Category Archives: neuroplasticity

BrainMasters at Huntcliff Health Fair 2012


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As you may know, today is National Senior Day and we celebrated by participating in the annual health fair at Huntcliff Summit. The turnout was great and all the residents and exhibitors had a fabulous day! Looking forward to our June classes at Huntcliff. Keep exercising your brain if you want to keep it healthy-use it or lose it!

8 Best Foods to Buy at a Farmers’ Market: Organic Gardening


Summer unofficially kicks off this weekend as we enjoy this  Memorial Day weekend with our family and friends. Many of us are likely to attend at least one barbeque or social outing. Keeping this in mind, here are a list of foods you should consider purchasing locally and/or organic. After all-it is your health!

Have a safe  Memorial Day weekend and remember to update your family health history and exercise your brain! Why not make it family game weekend and play some Scrabble, card games, hangman, anagrams, crossword puzzles? All these activities are a great and fun way to exercise your brain and utilize the principles of brain plasticity or neuroplasticity. Hey- Your brain-use it or lose it!

8 Best Foods to Buy at a Farmers’ Market: Organic Gardening

 

Spring 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 spring inspired words. Create as many new word combinations as you can. Happy Spring!

FLOWERS

BLOOMING

ADVENTURE

TROPICAL

CHERRIES

ALLERGIES

Brain Awareness Week Activities


Yesterday at the Parc we had such a fabulous event as we celebrated Brain Awareness Week 2012! We discussed ways to promote brain health and engaged in some fun and interactive brain fitness activities. Check out some of our photos. By the way, what do you think of our brain erasers?

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Brain Boosters-Split States


English: The United States Esperanto: Loko de ...

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Welcome! You must be here as you are ready for some stimulating and challenging brain fitness activities designed to help you build that cognitive reserve and stave off dementia or Alzheimer’s!  Here is a fun and different brain exercise that is designed to target the areas of thought organization, executive function,  and attention/focus. This brain game is  for all ages to enjoy. Just yesterday a group of seniors had a blast with this activity, as I know you will too. Remember, your brain just like your body requires exercise to maintain optimal level  health and fitness.

Ready? Hidden within this string of letters you will find the names of 3 U.S States. You must use all the letters and not change the order of any of the letters. The names of the states are in the correct order-not scrambled. Have fun while exercising your brain!

 

MWIIMSNCANOENSSIONETIAN

New Year’s Resolutions or Perhaps Goals?


Neuroplasticity challenges the idea that brain...

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Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. Wow, 2011 continues to fly by even up to the very end.  I hope it has been as great a year for you as it has been for me! As I evaluate my accomplishments and challanges of this year, I am planning for next year. That leads me to the question, “Should we make a New Year’s  resolution or develop goals for the new year?”  When I searched  the definitions of these words as a comparison, the results were interesting. The definition of resolution is- a formal expression of  opinion or intention made, usually after voting,  by a formal organization, a legislature, or other group. The definition of goal is- the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end. Opinion verses result or achievement with effort? I vote that we all develop  New Year’s goals! We tend to write our goals down which then holds us accountable. Goals are measurable and objective. Keep in mind that goals can and need to be updated and amended regularly to help us attain our goals and achieve success.  So why not begin now by starting a goal sheet for 2012? You have nothing to lose-only goals to achieve!

If you need some suggestions for some 2012 goals, let me help. Try to make 2012 the  year you take charge of your health and life. There are so many things we can do to promote healthy living, longevity, anti-aging, healthy aging, and the list continues.  Begin by setting a goal of 30 minutes of exercise each day-even just walking is beneficial to your health. It’s all about getting up and moving-get off the couch! If 30 minutes a day seems overwhelming, begin with 3 times a week and increase it to 5 days per week, until you hit 6- 7 days per week.  By committing to physical exercise, your brain reaps benefits too! You will gain increased blood flow throughout your body and brain which helps maintain brain health and cognition.

Speaking of  brain health, we all need to include a goal addressing our brain fitness and maintenance. Make a goal to stimulate  and improve your brain power  by learning something new and challenging your brain. Build and make new brain connections through neuroplasticity or brain plasticity. Researchers continue to uncover more amazing  discoveries about the brain and its ability to form new neural or learning pathways.  Remember, memory loss with decreased brain function does not have to be a part of the normal aging process!  We are never too young to begin building our cognitive reserve or too old for new learning! It’s all about introducing  and learning new things.  If you have never tried anagrams, scrambled words, crossword puzzles,  or other word games than these are great brain exercises to try as you commit to  exercise your brain.

Of course, how can I not discuss the benefits of a healthy diet?  There are numerous health benefits by just avoiding processed foods. Processed foods contain preservatives and hidden salt, neither provide health benefits but rather can increase blood pressure and increase your risk for certain cancers, Alzheimer’s  and other diseases. Instead, take advantage of  spices that have health benefits. Try using garlic, rosemary, basil, oregano, turmeric, paprika, black  pepper, cinnamon, thyme, ginger, red peppers,  cloves, coriander, and white pepper. Did you know that some of the most delicious foods have health benefits? Add these to your diet-dark chocolate, walnuts, almonds, blueberries, strawberries, greek yogurt, Alaskan or Pacific salmon, cashews, oats, apples, bananas, cranberries, broccoli, avocados, olive oil-preferably first cold pressed, artichokes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, leafy green vegetables. I’m sure most of us should increase our consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as nuts. By consuming fresh fruits, vegetables,  fish, lean meats, healthy fats,  and dairy we also increase our intake of vitamins and minerals essential for health.

Why not schedule a well check up with your physician? Discuss your diet-honestly, and review your vitamins and supplements as well. Have some blood tests run-how is your vitamin D, what about your B vitamins? Lots to do as you become your own health advocate and take control of your health and life!

Let’s discuss beverages. Do you drink enough water? Water is essential to keep our bodies and brains functioning properly. After you’ve consumed your water, try some green, white, or black tea and/or coffee. All  of these have documented health benefits, and decaf is fine if you need to limit your caffeine intake.  An excellent goal for 2012 could be to decrease and then eliminate your consumption of soda! There are no nutritional benefits and research is now indicating that diet soda may be more harmful than regular. That brings us back to water, tea, coffee, juice that’s 100% juice without any added sugar, and milk.

I believe I’ve outlined several good goals to get you started for 2012. Now it’s up to you to adapt these goals to make them yours. Make 2012- Your Year of  Health and Wellness! I wish you a year of good health, longevity, wealth, and happiness!

Brain Boosters-More December Anagrams


Two Juglans regia walnuts.

Walnuts are brain food!

Why not do yourself  a favor and make the commitment to  exercise your brain? The research is overwhelming on the benefits of maintaining brain health and exercising your brain. Yes, we are able to engage in new learning at any age and improve brain functioning! Take advantage of the brain’s ability to learn new information and form new pathways through neuroplasticity or brain plasticity by becoming a lifelong learner. Remember, it is also important to feed your brain. How about some walnuts, green tea, dark chocolate, blueberries, salmon? These are all fabulous for our brains!

Let’s try some anagrams with a holiday theme. Remember, anagrams are a great brain exercise as they target problem solving skills, reasoning skills, thought organization, thought flexibility, judgment, and executive function skills. Anagrams are fun for everyone-teens, baby boomers, seniors. Anagrams are a fun brain building activity to boost those brain cells, help form new neural pathways, and build your cognitive reserve. Try these anagrams as a family activity or part of a family game night, compete against friends or office buddies and see who can find the most.  Enjoy, laugh, have fun!

Here are your anagrams. How many new words can be formed? Share your lists with us and let’s see who can generate the most words!

CHRISTMAS

STOCKINGS

SLEIGH

SNOWMAN

SANTA CLAUS

CHESTNUTS

TINSEL

CHIMNEY

MANGER

NORTH POLE

Brain Boosters-December Holiday Anagrams


Hot chocolate, Café Zéphyr, Paris

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The holidays are here, it is cold outside, and I want you to give your brain a break from your unproductive multitasking.  So, take a deep relaxing breath and  let’s exercise your brain! I’m on my third cup of green tea and just had a handful of walnuts with apple slices. YUM! Grab a cup of green tea, coffee,  or hot cocoa with some spiced or plain walnuts, almondsdark chocolate, dark chocolate covered almonds-yummy,  or blueberries and let’s workout. Let’s try  anagrams with a holiday theme. Remember, anagrams are a great brain exercise and they target problem solving skills, reasoning skills, thought organization, thought flexibility, judgment, and executive function skills. Anagrams are fun for everyone-teens, baby boomers, seniors. Anagrams are a fun brain building activity to boost those brain cells, help form new neural pathways, and build your cognitive reserve. Try these anagrams as a family activity or part of a family game night, compete against friends or office buddies and see who can find the most.  Enjoy, laugh, have fun-it’s good for all of us! A healthy heart and body help us maintain a healthy mind.

Here are your anagrams. How many new words can be formed? Share your lists with us and let’s see who can generate the most words!

CEREMONIES

CANDLES

DECEMBER

MISTLETOE

SNOWFLAKES

SLEDDING

PRESENTS

MENORAH

PARADES

VACATION

DREIDEL

FAMILY

Now that you have given yourself a well deserved break and exercised your brain, focus on the things important to you during this Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza season. Happy Holidays!

Eat These Spices to Reap Health Benefits


Shop with spices in Morocco

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As you prepare for Thanksgiving, be sure to include healthy food choices. Don’t forget about  the spices with your feast-cinnamon, rosemary, ginger, oregano, red peppers, thyme, and turmeric.  Guess what, they all have health benefits for mind and body.

Cinnamon-This is so simple to add into your foods or beverages. Add it to your sweet potatoes, coffee, cranberries, or pumpkin pie. Cinnamon is believed to help regulate blood sugar levels and possibly help lower cholesterol levels.

Rosemary-Add rosemary to your potatoes, rub on the turkey, add to vegetables. This spice is good for your memory and is believed to aid in reducing inflammation. Rosemary is full of minerals and vitamins.

Ginger-Flavor your pumpkin pie with ginger, bake ginger cookies, add ginger to your sweet potatoes. Ginger has been shown to help you feel better if you’re feeling queasy! Try taking a piece of fresh ginger in hot water and wow you have freshly brewed ginger tea. It’s delicious!

Oregano-Add oregano to your stuffing or to your vegetables. Oregano contains high amounts of antioxidants and is packed with flavor!

Red peppers-Red peppers have been shown to increase metabolism. Need I say more? Put it in your salad, add to your vegetables or stuffing. Use your imagination-the sky is the limit!

Thyme-Try adding fresh thyme to your stuffing or as part of a rub for turkey or other poultry. Thyme is another spice with antioxidant properties. It’s also delicious in a salad.

Turmeric-Turmeric is believed to have anti-cancer properties, promote healthy hearts, and have anti-aging properties as well. Studies are ongoing to determine  if there is a  link between turmeric  and a decreased risk of developing  Alzheimer’s Disease. Turmeric is found in curry powder,  so try some curry chicken. Turmeric can be added to vegetables, rice or potatoes.

So, as you prepare your Thanksgiving feast, take a close look at your recipes and determine where you can add these spices. After Thanksgiving, try to add these spices to your everyday cooking. Why not make a concerted effort to eat healthy and promote healthy aging while enjoying healthy living?

Happy Thanksgiving! To your health!

Do You Know Your Family Health History?


Do you know your family health history?  If not, I suggest you research and record your family health historyduring Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Background

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Since we gather together with our families during the holiday season, it’s an excellent time to get your family health history. Do you have a family history of Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, heart disease, stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, thyroid disease,  or any other chronic disease? Did you  know that with any of these diseases you have an increased risk for developing memory problems and other cognitive deficits?

By doing a little research into your genes, you have the ability to map out a more healthy lifestyle. It’s never too late to make positive lifestyle choices whether you’re a senior, a baby boomer, in your 40’s or 30’s, or in college. Find out the age of  your oldest living blood relative. By the way, mine was 114, 115, or 116. I find that truly amazing!  Try to brainstorm as a family what this relative did to achieve such healthy aging and longevity.  Don’t be surprised to discover that these people probably have some things in common. They were active and kept moving, stayed engaged and connected with people, and consumed a healthy diet. No junk food or fast food on a regular basis.  Strive for that  kind of lifestyle to achieve optimal  health.  Don’t forget to include  regular exercise as a part of a healthy lifestyle!  Why not take advantage of every possibility to lessen your chances of developing memory loss or suffering a cognitive decline? Remember, memory loss does not have to be a part of the normal aging process! Be in command of your health and your life!

So, take charge of your health! Engage your brain with challenging and fun brain fitness activities. Let’s build your cognitive reserve through some mentally stimulating activities. Learn a new game,  learn a new language, participate in a social group, and EXERCISE!  Try our Brain Boosters! One of the secrets to longevity is to achieve a healthy balance between a healthy mind, body, and spirit!

Let us know the age of your oldest relative, too! Happy Thanksgiving!  Now is the time for YOU commit to your health!

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