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Achieving Work-Life Balance #2: Long Work Hours and the Impact It May Have On Your Family

Achieving Work-Life Balance #2: Long Work Hours and the Impact It May Have On Your Family

In many areas of the world eight hours is considered a traditional workday. Even though it is known as a standard workday, a large portion of the world population works more than eight hours. An employee often works more than eight hours a day because their employer requires it or because they need the money. Regardless of the reason for doing so, it has been proven that long hours can have a negative impact on an employee and their family.

There are a number of health risks associated with working long hours. These health risks are elevated for workers in certain professions. Working longer than the traditional eight hours is likely to place a large amount of stress on employees. It has been known that stress is likely to cause a sleep deprivation. Individuals who suffer from a lack of sleep and a large amount of stress are likely to have a weak immune system. To be able to fight illness an individual body needs to receive the appropriate amount of rest and relaxation.

When an employer puts their health at risk they are not only putting themselves in danger, but those around them. Contagious colds and illnesses could spread from employee to employee or it can even be brought into the home. The last thing that an employer wants is for employees to get ill and request time off from work, but that does not stop many of them from requesting or requiring their employees to work long hours.

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The most obvious impact that long hours will have on you and your family is the amount of time that you will get to spend with them. Whether you are a newlywed or a parent, the time that you spend at home is important to your family relationships. It is not uncommon for tension to be present in a household where one or more of the home occupants are working long hours. It is also possible for unnecessary stress to occur when one family member is picking up extra household duties due to the other one working long hours.

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When an employee has regularly been putting in long hours at their workplace it is often difficult to stop. It is not uncommon for an employee to fear asking their employer for a reduction in hours in fear of losing their job. If a job was accepted on the terms that workdays would be longer than most traditional ones it may be difficult for you to find a solution to your long hours. If you agreed to the work arrangement your only alternative may be finding an organization that values the balance between working and life. If you did not agree to work long hours and were only doing so to bring in extra income you are encouraged to speak with your employer about returning to traditional work hours if your hours are having a negative impact on yourself and your family.

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There are many individuals who are required to work long hours or multiple jobs to financially support themselves and their family. Even if you are one of those individuals who must work long hours you still deserve to have a healthy balance between your work and your life.

— Jennifer Foote.
We will continue to discuss work & life balance in the series of Achieving Work-Life Balance. Stay tuned.

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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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