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Five Awe-Inspiring Documentaries You Must Watch

Five Awe-Inspiring Documentaries You Must Watch

It can be argued effectively that documentaries have become one of the leading genres in the film industry. The sheer quality of these films highlights this, with the category getting an increasingly prominent role at the Academy Awards. It’s now big business, and the dramatic impact a documentary can deliver rivals even the most bombastic Hollywood blockbuster.

Here are five documentaries you simply have to watch—each is a mix of extreme emotional and life-affirming grit; poignant, explosive, ridiculous, brilliant, and downright life changing. Add them to your DVD collection today!

Stranded: I’ve come from a plane that crashed on the mountains

    In October 1972 an amateur rugby team’s plane crash landed into a remote region of the Andes cordillera. Hopelessly trapped in the freezing conditions, the survivors began a brutal, two month fight for survival. Resorting to eating the bodies of their dead friends (preserved in the freezing temperatures), it was ultimately three brave young men who decided to attempt the arduous trek out of the mountains. Their first obstacle? An 18,000 ft mountain.

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    Nominated for the 2008 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Stranded is the tale of the 1972 Andes Plane Crash as told by the 16 survivors. It’s as emotional and mesmerising as a film can be.

    Read More on IMDB: Stranded: I’ve come from a plane that crashed on the mountains

    Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet

      20 year old Jason Becker was, by the early ‘90s, rapidly becoming a rock star. His natural gift for the guitar was wowing America and superstardom beckoned. He had placed all other elements of his life on hold in dedication to music; a commitment which made the diagnosis of the debilitating Lou Gehrig’s disease even more tragic. Doctors informed him he had only a few years to live.

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      22 years later, Becker is confined to a wheelchair; he can’t speak, or move, and is cared for by his family 24/7. He communicates through his eyes thanks to an ingenious letter board system created by his father, and despite these terrible limitations his sense of humour, and lust for life, remains undiminished. He is very much alive, and he’s still composing music!

      Read More on IMDB: Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet

      Man on Wire

        In 1974, diminutive Frenchman Philippe Petit defied death by performing a high-wire walk between the World Trade Centre buildings in New York. This exhilarating Oscar-winning documentary follows Petit’s mission: from the plan’s inception to its lofty completion, how he pulled it off is laid bare. You are left to marvel at Petit’s otherwordly skills, whilst questioning his nerve to even consider such an undertaking.

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        Understandably poignant throughout, Petit’s enthusiastic dialogue, and the remarkable accompanying pictures show you what it’s like to be on top of the world!

        Read More on IMDB: Man on Wire

        Grizzly Man
        grizzly_man

          In a remote Alaskan peninsula, Timothy Treadwell found small fame in America as the man who dared to live with wild grizzly bears for 13 consecutive summers. Believing himself to have an affinity with the animals—a state of mind which saw him self-impose a public image of an eco warrior—he took to filming the bears in their natural habitat. The result is an intimate portrayal of nature in action, but throughout the beautiful scenes there lurks the knowledge of Treadwell’s fate. In October 2003 his daring came to a horrifying end.

          Werner Herzog’s award-winning film displays the harsh reality of nature colliding with human endeavour.

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          Read More on IMDB: Grizzly Man

          Senna

            Ayrton Senna’s genius as a racing driver is undisputed; in Formula One he amassed three World Drivers Championships, 41 victories, 65 pole positions, and the respect of the world. Adored in his native Brazil, the handsome, intelligent Senna was a superstar in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, but his difficulties with the political nature of the sport, and his morally dubious dealings with his competitors (chiefly arch-rival Alain Prost), made him a controversial figure.

            Senna is candid, poignant, and thrilling, but what this documentary truly displays is how one person can make a huge difference.

            Read More on IMDB: Senna

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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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