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This Single Reason Will Convince You To Go To Japan At Least Once In Your Life

This Single Reason Will Convince You To Go To Japan At Least Once In Your Life

What do you think of when you hear the word “Japan?” Do you think of postcard-pretty parks strewn with cherry blossoms? Do you think of sushi and other delicious dishes? Or perhaps Japan brings to mind your favourite J-Pop bands and anime shows? Maybe you picture the land of beautiful aesthetics — of origami crafts and ikebana flowers and gorgeous kimonos?

We could give you a thousand reasons why everyone should visit Japan at least once in their lifetime and be awed by the simple and mindful ways of living, the colourful folktales and local culture, and the minimalist decor, but simply put, the best reason is this: Japanese people are very polite.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/16228551621/sizes/l

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Source: Flickr

The Magic Of Omotenashi

“Omotenashi” or “Japanese hospitality” is a way of life in the land of the Rising Sun. The Japanese practise politeness and kindness not only to minimise conflict, but also to promote greater peace and harmony in this troubled world. They not only believe that kindness should be repaid with kindness, but also emphasize that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Whether you’re a foreigner or a native, a day in Japan will include several random acts of kindness.

Historical Traditions

Politeness

    Source: Flickr

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    The Omotenashi tradition can be seen in their formal tea ceremonies as well as the codes of conduct in martial arts. Omotenashi, which can be literally translated as the “spirit of service,” is closely related to the meticulous tea ceremonies which are considered a sacred ritual by most people. It not only involves the process of tea making and the right way of flavouring, but also the picking of appropriate bowls, creating the right atmosphere for the guests, decorating the place with flowers and lights, and treating guests with extreme reverence without expecting anything in return. The guest too reciprocates with kindness and gratitude.

    The ethical code of the samurais, also known as “Bushido” or the “Way Of The Warrior” also stresses fair play, control over one’s emotions, and respect for everyone — including one’s enemies. It is thus a complex code that highlights the need for discipline and adherence to one’s morals and honour, somewhat similar to medieval chivalry. This code not only governed all samurai battles, but also extends to cover day-to-day interactions with people in society. Omotenashi combines both traditions and offers a path to creating a happier and harmonious life, in tune with nature.

    Random Acts Of Kindness

    Oh - the politeness!

      Source: Flickr

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      If you’ve ever visited Japan, you’ll know that Omotenashi is infectious and can be observed everywhere. Foreigners too are at an advantage, for the Japanese culture stipulates that greater politeness should be shown to those outside one’s group — especially strangers and “gajin” or the “outside people.” You might remember random people bowing to you as they sat beside you on the bus and even when they got up. Those suffering from the common cold often wear surgical masks to prevent the spread of infection. If there’s some new construction work to be done in the locality, neighbours often gift boxes of washing powder to clean the clothes from the inevitable dirt and dust.

      If you’re planning a trip to Japan, don’t be surprised if a random stranger volunteers to help you with directions or offers you free advice. Restaurant staff will greet you with an enthusiastic “irasshaimase” or “welcome” and a bow. Even the machines practise politeness. Taxi doors open automatically, and if you’re waiting for a long time, the lift is sure to apologise. Even the toilet seat will spring to attention when you step in.

      https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/15927296051/sizes/l

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      Source: Flickr

      A trip to Japan is sure to herald some spiritual growth in the visitor. Not only will it teach you to be more well-mannered, but it will also inspire you to be an empathetic human being and do your best to make the world a better place.

      Featured photo credit: Kristoffer Trolle via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on February 21, 2019

      Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

      Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

      Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

      If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

      When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

      In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

      1. Salmon

      Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

      It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

      Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

      Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

      Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

      Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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      2. Blueberries

      Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

      Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

      Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

      Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

      Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

      3. Turmeric

      Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

      Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

      Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

      Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

      Curcumin has also been shown to:

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      • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
      • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
      • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
      • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

      4. Coffee

      Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

      Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

      Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

      Coffee can also:

      • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
      • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
      • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
      • Improve your memory.
      • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

      5. Broccoli

      What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

      Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

      Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

      Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

      Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

      6. Bone broth

      Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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      Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

      Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

      Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

      Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

      With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

      Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

      7. Walnuts

      Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

      Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

      Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

      Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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      8. Eggs

      For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

      Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

      Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

      9. Dark chocolate

      You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

      Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

      Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

      Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

      Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

      Conclusion

      Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

      In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

      If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

      More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
      [2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
      [3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
      [4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
      [5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
      [6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
      [7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
      [8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
      [9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
      [10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
      [11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
      [12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
      [13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
      [14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
      [15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
      [16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
      [17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
      [18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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