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You Need To Play Video Games Because They Can Help Prepare Your Life

You Need To Play Video Games Because They Can Help Prepare Your Life

If you’re reading this, there’s a decent chance that you play or have played video games at some point in your lifetime. And it’s not just “kid stuff” anymore; the average gamer is 31 years old, and more than likely grew up playing video games in various formats. While it used to be the norm to consider gaming a waste of time, it’s now widely accepted as a genuine hobby and pastime. What we haven’t paid much attention to is the fact that this hobby can actually prepare us for the real world in a variety of ways.

1. They allow you to cheat

Let’s get this one out of the way early, shall we? Video games are full of cheats and tricks that allow you to unlock certain areas or items without putting in all the (*gasp*) work you would otherwise need to do if you played the game fairly. While I wouldn’t condone getting ahead in life through unethical or immoral means, there are certainly many people who have gotten away with doing just that. But, if you get caught doing something illegal in real life, your punishment will be more severe than being forced to wear a dunce cap. At any rate, you should probably the cheating to the virtual realm.

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2. They promote exploration

Ever since the original Legend of Zelda was released back in the 1980s, video games have required players to dive into virtual worlds in order to discover the secrets within. Even linear games like Super Mario Bros. had warp tunnels and other surprises stashed away for those who dared venture off the beaten path. Isn’t that was life is all about? Even though most of our world has been mapped out, there’s still a ton out there to discover. And the awards for finding something new in real life are much greater than getting to skip to level 8!

3. They promote perseverance

Any true gamer has one game they can play for at least a couple minutes with their eyes closed. But that’s because they’ve been through that level dozens (and possibly hundreds) of times. And quitting was never an option. We just had to get past that one boss or obstacle. In real life, the only people who experience true success are the ones who get back up after being knocked down a peg, and keep working hard until they attain their goals. Even if it means starting from scratch sometimes, it’s important to push through adversity to get where you want to be in life.

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4. They promote socialization

Video games require you to socialize on two different levels: as your in-game character, and as a person in the real world. If you’ve ever played an RPG, such as Final Fantasy, you know the importance of talking to every single character you come into contact with. While most non-playable characters in these games don’t add much to your story, you never know when talking to a passerby will lead you to a new and exciting adventure.

Although there is the long-running stereotype of video gamers being Mountain Dew-swilling basement dwellers, they’re now more than ever required to interact with one another, at least within their games. Online play has transformed the way we play games. We can now cooperate with or issue challenges to other gamers all over the world, which, incidentally, gives some of us even less reason to leave their apartment. That wasn’t the point I wanted to make! Ugh…anyway…

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5. They strengthen foresight

Think back to the hours you’ve undoubtedly spent playing Tetris. Remember how you always kept one side completely unblocked so you could fit the long, straight piece in and clear four lines at once? It seems pretty simple now, but as kids the game was teaching us to think strategically and to time our moves perfectly.

Also, many games nowadays require the player to make decisions for their character that will ultimately affect the storyline in major ways. Even in the virtual world, in which you can restart from your last save point if you die, game designers are implementing the notion of cause and effect, and that every action has a consequence that may change the course of a person’s entire life.

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6. They evoke empathy

While we’re on the subject of characters, I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss the emotional responses video games can evoke. Any avid reader or theatre-goer will tell you that media can have an incredible effect on a person’s emotions. Video games take it one step further, in that, for the duration of the time you’re playing them, you become connected to the character you’re controlling. Even younger gamers who have never experienced loss in real life can begin to gain an understanding of what it is and how to deal with it through the way a character reacts within a storyline. Not only can video games teach you a lot about the world, but they can also teach you a lot about yourself.

Featured photo credit: social gamers & siblings – _MG_0983 / sean dreilinger via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

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 and brain power:

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.

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.

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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.

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

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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!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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