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8 Amazing Things Would Happen If You Have A Reading Plan

8 Amazing Things Would Happen If You Have A Reading Plan

Even though many of us do most of our reading in the form of texts or Facebook posts, there are good reasons to pick up an actual book on a regular basis. Reading—specifically, reading real books—has been linked to a wide range of mental, physical, and social health benefits. It’s easy to reap these rewards; simply develop a consistent reading plan and stick to it. Need some convincing? Here’s what to expect when you become an avid reader.

You’ll keep your brain in top shape

Research has found that reading stimulates the brain and helps prevent cognitive decline, thereby helping the brain function properly for the long term (avid readership may even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease). This may be partly because from a neurobiological perspective, reading is more challenging than looking at images or listening to a speech or audio book. That means that we have to focus, concentrate, and rely on memory recall in the pursuit of new knowledge—all of which gives the brain a workout. In other words? Reading is one of the most affordable and accessible brain boosters. The earlier you become a regular reader, the greater the benefits later in life, so pick up a book ASAP.

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You’ll be motivated to accomplish goals

Research out of Ohio State University found that reading about a character or person who overcame obstacles can motivate you to do the same, reports Reader’s Digest. Looking to hike the Appalachian Trail or finally quit that soul-sucking job? Reading about people who already accomplished those goals can make you more likely to follow through.

You’ll become more empathetic

Multiple studies have confirmed that reading fiction that “emotionally transports” you into another world, character, or perspective can boost your ability to understand or identify with the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of other people. And that means you’ll be better able to form meaningful relationships (or at least cut telemarketers some slack).

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You’ll reduce stress

In one study, reading was found to be one of the most effective ways to eliminate stress (It proved even more effective than listening to music, taking a walk, or drinking a cup of tea). That may be partly because reading helps reduce stress hormones like cortisol. It only took participants six minutes of reading before they started to relax, so dive into a paperback if you’re ever in need of a quick pick-me-up.

You’ll fall asleep easier

Developing a calming bedtime routine is helpful for anyone looking to fall asleep faster and get better quality shut-eye. For better sleep, ditch alcohol, electronics, and cigarettes before bed and pick up a book instead—reading is a great way to unwind and relax before turning off the light.

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You’ll become more interesting

Reading allows us to learn new things, gain fresh perspectives, and expand our minds. And that means readers can not only teach themselves new skills or knowledge, but also share it with other people. It certainly beats talking about the weather.

You’ll be more satisfied with your life

One survey found that adults who read for a minimum of 30 minutes a week were 20 percent more likely to report feeling satisfied with their lives and also reported having higher self-esteem and greater self-acceptance than non-readers. The survey’s authors theorized that this is partly because reading can help us feel less alone by connecting us to other people’s experiences. In fact, the same survey found that readers tend to be more socially engaged and appreciative of cultural diversity than non-readers—all of which can infuse a life with more meaning.

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You’ll save money

The average novel costs around $13 for a new paperback version; you’ll spend even less if you shop at used book stores. Compare that to the money spent on other forms of entertainment such as eating out, sporting events, or nights out at the bar. That’s not to say that you need to become a hermit, but swapping in the occasional reading night for other, more expensive entertainment options will give your wallet a break.

Convinced? If you’re ready to become a reader but aren’t sure how to begin, start by choosing books or genres that interest you the most (and don’t be embarrassed if that includes romance novels or self-help books). It can also be helpful to cancel cable TV or your Netflix account (gasp!), to schedule in reading time on your calendar, or to join a book group so that other people can help hold you accountable to your reading goals. However you choose to approach it, developing a reading plan will do your mind and body good.

Featured photo credit: Moyan Brenn 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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