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How Swimming Changes Your Brain And Makes You Mentally Healthier

How Swimming Changes Your Brain And Makes You Mentally Healthier

We all know how relaxing a good swim can be. It allows more oxygen to flow to the muscles and forces you to regulate your breathing. Swimming is also a great way to reduce stress. Swimming underwater is like being in another world. The water distorts the sky above, casting the sun’s reflection into an almost ethereal pattern on the bottom of the pool. It’s no wonder swimming can put you into an ideal mental space.

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    How does the brain react while swimming?

    Swimming is a meditative exercise. Your brain function improves via a process known as hippocampal neurogenesis, where your brain replaces lost cells resulting from stress. When you hit the water, your mood is lifted immediately from the coolness of the water, leaving you free from tiredness and depression.

    A recent study by Dr. Howard Carter of University of Western Australia, School of Sport Science shows how the brain reacts during swimming. The team of scientists, led by Carter , hypothesized that water immersion to the level of the right atrium in the heart would increase the delivery of blood within the brain. The right atrium is located on the upper right hand side of the heart and is one of four hollow chambers of the heart. The right atrium receives blood from two large veins: the superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava. The job of both of these veins is to return blood that has provided oxygen to various sites in the body; the returning blood, then, is low in oxygen. The coronary sinus, which is a smaller vein in the wall of the heart, also drains blood into the right atrium.

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    We found that brain blood flow is higher when subjects were immersed in water up to the level of the heart compared to on land — laying the ground work for further investigation of its effects on cerebrovascular health,” said Dr. Howard Carter in The American Journal of Physiology.

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      While the participants were immersed in water, blood flow to their middle cerebral arteries increased by 14 percent while blood flow to their posterior cerebral arteries increased by nine percent.

      “As with land-based exercise, different types of water-based activities, such as water aerobics and swimming, have slightly different effects on heart function and cerebral blood flow,” said Carter.

      Moreover, swimming can improve your mental well-being…

      • It can help you to shut out external stimuli: Once you immerse yourself into the water, outside sounds are cut off. The only thing you feel is the water against your skin. You focus on your breathing, the bottom of the pool, and the ease of the water. Things are simplified when you’re swimming. It’s a form of moving mediation.
      • It’s a great form of low impact exercise: Gliding through the water gets your heart pumping. It’s also great for your muscles and lungs, as well as having low impact on your joints. When you take care of your body, your emotional well-being is greatly improved. Swimming a few times a week is a great way to exercise and improve your mood.
      • It releases endorphins: A good swim workout releases natural feel good compounds called endorphins. It can also convert excess fight-or-flight stress hormones into muscle relaxation. New brain cell growth is promoted as a result of releasing the stress.

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      Melissa Atkinson

      Freelance writer

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      Last Updated on March 3, 2021

      9 Meal Planning Apps That Will Help You Eat Healthier

      9 Meal Planning Apps That Will Help You Eat Healthier

      Planning your meals is one of the best ways to save money and eat healthy at the same time. When you make a meal plan before you shop, you are not only making for a less stressful week, but you are giving yourself a chance to eat a healthier diet. Planned meals allow you to avoid mindless snacking and stay in control of your caloric intake. Meal planning apps utilize technology to help you lay out your meals for the week and put you in control of your food.

      Let’s take a look at 9 meal planning apps that will place you on the road to healthier eating.

      1. Pepperplate

         

        Pepperplate hopes to make meal planning easier in various ways. Firstly, attacking the indecision that comes with coming up with meal choices, Pepperplate allows individuals to organize the recipes they find on the application, as well as those they add themselves to their personal Pepperplate account.

        It works as a grocery list companion as well. From there, Pepperplate walks you through recipe instructions to prepare meals in a snap. By planning meals ahead of time, days, or even weeks in advance, you can ensure that your favorite recipes are there for you when you need them.

        Price: Free

        Get the app here:Android

        2. Paprika

        Paprika Recipe Manager 3 App – Mobile and Tablet Apps Online Directory – AppsDiary

           

          Paprika works by making its way into every part of your digital life. On your computer as both an application and website, Paprika also finds itself on multiple mobile platforms, as well, making it one of the most accessible meal planning apps. This allows you to grab recipes you find just about anywhere and have them added to your list.

          This is, of course, with all of the features that we come to expect from meal prep applications, including advanced grocery lists, the ability to plan meals well in advance, and adjusted recipes.

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          Price: $4.99

          Get the app here: iOSAndroid

          3. Ziplist

          ZipList's Grocery List & Recipe Search App Gets Overhauled | TechCrunch

             

            Along with weekly meal plans, with Ziplist individuals are able to also get coupons to ensure that they are continuously saving money while also saving the stress of coming up with creative meals. From food sites, you constantly have a curation of unique and tasty meals to choose from.

            The web recipe clipper that can be found on the ZipList allows you to constantly add new recipes to the app. Furthermore, ZipList allows individuals to share recipes. This is a great way to get input on the dinner selection for the night.

            Price: Free

            Get the app here: iOS, Android

            4. AllRecipes Dinner Spinner

            Allrecipes Dinner Spinner App Review - Appedus App Review

              Using various categories, including cuisine, dietary restrictions, and even cooking time, you are able to make a weekly meal plan that will always keep things interesting with this meal planning app. As a great way to remember your meal plans, the web component of Allrecipes’s meal planning tool allows you to also print the plan for the week. This is great to put on your refrigerator to let the family know what to expect for dinner each night.

              Furthermore, videos are available to ensure that you don’t get lost in the recipe instructions.

              Price: Free

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              Get the app here: iOS, Android

              5. MealBoard

              The Best Meal-Planning Apps for 2021 | Digital Trends

                 

                After we go to the grocery store, we don’t use our whole supply of purchases on one meal. We usually have some left over that can be used to create new meals. MealBoard makes use of these leftover ingredients in the recommendation of new meals from the application.

                By looking at the old meals you have included in your meal plans, you are able to use the leftover coriander or cauliflower from older recipes you had that week. Along with this, you have the other obvious features, like shopping lists and sharing. You can also make constant adjustments to your meal plans when cravings change.

                Price: $2.99

                Get the app hereiOS

                6. Love Food Hate Waste

                Best eco-friendly apps to go green in 2018

                   

                  Similar to how the previous application allows you to make use of leftover ingredients for meal planning, Love Food Hate Waste makes use of leftover meals to give you new suggestions. Along with being cost conscious and health conscious, this application is also environmentally conscious in reducing the amount of waste that comes with planning and cooking a new meal every single night, making it one of the best meal planning apps for those who want to give Mother Nature a helping hand.

                  All meals come with step-by-step instructions, and portion control is a focus of this application as well to ensure you’re staying healthy.

                  Price: Free

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                  Get the app here: iOS, Android

                  7. Menu Planner

                     

                     

                    Menu Planner is another application with many of the features we come to expect, but it’s only available for iOS. There’s also the feature of ingredient shopping based on cost and the store in your town.

                    The UI is very navigable and allows you to split your meals based on breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack. You can create meals based on ingredients already in your pantry or make use of the convenient shopping list to go to the store to prepare new meals.

                    Price: $2.99

                    Get the app here: iOS

                    8. Cook Smarts

                    Cook Smarts Makes Meal Planning Easy for Busy Families - helloyummy

                       

                       

                       

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                      Cook Smarts is the most advanced of all the meal planning apps that we mentioned today. Available as an online application, Cook Smarts is a regimen that not only offers general meal recommendations, but meal plan recommendations based on your preferences and dietary restrictions.

                      Cook Smarts presents videos and other resources to make healthy eating easier and more approachable, all while emphasizing the use of natural ingredients. It helps you learn how to prepare a dish while also offering lessons in the care of produce. Unlike the applications mentioned, Cook Smarts doesn’t just offer the meals to you or even just the step-by-step ingredients; the program gives you tools to carry these tips on for life.

                      Price: $21 / 3 months

                      Get the app here: Website

                      9. Evernote Food

                      Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 4.56.10 PM

                        Evernote, the largely popular note-taking application, would be a good application for those looking to plan meals. However, it’s easier to have an application geared toward such a feat, rather than working around one not specified for it. Because of this, Evernote created Evernote Food, which allows you to not only collect recipes, but also pictures of some of the food you encounter, to save and create those meals in your own home.

                        Unlike the other meal planning apps, Evernote Food understands that you won’t find yourself cooking 365 days a year, so the integration of restaurants is a great way of ensuring you can eat out with friends and family and still keep your healthy eating habits on track.

                        Price: Free

                        Get the app hereiOS, Android

                        Final Thoughts

                        If you’re trying to eat healthier and reduce the stress around your meals, meal planning apps are a great place to start. They can help you find interesting recipes, organize your grocery list, and use leftovers from the night before. Choose any of the above to start laying out healthy and delicious meals that will fill your week with tasty foods.

                        More on Meal Planning

                        Featured photo credit: Edgar Castrejon via unsplash.com

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