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10 Ways to Live Like a Local While on Vacation

10 Ways to Live Like a Local While on Vacation

Many people are satisfied merely seeing the tourist hot spots of a new city, but what about those of you who want to truly experience what it is like to live in a new area? In order to do this, you will need to carefully plan everything from your lodging choice to how you spend your spare time. After all, Parisians don’t tend to hang out at the Eiffel Tower, and Londoners don’t base their afternoon around the London Eye.

Although there is nothing wrong with exploring these popular tourist spots, you can learn so much more about the color and flavor of a city by vacationing like a local. Keep in mind that there are also numerous mental health benefits associated with going on vacation, and you can relax more effectively if you aren’t spending several hours in line at a tourist attraction.

1. Use Public Transportation

Studies have shown that most Americans prefer to drive over utilizing alternative forms of transportation, but this is likely to increase your stress levels. Instead, take a tip from the European approach and rely on public transportation whenever possible. Not only will this relieve the stress of trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B, but it will also enable you to experience different countries or major U.S. cities from the point of view of most locals.

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2. Read the Local Paper Daily

There is perhaps no easier way to get to know a new area over a cup of coffee than by reading the local paper. You will find out about special events, news stories that are currently affecting residents and much more. In London, it is easy to find people who hand out free papers near many tube stations, which enables visitors to combine the paper with using public transportation.

3. Rent a Flat or Home Instead of a Hotel Room

Hotel rooms are difficult to fully relax in, and they are also typically located near major tourist attractions. In other words, if you choose this lodging option, you may never get a true feel for the city in question. A viable alternative is to book a vacation rental. Airbnb is a popular option for major cities, and there are also companies such as Carolina Designs Realty that specialize in oceanfront rentals.

The best part is that renting a home or flat in the desired area is often comparable to, or even cheaper, than a hotel room, and you get numerous added perks, including a kitchen.

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4. Shop at the Nearest Grocery Store

As previously mentioned, a vacation rental will provide you with a functional kitchen. You can save money and try local vegetables and other favorites by shopping at the nearest grocery store. This also offers a good way to immerse yourself in local living. After all, everyone goes grocery shopping, so you can experience a lot of the local culture by partaking in this common activity.

5. Learn the Language and Converse with Locals

There are several ways to learn a new language well enough to actually converse in it with locals. For example, listening to podcasts will really help, as will reading and writing in the language in question. Your command of any language will improve much more quickly by living among native speakers, so conversing with the locals will not only teach you about the area but will also boost your skills.

6. Ask Locals for Restaurant and Café Suggestions

Travel books and websites may offer some good café and restaurant suggestions, but many of them are geared more toward tourists. To see how the locals dine, you will need to ask some of them for recommendations. Again, this will most likely take you outside of the typical tourist area.

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It is also highly possible that you will end up learning about some places that may be lovingly referred to as a dive. Always remember that if you judge a restaurant purely on its aesthetics or location, you might miss out on one of the best meals of your life.

7. Walk through the Neighborhoods

Walking through downtown will show you many appealing aspects of a city, but it won’t usually showcase how the locals truly live. Therefore, you will need to walk through some of the neighborhoods if you want to learn more about what it is actually like to live somewhere new. As an added bonus, you are likely to find some unexpected beauty in an unassuming place. For example, some of Banksy’s work is found in or near London neighborhoods that are not near a tourist trap.

8. Have a Picnic in the Park

One of the things that truly makes each city unique is the way that greenspace is incorporated into the overall design. Locals usually go to a park to relax or exercise, which makes this another prime opportunity to observe a different culture. Additionally, having a picnic in the park is a good way to utilize local food and physically connect more to the area.

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9. Spend an Afternoon Volunteering with a Local Group

Some people base their entire vacation around volunteering, but you can help others while also taking time to relax by donating one afternoon of your time. There are always local groups that need assistance, and most areas have a dedicated online resource that helps connect them with potential volunteers.

Something simple that does not require training will be the best route to explore. If you are vacationing in America, this could take the form of spending a few hours sorting food donations for Feeding America. If you’d rather spend time outside, you can ask the parks and recreation department about cleaning up debris at a nearby park. Either way, your fellow volunteers are likely to be locals who can give you a lot of insight into the area.

10. Visit Smaller Nearby Cities

It is easy to get wrapped up in the allure of visiting a major city. But did you know that it is often easier to connect with locals by going somewhere smaller? There are five affordable cities outside of Paris that fit this bill, and it is easy to find this same type of setup almost anywhere in the world. Even if you only go to a small city for a daytrip, you will still have the opportunity to observe local culture in a more intimate and accessible setting.

Vacations to faraway cities allow us to expand our minds and develop a more global conscience. When you combine this with perks such as increased productivity and better health, it makes sense to ensure that you book at least one trip per year. Your experience can also be vastly improved by taking a more localized approach.

Featured photo credit: Vittorio via pixabay.com

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

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!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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