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Why Hitting the Sauna After A Grueling Workout Is A Good Idea

Why Hitting the Sauna After A Grueling Workout Is A Good Idea

Typically a workout at the gym includes stretching, cardio, and/or weights. Though this regimen seems complete, it is missing something that could be vital—a visit to the sauna. Most gyms have one, but they are often overlooked because they are seen as a treat as opposed to something that will benefit one’s overall wellness. Many cultures include visits to a sauna as part of a routine to maintain their health thanks to the healing and cleansing properties of a sauna. These rooms will reach a temperature between 160 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit with low humidity.

How it Works

While working out does leave a person dripping with sweat, a sauna will provoke this same physical response without the effort of working out. When taking part in sweating in a sauna, the average person’s pulse will raise 30 percent as the blood flow works to cool the skin. While the circulatory system work on this, it is possible for a person to sweat out around 1 pint of fluid in as little as 20 minutes.

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Detoxification

Many popular claims are made about the health benefits of saunas, but there is not a lot of scientific research available to support them. In general, sweating has been seen as a cleansing practice that holds many health benefits, and many supporters of the practice say that sweating will detoxify the body. The truth is that certain environmental contaminants will work their way into the tissue of the body, and sweating does play a small role in working to detoxify. The real detoxification of the body happens in the liver, lungs, and kidneys.

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Athletic Performance

Research has shown that three weeks of sauna usage after exercise will increase an athlete’s endurance, likely because blood volume is increased. More research has proven that 30 minutes in the sauna will boost power and strength in healthy young men. Hitting the sauna after a workout will also accelerate the recovery of muscles.

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Weight Loss

In addition to the other health benefits of a sauna, spending time in a sauna will aid in those who are actively working to lose weight, though the weight loss benefits overall are many times exaggerated. Exercising in the heat has the ability to boost the metabolism by a small amount but likely will not cause a significant boost in caloric burn, while sitting still and sweating will help to burn just a few extra calories in addition to what has been burned in a workout.

Heart Health

For the most part, it is not advised for heart patients to take part in sweating in a sauna because the heart rate will jump anywhere from 100 to 160 beats per minute. Keeping this in mind, some studies have shown that men who suffer from hypertension that visit the sauna two times a week could experience a decrease in their blood pressure. 20 minutes would be a substantial amount of time to spend in the sauna, and hydration is always important. If you are at risk for high blood pressure, consult your physician prior to visiting a sauna.

Other Benefits

After a hard workout, stepping into the sauna will help to relieve sore muscles. Many times, advice is given to those suffering with arthritis to spend some time sweating. Chronic fatigue and asthma are other diagnoses that will benefit from a sauna visit. Studies have shown that using a sauna will lower the blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, and strengthen vascular function. Those without chronic diseases will also see benefits such as a decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol as well as a decrease in total cholesterol after a few weeks of regular sauna usage.

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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!

More About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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