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Science backed health benefits of music

Science backed health benefits of music

When you are down and you need a little boost of mood you put up your favorite song. This is because we all know that music is a free therapy and it helps us change our mood and feel better about everything. However, scientists decided to dig deeper into the benefits of music and see if there are any real, scientific health benefits of music. They came up with a lot of remarkable studies on the benefits of music!

1. From Ancient Times to the Latest Technologies

After humans started to walk straight and developed social skills they also began to create music. Of course, their instruments were nothing more than pieces of carved wood. This is how music started to play an important role in the history of humanity, especially because it was able to break the barriers of language – studies showed that humans around the world react the same way to music! For example, certain types of music can increase your focus, regardless your cultural background and personal beliefs. As humanity advanced, music also evolved. Nowadays, music is both an art and a technology, as musicians now spend their time in recording studio and mix different sounds in order to make music.

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Neuroscience lately focused on how music can change your brain and discovered that sound waves can increase babies’ speaking skills. But there is more, so let’s see all the science-baked health benefits of music.

2. Musicians Have a Different Brain Structure

When you want to find out how music changes your brain, you look at professional singers, who spend their days singing and recording music in their studio. And between those, they play at least one instrument. Researchers also looked at musicians and studied their brain. Studies found that a musician’s brain is a lot more symmetrical. This is because music helps develop the two hemispheres equally. At the same time, a musician’s brain is more active in areas which control coordination, motor controls and, as expected, the visual and auditory areas in the brain. A specific part of the brain, thecorpus callosum, is more developed in musicians. All these changes in the brain, allows musicians to have a better memory, which makes sense, if you think how many lyrics they can remember. Musicians can solve problems easier and are more creative than most people.

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3. Music Can Alter Your Mood

Without any study, each person knows that listening to his/her favorite song can make themself feel better. Now, scientists had proved this is a fact and showed us how is this possible. One of the biggest health benefits of music is the relief of stress. Music can relax you because it lowers the cortisol level in your blood. Cortisol is a hormone related to stress: the more cortisol you have in your blood, the more stressed you are. When you manage to lower your cortisol level, you are going to relax.

Another study showed that listening to music improves your mood. There are also studies which prove that listening to music and singing can make you feel more powerful and can increase your confidence.

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The studies also showed that any type of music has health benefits. One study showed that sad music can help you heal your broken heart. Listening to music is therapeutic, so if you feel low, listen to music!

4. Music Can Help You Increase Productivity

On the list of health benefits of music there is also the enhancement of work performance. A study made on non-professionals showed that office workers who are allowed to listen to music of their own choice are more creative and productive, compared to those who don’t listen to music.

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Featured photo credit: Albumarium via albumarium.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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