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Beat the Heat this Summer with these Home Improvement Tips and Projects

Beat the Heat this Summer with these Home Improvement Tips and Projects

Do you find that your home gets way too hot during the summer months and you need to find a bit of relief? There are all kinds of simple things that you can do in order to cool your home down, and you don’t have to spend a whole lot of money. In fact, most of the things you can do won’t cost anything at all. Here are a few ways you can beat the heat this summer (and get some things done around your home).

1. Block Sunlight

When sunlight beams in your home, it can really heat it up. Your pets may enjoy the comfortable sunbeams, but you won’t enjoy the heat. Simply close the blinds or curtains during the hours when the sun shines in. Keep the windows open to allow air to pass through and circulate.

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2. Make an Air Conditioner

You can easily make your own air conditioner without spending a single penny. All you have to do is fill a bowl with ice, and place it in front of an electric fan. The fan will blow the coolness from the ice throughout the room.

3. Use a Damp Sheet

An old desert trick that really works is to hang damp sheets in open windows. The air flowing in will be cooled by the dampness in the sheet and lower the temperature inside your home by several degrees. This is also a good way to dry freshly cleaned sheets, and you don’t have to use the dryer or stand outside in the heat hanging them out on the line.

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4. Maintain Your AC

Make sure that routine maintenance is regularly performed to ensure that it is running efficiently. It should be inspected by an HVAC technician, and you should replace the air filter every month so air flows through easily. Learn more about this and other household maintenance tips at Invitation Homes.

5. Run Appliances at Off Peak Times

When temperatures are lowest (early mornings and evenings), this is the best time to run appliances. They throw off heat, so you don’t want to use them when it is really hot outside. Another option is to invest in small appliances that don’t give off as much heat, such as electric roasters, slow cookers, and pressure cookers.

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6. Do Inside Projects

When it is hot outside, start doing things inside that you have been putting off. Hang those pictures, or clean up that basement (you will also stay a lot cooler if you are working in the basement). Avoid working in the attic when it gets too hot.

7. Use the AC and Fans Together

When you use an air conditioner and a fan at the same time, you get a much cooler home. Don’t worry about using more electricity. With the fan helping to circulate the air, the air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to cool your home, so there will be little difference in the amount of electricity used.

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8. Cool the AC

The outside portion of your air conditioning unit should be in a shaded area. The cooler it is, the better and longer it is going to work. Plant some shrubs around the unit, or even create a shade screen all around it. Either way, in addition to helping to keep your home cool, it will also be an attractive addition to the property and cover up the ugly air conditioning unit.

9. Use Your Ceiling Fan Properly

In the hot summer months, make sure your ceiling fans are switched so they move counter-clockwise. This will move the warm air upward, leaving more comfortable, cool air throughout the home.

Featured photo credit: Binyamin Mellish via pexels.com

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Jane Hurst

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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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