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6 Unexpected Benefits of Knitting

6 Unexpected Benefits of Knitting

Learning how to knit might not be at the top of your fall to-do list, but it should be. Not just for your grandmother anymore, knitting has a wide variety of benefits beyond having something comfy to wear/snuggle/give away at the end of the process.

Plus, you don’t have to use that scratchy wool yarn. There are plenty of really soft brands of yarn that you can use.

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1. It gives you a sense of pride

knitting1
    Tony & Wayne

    Not a lot of people know how to knit. Showing off something you’ve knitted to someone who has no idea how you managed it is like showing off some sort of new magic trick. They’re going to be in awe of your newly acquired witchcraft and you’ll receive a ton of compliments (plus requests for scarves, but you can handle that however you want).

    2. It has the same benefits of meditation

    knitting2
      Eliza

      Once you figure out what you’re doing, knitting can be very relaxing. Simple knitting projects are usually the same few stitches over and over, so you can zone out and use your muscle memory to get the job done. The rhythmic, repetitive motion and relaxation has the same benefits to your mind and body as a meditation session, except you get a blanket at the end.

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      3. It alleviates symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression

      knitting3
        RedLipstick

        The rhythmic motions and sense of focus can help distract from symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. Sitting still to knit reduces your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure after a few minutes, so reaching for those knitting needles when you start to feel anxiety build or depression seeping in can help keep those symptoms at bay.

        4. It helps improve motor functions

        knitting
          eef Ink

          Because knitting stimulates almost the whole brain at once—”the frontal lobe (which guides rewards processing, attention and planning), the parietal lobe (which handles sensory information and spatial navigation), the occipital lobe (which processes visual information), the temporal lobe (which is involved in storing memories and interpreting language and meaning) and the cerebellum (which coordinates precision and timing of movement)”—it can be used to help people with diseases like Parkinson’s improve their motor functions. It both helps improve their fine motor skills and distracts from other painful symptoms.

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          5. It slows cognitive decline

          knitting5
            poppy

            While it’s helping improve your motor function and mood, knitting is also stimulating your brain to keep it healthy. The more you use your brain, the healthier it becomes, and the longer it lasts. According to the Mayo Clinic, seniors who engage in crafts (including knitting) are about 30-50% less likely to have a “mild cognitive impairment” than those who don’t.

            6. It helps prevent arthritis and tendinitis

            knitting6
              Madelinetosh

              Just like you have to use your brain to keep it healthy, you have to use your joints to keep them healthy as well. According to Dr. Barron, gently using your fingers builds up their cartilage, making it stronger, instead of wearing it down. Knitting is better for this than typing, which doesn’t put quite enough strain on your fingers, but it isn’t so strenuous that you’ll have other problems down the road. Already have arthritis? Dr. Barron recommends soaking your hands in some warm water and using larger needles to create your masterpieces.

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              Now that you know all about the health benefits of knitting, head over to your local craft store to pick up some supplies. Some of them have free or cheap classes for beginners, so ask around! If you can’t find classes, the great resource that taught me how to knit was tutorials on YouTube and Pinterest. Trust me—once you get the hang of knitting, you won’t want to stop.

              Featured photo credit: apicturebookmind via flic.kr

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              Kathryn Harper

              Media Relations Manager

              Scientists Tell You Why Making Your Bed Is Disgusting — And Bad for Your Health 7 Benefits of Bullet Journaling 7 Ways to Succeed at NaNoWriMo 5 Reasons You Should Participate in NaNoWriMo 6 Unexpected Benefits of Knitting

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              Last Updated on February 21, 2019

              Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

              Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

              Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

              If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

              When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

              In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

              1. Salmon

              Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

              It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

              Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

              Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

              Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

              Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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              2. Blueberries

              Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

              Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

              Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

              Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

              Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

              3. Turmeric

              Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

              Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

              Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

              Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

              Curcumin has also been shown to:

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              • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
              • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
              • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
              • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

              4. Coffee

              Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

              Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

              Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

              Coffee can also:

              • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
              • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
              • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
              • Improve your memory.
              • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

              5. Broccoli

              What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

              Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

              Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

              Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

              Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

              6. Bone broth

              Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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              Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

              Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

              Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

              Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

              With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

              Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

              7. Walnuts

              Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

              Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

              Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

              Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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              8. Eggs

              For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

              Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

              Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

              9. Dark chocolate

              You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

              Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

              Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

              Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

              Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

              Conclusion

              Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

              In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

              If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

              More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
              [2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
              [3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
              [4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
              [5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
              [6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
              [7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
              [8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
              [9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
              [10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
              [11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
              [12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
              [13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
              [14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
              [15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
              [16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
              [17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
              [18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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