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10 Foods You Need to Include in Your Diet This Year

10 Foods You Need to Include in Your Diet This Year

Have you pledged to finally adopt a better diet this year? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people say they want to eat healthier as part of their New Year’s resolution.

Sadly, a full 88% have likely already given up.

Would you like to finally stick with your diet this year? First, start thinking less in terms of “diet,” and more “healthy lifestyle change.” Second, eat more of the following foods:

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1. Spinach

Popeye was one smart dude. Spinach is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It’s loaded with nutrients like Vitamins K and A, and folate. Whip up a quick and healthy raw spinach salad by combining baby spinach leaves with a squeeze of lemon juice, olive oil, fresh garlic, and a few almonds.

2. Beets

Beets are another food you should definitely include in your diet this year. Beets are high in folate, fiber, and potassium. If you don’t like raw beets, try roasting them and mixing them with some roasted sweet potatoes to lighten their earthy flavor.

3. Avocados

Avocados are actually a fruit, and one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Avocados are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. They are also a great source of fiber. Mix up a quick guacamole dip by combining avocado with lime juice, salt, onion, and minced jalapeno. Yum.

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4. Blueberries

Blueberries are a complete superfood with too many benefits to list. Blueberries help combat aging, ward off disease, lower blood pressure, protect heart and brain, and improve memory.

5. Walnuts

Walnuts contain heart-healthy fats that can lower your cholesterol levels. Eat a handful of raw walnuts every day, or sprinkle some on your salads.

6. Sweet potatoes

While regular potatoes are one of the biggest causes of weight gain, sweet potatoes are one of the best sources of beta carotene. Beta carotene can help support healthy eyes. They’re also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Try this healthy sweet potato chips recipe.

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7. Salmon

Salmon is loaded with muscle-building protein and contains heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Make sure you choose wild salmon over farmed, though. Farmed salmon is nasty stuff.

8. Eggs

There’s a huge misconception that eggs are bad for you. Nothing could be further from the truth. Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. They have 13 essential nutrients, and are a great source of protein and good fats.

9. Olive oil

Research shows that the Mediterranean diet, which is high in healthy fats like olive oil, can reduce your risk of cancer. Replace unhealthy foods in your diet, like margarine and vegetable oil, with olive oil. Here’s an extra bonus: olive oil has other uses beyond diet.

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10. Dark chocolate

You’ll be pleased to know that dark chocolate is actually good for you–and you should definitely include more of it in your diet this year. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and can even help lower your blood pressure. I recommend anything with 70% cocoa or higher to get the maximum benefits.

Finally, knowing what foods to eat is great, but it won’t do you any good if you don’t get into the habit of eating healthier.

Here’s how to do it: first, commit (in writing) to eating healthier and tell everyone you know. This helps hold you accountable. Next, slowly start replacing the foods in your refrigerator and cupboard with the ones above.

The key to turning your “diet” into permanent healthy eating habits is to make it as easy as possible on yourself. If you stock your kitchen with unhealthy snacks, you’re going to reach for those unhealthy snacks when you need a quick fix.

Fortunately, once healthy eating becomes a habit it’s second nature. And, it will lead to other healthy changes in your life.

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Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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Last Updated on June 20, 2019

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

Conclusion

While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] frontiers: Intra- and interbrain synchronization and network properties when playing guitar in duets
[2] http://www.dana.org/News/Details.aspx?id=43160

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