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Epsom Salt Bath Makes You Less Anxious

Epsom Salt Bath Makes You Less Anxious

Anxiety is a natural human emotion. It’s usually caused by our mind entering the ‘fight or flight’ response when situations occur. For some, it can be a fleeting feeling felt when big changes occur in our lives such as starting a new job, speaking in public or getting married. But for others, it can be a daily ongoing mix of fear, worry, and uneasiness. The constant nervousness and inner turmoil can be uncomfortable and tiring. Sleep patterns can become disturbed and concentration wanes. In terms of the mind, it does not only deplete our happiness but it can also cause physical symptoms like headaches, muscle aches and tension. There are many ways to cope with anxiety issues but daily relaxation techniques can help calm the inner turmoil, help you sleep better and give you a greater peace of mind. Many people suggest taking a bath using Epsom salt as it is known to relieve symptoms of anxiety and actually improve our mood. But what is Epsom salt and how does it work?

How Is Epsom Salt Different To Other Salt?

Epsom Salt is not like sea salt or regular table salt. Although the crystal structure looks similar, Epsom salt is a mineral compound made up of magnesium and sulphate unlike other salts that are almost entirely made up of sodium chloride. Another huge difference is that sea salt, when left on the skin, will dry it out pretty quickly and leave a residue whereas Epsom salt actually rinses off and leaves the skin soft. So because of its specific structural composition, the way Epsom salts work are greatly different to other salts and the benefits are far greater.

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How Epsom Salt Baths Work – The Science

Mention an Epsom salt bath to anyone and they will probably conjure up thoughts of a hot, steaming bath – a welcome delight at the end of a hard, stressful day. But an Epsom salt bath is actually unlike a normal one. Remember the magnesium that makes up most of its compound? Well it’s this that gives you the great health benefits that can relieve anxiety issues. When we’re feeling stressed, our magnesium levels are decreased and depleted. Magnesium is a mineral that is important in the production of serotonin – the feel-good hormone – so less magnesium equals less serotonin. Serotonin is crucial for enhancing our mood and sense of wellbeing so without it, anxiety attacks can seem worse and prolonged.

A study, conducted by researchers at the School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, showed that a certain amount of magnesium in Epsom salt is readily absorbed through the skin. They studied a group of participants before and after being immersed in a bath with dissolved Epsom salt and found that their magnesium levels had risen without any adverse effects. Therefore using Epsom bath salts is an effective, yet-gentle, way to raise magnesium levels without taking supplements.

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How To Make Your Own Epsom Bath Salt

There are many ready-made Epsom salt products in stores but they can prove costly. Plain Epsom salt usually comes in bigger packs and is more economical. But why not try making your own? It’s actually very easy and fun to do and you can make your own varieties. All you need is:

  • 1/2 cup of Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • A small cup or bowl
  • Food colouring (optional)

What to do:

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  1. Boil the water and stir in the 1/2 cup of Epsom salt for around a minute in the cup or bowl. This creates a saturated solution, meaning no more salt can dissolve in the water. (Some undissolved crystals will be at the bottom of the glass.)
  2. Choose a food colouring and add a couple of drops to give them a nice vibrant colour. (optional)
  3. Place the cup or bowl in the refrigerator straight away as the solution needs to be cooled down rapidly.
  4. After a few hours, check it to see the cup full of crystals. Pour off any remaining solution.

Your end result should see small, thin, and numerous crystals which you can add to your bath. Although you can create a scent-less bath salt mixture, adding essential oils creates a calming atmosphere when you take your bath and will help you to relax a bit more. Just combine your favourite essential oil and leave it to infuse in the cup or bowl before adding it to your bath.

How To Use Epsom Bath Salt

The ideal concentration for using Epsom salt baths to raise magnesium status, according to the study, is approximately 500 grams, or 2 cups, of Epsom salt dissolved in 15 gallons of water – the amount that can fit in a standard-sized bathtub. Ideal amount of time spent soaking is 10-20 minutes, two to three times per week.

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While an Epsom salt bath is generally a safe and gentle way to raise magnesium levels, it is good to check with your doctor before using it to treat any medical conditions or using it while pregnant.

Featured photo credit: Matt_Weibo via flickr.com

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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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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