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Why You Should Start Working On Your Summer Body In Winter

Why You Should Start Working On Your Summer Body In Winter

Summer is still months away, which means many of you haven’t begun thinking about your summer body yet. But if you’re the kind of person who realizes every April that you have mere weeks before beach season hits, and then hit the gym in a desperate flurry of cardio and weightlifting to drop those love handles before you break out the bikini, then it may be time to consider a new tactic.

A short, month-long burst of exercise and portion control will not transform your body, and if you have loftier goals than losing an easy five to ten pounds, then you’re going to need much more time to get the results you want. Fitness is developed through lifestyle changes, not short challenges or temporary diets and fitness regimes. If you want to get that rocking summer body, you need to get started several months in advance. You need to start in winter.

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Cold weather helps you lose weight faster

The colder weather may encourage bundling up instead of swimsuit season, but it turns out cold weather encourages your body’s fat burning ability to kick into gear. The chilly temperatures force your body to expend more energy to preserve your body’s internal temperature, which means your body is burning through more calories just to stay warm in the winter.

Your body has white and brown fat tissue. The two have different purposes; white tissue is stored energy, and it’s the fat you accumulate from consuming excessive calories. Brown fat tissue, on the other hand, functions more like muscle and actively burns white tissue. It’s found more prominently in babies than adults, but as an adult you still have some brown fat in your body. The cold weather encourages brown fat to kick into gear and start burning white fat tissue.

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Temperatures don’t have to be very low to activate brown tissue. Even a brisk 66 degrees can produce significant fat-burning activity, which means exercising outside in the winter, even for the friendlier climates, can help your fat-burning goals more than hot weather.

Exercise can beat the winter blues

Colder weather is likely to bring about the winter blues. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a common diagnosis around this time, a depressive episode caused by gloomy days and a lack of sunlight. However, exercise has mood-boosting properties that can ward off the negative vibe that winter may bring you. Exercise releases endorphins that help give you a short-term mood boost, but it also helps stabilize your mood long-term, making it a natural antidepressant that’s beneficial to your mental and physical health.

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Rather than letting winter get the best of you, start a regular fitness regime that can help you sort through emotional stress and struggles in the coldest time of the year. It will also help your immune system and cravings for food, making it helpful to keep you healthy and keep your portions and meals controlled and balanced.

Weight loss is a long-term commitment

The most important reason to get started on your summer body in winter is because quick weight loss is notoriously temporary. Just like your bikini wax or that fancy laser hair removal you got, you will have to continue to maintain your body in the months ahead. A regular, gentle introduction to a fitness regime and new diet can help you lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, generally accepted as the most reasonable and realistic amount of weight you can lose without resorting to unhealthy habits or dropping weight that will come right back as soon as you slack off.

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Most people regain the weight they lose, regardless of how they lose it, but those who adopted a gradual lifestyle change versus a sudden dive into a fitness program are more likely to succeed in losing weight and keeping it off long-term.

Rather than a pre-summer hustle, get your fitness goals ready now, before the cold weather transitions into spring. The head start will give you a better chance at success and help you rock that bathing suit with confidence in July.

Featured photo credit: Jakob Montrasio via flickr.com

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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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