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Last Updated on November 9, 2017

The Big Sick – A Modern Day Awkward Version of Romeo & Juliet

The Big Sick – A Modern Day Awkward Version of Romeo & Juliet

We tend to think that society is progressive, liberal, and open-minded. But then again, interracial and intercultural marriages are still noticed and frowned upon – especially with older generations. Traditional views still persist for many cultures within our country. When young people from different cultures fall in love, they often end up having Romeo-and-Juliet-type battles to fight for a chance to stay together.

Sometimes love prevails. But other times, a family is just torn apart by these relationships. Kids are disowned, couples end up eloping, or the relationship ends and both are simply heartbroken.

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The Big Sick is a romantic comedy that follows an interracial couple’s journey as they deal with their cultural differences. It’s loosely based on the real-life romance between Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) and his wife Emily Gordon.

From family disputes and match-making failures, to looking after a loved one who is ill and going through a near-death experience…The Big Sick has plenty of funny and genuine moments to convince viewers that true love will always prevail.

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    The main character, Kumail, is a Pakistani stand-up comedian, who meets an American graduate student named Emily during one of his stand-up shows. A one-night stand soon blossoms into a full-on relationship, but this leaves Kumail worried that his traditional Muslim parents will disapprove. When Emily comes down with an illness that leaves her in a coma, Kumail finds himself developing a deep and lasting bonds with her mother and father.

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    Arranged marriages are still fairly common among Pakistani families, where parents will often set up a series of dates for their children in hopes it will lead to marriage. And marrying outside of their culture is strictly forbidden. The Big Sick puts the spotlight on this sensitive but very real issue, when Kumail is consistently caught unaware by his mother inviting Pakistani women to their family dinners.

    Kumail’s own brother is happy in an arranged marriage. The lighthearted acting and many authentic perspectives make this film a pleasure to watch. At the heart of the film is the idea that family ties are the ones that bind. Whether it’s Kumail’s traditional and narrow-minded family or Emily’s larger-than-life parents, the movie never fails to show just how deep and lasting family bonds are, no matter how difficult the challenges.

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    And the challenges seem insurmountable sometimes! It’s not easy to stand up for what you truly love or believe in, but if it’s something worth fighting for, this movie reminds us to persevere. That’s another big takeaway from this excellent film: The Big Sick finds light in the dark. A movie about a girlfriend in a coma and a man risking his family to be with her manages to be both funny and deeply, authentically moving.

    If you like what you see, you can purchase the full film on iTunes. Watch the trailer here:

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    Anna Chui

    Communication Expert

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    12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

    12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

    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:

    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.

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    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.

    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.

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    It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

    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!

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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