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5 Ways to Lessen Back Pain

5 Ways to Lessen Back Pain

As you’ve aged throughout the years, you’ve probably noticed a significant increase in the amount of back pain you experience on a semi-regular basis. While some discomfort is inevitable as you grow older, there are measures you can take to minimize the stress you put on your back throughout your day. The worst thing you can do for back pain is ignore it or try to “tough it out”; you’ll just end up doing more harm than good. If your back pain starts to become so debilitating that getting around becomes a hassle, you need to do something about it before it’s much too late.

Stop Slouching

You’ve heard this ever since you were a kid at the dinner table: Sit up straight! Slouching causes undue and avoidable stress on your neck, spine, shoulders, and neck – and it makes us look like cavemen. Of course, sitting up straight takes a conscious effort at all times – especially when watching TV or clicking around on the Internet. Along with the various exercises that can help improve your posture, you should get in the habit of consciously sitting up tall with your shoulders square. Hopefully, after a while it will become second nature!

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Assess Your Sleep Situation

If you spend sleepless nights tossing and turning in bed trying to get comfortable, your mattress might be the problem. There are many factors that go into choosing the right mattress, such as the amount of support you need as well as whether you sleep on your back, side, or stomach. While there are definitely measures you can take to avoid back pain, you can only do so much. Make sure that when you lay down each night, you’re getting the comfort you deserve.

Get Active

I previously mentioned the importance of exercising, but it’s not enough to just stretch a little bit and assume your back pain will just melt away. A 30-minute a day regimen of low-impact exercise, such as walking, swimming, or practicing yoga, could be all that you need to make a difference in the severity of your back pain. Not only that, but you’ll probably end up losing a little bit of weight, which in turn will put less stress on your back. However, like I said, don’t just think that you can laze around for the rest of the day just because you’ve done your workout routine for the day. Being active means staying active. Do everything you can to avoid long periods of sitting or laying around if you don’t want your back pain to return.

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Herbal Remedies

The reason herbal remedies is so far down on the list is because I don’t want you to think you can simply take a couple pills and feel right as rain. And I definitely don’t want you to believe that over the counter pain pills actually do anything more than mask your symptoms. The reason these remedies are called supplements is because they do just that: supplement the other actions you need to take in order to alleviate back pain. Anti-inflammatory supplements such as ginger, turmeric, and capsaicin come in creams, pills, or even teas, and can give you the comfort needed to take further steps toward a healthier lifestyle.

Meditate and Be Mindful

It sounds cheesy, but meditation can create a certain harmony between your mind and your body that will certainly help out when you’re feeling frustrated due to back pain. Although the jury is still out on whether or not meditation actually alleviates physical symptoms, it does allow you to be more mindful of how you go about your life on a daily basis.

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As mentioned before, being mindful simply means making a conscious effort to care for your back at all times. It means avoiding strenuous movements and activities, as well as lifting objects that are heavier than you know you should be lifting. Remaining conscious of the fact that your body “isn’t what it used to be” can be tough to do, but it’s definitely better than being laid up in a hospital bed!

Featured photo credit: Twitter 365 Project – Day 30 / lu_lu 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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