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7 Proven Ways Music Makes Your Life Better

7 Proven Ways Music Makes Your Life Better

Whether you favor Beethoven or Slayer, there is one thing I think we can all agree on: music makes life better. But here is the proof as science would have it, and it’s not just in the ways we think.

1. Listening To Music Reduces Stress

A lot of us intuitively turn to relaxing music when we are feeling stressed or tired. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we’re not just imagining things. Significant research backs it up. In particular, slow, quiet classical music is suggested to have the most soothing effect. So if you have a hard time dealing with stress, compiling a playlist of some fitting classical songs could be a good idea. Or try listening to a relaxing, classical-style movie soundtrack. One study actually showed this type of music had more powerful effects on reducing anxiety than anti-anxiety drugs.

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2. Listening To Music Improves Endurance

Do you work out? Have you always felt like you perform better when you listen to music? Odd as it might seem, there has actually been a lot of research done on this subject. And sure enough, one study shows that music can increase endurance by 15%. So if you’ve always felt like you lasted longer when listening to music, chances are that you’re right.

In addition, a Norwegian study shows that listening to classical music is the most beneficial when trying to increase endurance while spinning. One theory is that the continuity of a classical piece helps you focus, which in turn allows you to persevere longer. However, another study suggests that it’s not the type of music, but rather the speed of the music—the beats per minute (bpm)—that matter. According to the study, the optimal speed would be 125–140 bpm. This jog.fm page lists songs by their bpm. For optimal performance, maybe you should pick a classical piece, in case it actually does make a difference.

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3. It Can Make You Healthier

It might seem too good to be true, but some research suggests that there are measurable health benefits from simply listening to music. Ever wondered why music plus alcohol seems to breed bad decisions and odd behavior? Listening to music can also release dopamine, often dubbed “the pleasure chemical,” much like eating or having sex would. This is good news if you’re dieting! You could perhaps substitute the pleasure achieved through eating your comfort foods by indulging in your favorite music, with none of the negative health repercussions.

4. Singing With A Group Of People Makes You Happier

Ever thought people that sing in a choir look a bit…too happy? Well, as it turns out, it’s not just your imagination. Science actually explains what makes them so happy. And the best part of it is, even less-than-great singers experienced the same positive effects. What does this mean for you? Hopefully, that the next time you get the chance to have a sing-along with someone else, you take it, instead of worrying about how you will be received. It’s very likely to cheer you up! One of the studies listed also suggest that singing together increases bonding. And don’t worry, if you feel like you’re just too shy, you can stick to singing in the shower. But just make sure you do it a bit more often.

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5. Learning To Play An Instrument As A Kid Makes You More Successful Later

Research shows a noticeable correlation between learning to play an instrument as a child, and becoming successful later in life. So if you were always upset with your parents for forcing you to play the violin—or like me, the piano—take a minute to be grateful. I just thanked my father. One of my biggest regrets these days is that I never actually tried to learn to play the piano properly.

6. It Makes You Smarter

Even as an adult. So don’t fret if you didn’t get to learn an instrument as a kid. Pick one now, and master it. The research shows this can increase your IQ by up to seven points. But let’s face it: that’s far from the best part. I mean, there’s the perceived social value of knowing how to play an instrument, and of course, just the pleasure of being able to play an instrument well. That’s pretty awesome too! Needless to say, I’ve started playing the piano again.

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7. It Improves Your Memory

The interesting part about the research is that it shows music helps your brain develop in multiple areas, one of the most significant being your memory. So if you’re troubled by a bad memory, learning to play an instrument is something you should consider.

Classical music seems to be the biggest winner of the research. If you’ve been disenchanted until now, perhaps it’s the time to start exploring a few of the greats. While exactly why music has such an effect on us has yet to be completely explained, it’s hard to argue the fact that your life is better with music in it.

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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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