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Morning Showers Can Boost Your Mental Health, Here’s Why

Morning Showers Can Boost Your Mental Health, Here’s Why

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems are serious and widespread. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that over 350 million people around the world suffer from anxiety, depression, or other emotional disorder. These numbers around grim ‒ and affect the quality of life not only for the patient but his or her family as well.

The good news is that there are many different ways you can do to improve your mental health apart from medications and therapy (though those are important too!) Some of these lifestyle changes ‒ eating well, resting, controlling your stress, and making sure you have an active social life ‒ are easier to implement than others. One such simple change to help boost your mental health appears to simply take a shower in the morning.

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What A Recent Survey Showed

A recent survey was conducted by phone on a thousand women who were asked about their showering habits. Surveyors specifically asked about whether the women showered in the morning or at night. The results were somewhat startling:

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  • Over 90% of the surveyed women said that if they got up early and took a shower, that this practice positively influenced the rest of their day
  • 2/3 of the women who took a.m. showers said it made them feel more relaxed
  • 1/2 of those who took a morning shower said it made them feel more attractive

This was just an informal survey and not a scientific study but it did attract people’s attention to the issue of whether showering in the morning can actually help your overall mental and emotional health. Surprisingly, there is some evidence to back up this lifestyle change.

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The Science Behind the Survey

There are actually several scientific reasons why the simple act of showering in the morning can set you up for better mental health if you do it on a regular basis.

  • Chemical changes in the brain. To begin with, there are some evidences that cold showers can actually affect the chemical structure of your brain and lead to positive changes. For instance, the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine conducted a study where they found that the act of taking a cold shower in the morning changed the chemical levels in the part of the brain which makes noradrenaline to help give a feeling of energy and alertness.
  • Boosted energy levels. Fatigue can be one of the most difficult parts of depression to deal with. Cold showers help with that, too!  For one thing, it has been shown that these showers help to lower levels of melatonin throughout the body in order to boost sagging energy levels. It also increases blood flow and circulation, which in turn increases oxygen levels in the brain that, in turn, increase mental alertness. Also, the cold water itself hitting the skin can be a stimulant equal to having a cup of coffee in the morning.
  • Weight loss. Weight gain and the inability to lose weight can often lead to depression or low self-esteem. However, there does seem to be some evidence that a cold or cool shower in the morning can actually help you lose weight. One Scandinavian study, for instance, found that when the body was exposed to brief period of cold temperatures in the morning (the way it would be if you took a cold shower), that this stimulated the body’s metabolism and made it easier to burn fat and lose extra weight, to the tune of about 9 extra pounds a year. That can add up when you are trying to lose excess pounds.

So give it a try today!  Morning showering is an easy habit to get into, does not require any money or special equipment or preparation and it can actually help improve your mental/emotional health and from there your overall quality of life. Little lifestyle changes like this one can, in the long run, led to large and positive impacts such as the health improvements discussed above.

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Brian Wu

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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!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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