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Reap Joy from this Thanks – Giving Holiday

Reap Joy from this Thanks – Giving Holiday

Today is Thanksgiving for the United States of America, and that includes us here in my home of Hawaii as the 50th State of the union. We’ve only been part of America since 1959, yet according to the kūpuna here (our elders) we’ve celebrated this very American holiday for much longer; we Hawaiians are quick to jump into most new excuses for celebration! Thanksgiving is but one example for us; we have such a melting pot of cultures here in our islands we celebrate holidays thought of as European, Asian, African, Canadian, Australian — you name it. People in Hawaii love food and drink, and we love to party.

As you read this, I can guarantee you that if I’m awake right now, I’m in a party and I’m snacking. Food, and lots of it, is always the common denominator for holidays celebrated here. With the blessings of nearly always pleasant weather, we’re big on outdoor picnics and barbecues, even for the Thanksgiving turkey, for we were cooking food in the imu (underground oven) surrounded by ti leaf and intensely heated rocks long before stoves and ovens were even invented.

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With the day of the holiday itself so completely concentrated on the preparation of food and simply having a good time with friends and family, there’s usually not much done the day before the holiday either — that ends up to be the time you do anything else associated with the reason for the holiday in the first place (or you shop for the food).

So yesterday, I spent nearly my entire day writing thank you cards and notes, both electronic ones and hand-written ones. I made some phone calls, but they were almost all about the same singular thing: Saying thank you, and taking full advantage of the fact that Thanksgiving was forcing the issue with me. I say mahalo (thank you in Hawaiian) quite a bit, but I realize I will never ever be able to say it as much as people should hear it from me. I have an awful lot to be grateful for, and living with an attitude of gratitude is good for me in so many ways.

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A friend in Europe wrote back to me, “Thank you for the card Rosa, it was nice of you to think of me too although we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.” Well, today, you can give thanks no matter where you are; Drop the capital T if you must, and just think of it as thanks – giving day. Use this as your excuse to party hearty in the pure joy of appreciating all you have, and all who are a part of your life. Say “thank you” whether the word for you is Talofa (Samoan) Salamat (Filipino) Muito obrigado (Portuguese) Danke (German) or something else. (For more ways to say thank you in other languages, click in here.)

There is something about that sentiment, thank you, that people love hearing; saying it softens your tone and gives a fullness and richness to your voice. I have never heard someone say thank you genuinely and from the heart and have it sound anything but wonderful.

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Mahalo nui loa; thank you very much for reading today. I fully realize how much in this life can vie for your attentions, and I sincerely do appreciate that you have shared this brief moment with me. Now, are you hungry?

Rosa Say, author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog.

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Related Article References: 1. Write Your Joy. 2. Be Grateful and Be Happy.
Previous Thursday Column: How to Drive a Customer Crazy.

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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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