why not make this positive change now, so you may stay mentally sharp and fit? Consider this an early New Years Resolution! To your health!

Walnuts are Wonderful!


Two Juglans regia walnuts.

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I really hope you like walnuts! Are you aware of the many health benefits associated with walnuts?  Let’s begin with the obvious. Walnuts are shaped like brains so therefore must be  good for your brains!  Right?  Remember, if something is good for your heart  then it’s also good for your brain. Guess what, if  it’s good for your brain, then it’s good for your heart.

Here are some of the many health benefits of walnuts. Walnuts are high in protein and vitamin and nutrient loaded!  They are a healthy fat and recommended as a part of the Mediterranean diet lifestyle, which includes fruits, vegetables, fish, and of course cold pressed olive oil. Walnuts are loaded with omega 3’s which improve brain function. Our brains need omega 3 fats to function properly, so why not have walnuts?  They also contain antioxidants and fiber. Walnuts promote anti- aging.  All of these good ingredients contained in walnuts help our bodies handle stress better, too. This amazing food has also been shown to lower total cholesterol and LDL values. But wait, there’s more. Did you realize walnuts have been linked to weight management and even help with weight loss?

Walnuts are most definitely an  amazing, healthy, anti-aging, brain food!

Here is a recipe I created for spiced walnuts. Enjoy!

Spiced Walnuts

Ingredients:

1 egg white

1 tablespoon water

2-2 1/2 cups walnut halves or pieces

1/2 cup sugar and stevia mixture

2 tablespoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons nutmeg

2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice-if available

Preheat oven to 250* and line a shallow baking dish with foil

In a bowl, combine egg white and water-beat until foamy. Mix the walnuts in and stir until coated. Put the mixture in a colander to drain for 3-5 minutes.

Combine sugar mixture with all the spices in a paper or plastic bag and shake. Add the walnuts, close the bag and shake so all the walnuts are coated with the mixture.

Spread the walnuts on the foil lined shallow baking in a single layer.

Bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

After removing from the oven, let the walnuts cool completely. Store in an air tight container. Enjoy!

 

Memory Loss Does Not Have to be a Part of the Normal Aging Process


Drawing comparing how a brain of an Alzheimer ...

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Have you ever thought about your brain health? Have you ever heard or even said, “Oh, I just don’t remember things as well as I used to, but that’s normal.” But guess what, new research has now shown that one’s memory skills and cognitive abilities do not have to decline as a part of the normal aging process. We are never too old to learn and need to embrace the concept of lifelong learning. There are many things each of us can do to maintain or even improve our memory skills and overall cognitive abilities.

First, let’s begin with some very basic tasks you can use immediately and continue on a daily basis. Try brushing your teeth with your non dominant hand. This helps form new brain pathways, promoting new learning. Once you are comfortable brushing your teeth with your opposite hand, then alternate hands on a daily or weekly basis. You can try the same technique when brushing your hair. Another simple task to incorporate into your life is upon entering the grocery store begin your shopping on the other side of the store. This helps break your regular routine and encourages you to think. For a more complex challenge, try shopping at a different store. This helps your problem solving skills improve as you navigate your way through an unfamiliar environment. By trying things a little differently, you help create new brain pathways to keep your brain healthy.

Want some additional ideas to promote a healthy brain? Consider this-if something is good for your heart, then it is also good for your brain. Eating fish at least 1x/week decreases your risk for developing Alzheimer’s. Not bad! Do you know if you are consuming adequate amounts of Vitamin D?  This is crucial to your overall brain health. Be sure to get enough rest, and if you need a nap during the day then take one. After all, your brain needs rest too! Actively focus on decreasing your stress! Stress can negatively affect your memory skills.

Here are some fun ideas to promote brain health. Gather some friends together and play a board game or learn a new card game. Try something new! It’s important to be part of a social group and have fun. Get a group together and take a nature walk- identify birds, trees, flowers, butterflies, anything and everything!  Laugh! Remember, you are never too old to learn and challenge your brain.

Pleasure and Stress Reduction


Brain structures involved in dealing with stre...

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So, what gives you pleasure? Is it a certain food, activity, exercise or something else?  Pleasure leads to stress reduction which is of course great for your brain. The stress reduction will improve your cognitive skills, brain health, memory skills, mental fitness and acuity, promote healthy aging,  and overall health. After all isn’t  healthy aging one of your most important goals?  I would say that stress reduction is an excellent anti-aging tool! What do you think?

Healthy Thoughts


What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. I believe this is so true. What do you think? Can you think of a specific event in your life that you didn’t think at the time you’d survive, but you did and now are stronger?

The Amazing Brain


Have you ever pondered the question, “Use it or lose it”? Of course you have, but perhaps not when it comes to your brain. Did you know that the human brain is actually able to generate new brain cells? This means you can teach an old dog new tricks as a result of brain plasticity. Brain plasticity allows for new and continued learning throughout one’s lifetime. Doesn’t that sound amazing? Think how powerful that really is, especially as our population continues to age. We have more seniors and baby boomers than ever, and many more of us quickly approaching!

So, what do baby boomers and seniors do to address their health issues and concerns? What can be done to decrease the risk for developing dementia or Alzheimer’s? What does healthy aging mean? What anti-aging activities can one participate in to promote healthy aging? First, it is important to realize that there is more to healthy aging and brain health than you may know. At BrainMasters, we have identified five important factors to improve and maintain brain health. Of course our number one recommendation is mental fitness and stimulation. Keep your brain working, learning, and thinking so you may build a cognitive reserve and form those new brain pathways! Nutrition is also crucial in promoting brain health. Research has revealed that certain foods such as salmon, sardines, walnuts, blueberries, cranberries, dark green vegetables, and of course water promote and help maintain brain health. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables and decrease your intake of processed foods, saturated fats, and of course trans fats. Physical activity is a must to maintain a healthy brain. Whether it’s a daily walk, a yoga class, or a bike ride you’ve got to get that blood pumping! Socializing is another important factor to promote brain health. We need to engage in meaningful communication with others. People who are isolated and lonely have a higher risk for developing dementia and other health complications. Our last recommendation to improve and maintain brain health is one’s emotional health. Let’s face it-we are all slammed and in the hurry up mode. We need to spend some time each day relaxing and letting go of stress!

The key to improving and maintaining brain health and fitness is to incorporate all of these factors into one’s life. Now of course we don’t expect everyone to change their lifestyles overnight, but if one wants to master  healthy aging then there is no time like the present. By investing in your overall health now, you can reap the benefits and rewards later.

Enroll in a brain fitness course with BrainMasters and let us help you build your cognitive reserve. Currently, we have classes forming all around the metro Atlanta area. If those are not convenient, contact us, and we will create a class for your group. Remember, we bring our brain fitness classes to your location at your convenience! You can achieve a healthy lifestyle-Use it or lose it!

Stopping the Brain From Hurting Itself – ScienceNOW


New study and evidence concerning strokes and recovery. Fascinating! Definite recommended read!

 

Stopping the Brain From Hurting Itself – ScienceNOW.

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