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4 Health Lessons You Need To Learn From Introverts

4 Health Lessons You Need To Learn From Introverts

We have a problem.

And by “we” I mean us introverts.

You see, there’s this thing called the extrovert ideal. It means society rewards those who are loud, outgoing, aggressive, and gregarious.

While it’s true our brains are wired differently and us introverts spend a lot of inside our heads, we can actually teach everyone else a thing or two … especially when it comes to health (both mental and physical).

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Here are 7 health lessons you can learn from introverts.

Listen more than you talk.

It’s not that introverts don’t like to talk, it’s just that we prefer to listen before we talk. And from a health standpoint, this is an invaluable skill. Take it from us: being willing to listen to others about your health is imperative. Sometimes, we can’t see the forest for the trees and someone else in our lives, a doctor, a partner or friend might notice something that we did not — whether it’s a funky-looking mole or an unhealthy habit. And when you stop talking, you can also really “listen” to the inner workings of your own body and mind too.

Enjoy alone time.

For some reason, our extroverted friends and family members feel compelled to make excuses for us when we’re not living up to their standard of affability.

“He just needs to come out of his shell a bit.”

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“Oh, she’s just shy.”

Wrong.

Shyness means being inherently uncomfortable and afraid of negative judgment.

Some introverts qualify as shy—but most of us could care less what people think about us. Believe it or not, we actually like having quiet time to ourselves. It’s how we recharge and unwind. It helps us create balance: both physically and mentally. You should try it. Do a little “soul searching” every day by finding a quiet spot and just focusing on breathing for 5-10 minutes. Research shows this can have a profound impact on your health.

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Make exercise “you time”

I know a lot of people who work out with a partner. This is great … until your partner bails on you because he/she is too busy. We introverts prefer to be alone when we’re at work and when we’re working out–mainly because research shows we prefer minimal noise and distractions in these types of environments.

Working out solo helps us build healthy habits that help us stick with a fitness regimen in the long-term. If you really crave being around others, try a group class–but do it with people you don’t know. Exercise is a very individual thing and the more you make it about you, the more likely you’ll be to stick with it.

Practice healthy behaviors

There’s a psychological phenomenon known as deliberate practice, and it’s one of the most important things you can learn from introverts. Think of deliberate practice as “self-study.” If you want to learn a skill, each day you’d devote time to focused practice.

Here’s an example for you: let’s say you want to learn how to do yoga. The first thing you’d need to do is start small so you can create a habitual routine of it. You could either attend a class or find some videos online to learn the basic movements. Then each day (or at least several days per week) you would practice those movements. Introverts thrive in this type of environment because it allows them to be alone and focus their energy on one thing at a time … which is important when you’re trying to master any healthy behavior.

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Final thoughts.

It’s difficult for extroverts to understand introverts, say education researchers Jill Burruss and Lisa Kaenzig.

I disagree.

Remember this: we don’t just look—we try to see. We don’t just hear, we process. We don’t just learn, we apply. These are the most important things you can learn from introverts.

Featured photo credit: MightyBoyBrian via flickr.com

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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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