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7 Ways To Well Spend Your Commute

7 Ways To Well Spend Your Commute

Work commutes of any type can be emotionally and physically draining. On the positive side, having a lot of time on your hands while you are en route to work can be a blessing in disguise if you use it wisely. There are ways you can use this time without getting distracted on the road. Here are benefits for making the most out of your time during your dreaded daily commute.

1.You can use this time to think through specific issues

Do you have a certain problem you have been trying to solve in your personal life or an important business meeting that is coming up soon? This extra time during your commute is the perfect block of time to think through issues without being constantly interrupted. You might find a solution to your problems if you allow yourself to think about the problem without distractions. Dedicating time to a certain dilemma in your life first thing in the morning allows you to come up with new solutions since your brain is fresh.

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2. You can learn to de-stress

Your commute may seem like the last place you would find some solitude, but putting on some calming music which will help lower your blood pressure and allow you to arrive to work ready to face the day. If you are driving to work, add a little extra zen by spraying some relaxing scents, like lavender in your car to enhance the mood.

3. You can learn to be more mindful

Along the same lines as learning to find calm during your commute, you can also learn to practice being mindful on the way to work. The first step is to unplug and turn off your phone so that it does not create any distractions. If you are driving, focus on your surroundings, then acknowledge and accept your surroundings without negative thoughts (yes it’s hard!). If you are on public transportation, do the same thing with your fellow commuters and any frustrating scenarios that may come up. It takes practice and patience, but learning how to react to a stressful situation with a neutral and even positive approach can be beneficial for life in general.

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4. You can stay up-to-date on the world news

Do you hardly feel like you have time to keep up with what is going on in your city, let alone the world? Download a news podcast that will keep you informed about international news, without you feeling like you need to only skim the global headlines before rushing out the door.

5. You can use this time to educate yourself

Who says learning stops after you finish your formal schooling? Find a podcast on a subject that you have always been curious about, but never took the time to learn more about. Ask your co-workers, friends, and family members for recommendations on their favorites as well. Learning something new in the morning also makes your brain more alert and ready to tackle any tasks at work with a fresh eye.

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6. You can learn a new language

Have you ever wanted to learn a new language, but never seemed to find the time in your daily routine to practice? Use your commute as an opportunity to brush-up on your Italian or try out Arabic. There are plenty of apps and podcasts to download on your phone free of charge that can help you practice your verb tenses or pronunciation, whether you are stuck on the midtown train or in traffic.

7. You can “read” the book you have always wanted to

Have you always wanted to dive into a book, but always get sidetracked by Netflix or Instagram? Your commute is the perfect time to do this, whether you are in a car or the subway. If you are driving, audio books are a great solution and can keep you entertained for hours.

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Featured photo credit: Incumbents /Erin Nekervis via flickr.com

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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