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4 Ways Baseball is the Perfect Metaphor for Life

4 Ways Baseball is the Perfect Metaphor for Life

It’s spring time in America, and that means many changes: the blossoming of flowers, the end of the school year, the lightening of work hours for some. But one thing that sticks out as particularly relevant to this time of year is the way in which baseball ties perfectly into the everyday fabric of America. While baseball’s popularity has indeed extended overseas, there is still something to be said for how it particularly captures the American spirit. To capture this particular idea, here is a list of four ways baseball is a perfect metaphor for life.

What happens at the beginning might have no relevance at the end

Baseball season is 162 games long, twice as long as that of hockey and basketball, which both clock in at second longest at 81 games each. Over the years, there have been countless instances of teams who struggled in the beginning only to turn it around and win later. It’s like life in that way. It doesn’t always matter where you come from, but it matters where you go. And, and the end of the year, hopefully where you go is in the positive direction.

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Even the best achievers fail–a lot

Hitting a baseball is hard. When the MLB All-Star game rolls around in July, most of the players that represent the best of the league are the ones who hit for a .300 average, which means they succeed at their goal only three out of every 10 times. These players know that in order to be the best at what they do, they will have to be prepared to fail about seventy percent of the time, at least. But they don’t get discouraged by those odds. Just like in life, they are willing to take a swing at whatever opportunity comes their way, knowing that, when they do succeed, that’s all people will remember.

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It’s a team sport with people of multiple specialties coming together

In baseball, pitchers can’t hit, and hitters can’t hit. People might play first base because they can’t throw but they can catch (like me), and others might be sent to the outfield because they are fast and have quick instincts and good eyesight. And still more become catchers because they are short, squat, smart, and have qualities of a leader. But what they all do together is figure out what their roles are, how to do their roles well, and how to support each other in their roles. Other sports might have this separation of duties, but not to the degree that baseball does, and, by the commutative property, not to the degree life does.

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It contains anomalies

In his book Moneyballfinance author Michael Lewis relates the story of how Oakland A’s General Manager Billie Bean managed to game the system of baseball using statistics and information, which ultimately resulted in his underpaid team of misfits winning 20 games in a row, which is tied for third longest win streak of all-time. The purpose of relating this is to show how, even when you think you’ve seen it all in baseball, with 162 games containing about 120 pitches by each team each game, and 16 games going on at all times, out-liers and statistical rarities seem to happen more often than elsewhere. In the vein of the quote, “If you give a room of a hundred monkeys a bunch of typewriters and all of eternity, eventually one of them will write Hamlet,” in baseball, and in life, everything might be governed by what is most likely to happen, but it doesn’t necessarily limit itself to that. On any given day, you probably will encounter something you’ve never seen before.

Featured photo credit: Minda Haas Kuhlmann via flickr.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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