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Rush Hour Traffic: Get Through it Collision and Stress-Free

Rush Hour Traffic: Get Through it Collision and Stress-Free

It is recommended by ancient traditions that you should begin your day in a calm and relaxing fashion. From waking up slowly to having a few moments of stillness, our bodies and minds need to be introduced to the new day in a rather subtle manner. Are your mornings blissful and calm? Not mine!

Most of us wake up to a raging alarm and daily news reports that outlines everything and anything that could have possibly gone wrong with the world. Then we tune into the rush hour traffic report followed by the weather report (if you live in a winter wonderland like me) to determine if we have a few extra minutes to spare or if we are already running late.

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There is absolutely no benefit in a stressful beginning and one needs to find a creative way out of the everyday anxieties of life. Here are some tips that can help ease your mornings.

Can You Avoid It All?

As prevention is the best cure, is there anything you can do to avoid rush hour in the first place? Ask your employer for flexible work hours or maybe arrange for a school bus for the kids and avoid the detour?

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Though your initial reaction might be that of disbelief that this is even a possibility, you’ll be surprised to see how many companies are actually open to the idea of a flexible working schedule. Being a part of the new generation, employers have also evolved with time and are more concerned with productivity and effective time management than a restrictive work schedule. The one solution fits all days are gone as skills of yesterday can become hindrances of tomorrow if they don’t adapt with time.

Working from home once or twice a week is also becoming increasingly popular in the North American work culture. This gives employees some quiet working time free of office distractions as well as avoiding the regular commute while the employer is also at ease as productivity can easily be judged when you report back to the office the following day.

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Learn about your companies policies and talk to your HR manager to evaluate the outlook of your company. Talk to your boss to get his opinion and you just might be able to create a personalized solution for yourself.

Can’t Avoid It All?

Carpooling to me is the next best alternative if you can’t possibly avoid rush hour as it minimizes your exposure to it and maybe even gives you access to the priority driving lanes. Not only will this give you a break from the anxiety that exists between the accelerating and braking moments, it also gives you the opportunity to read a book or maybe even take an extra nap yet not lose the comfort of a private drive.

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If all other ways fail, giving yourself some extra time and having breakfast can make all the difference. Lets be honest, hunger only gets the unpleasant side of us out and an unfulfilled tummy combined with running late is simply a recipe for disaster. Be kind to yourself, find time for breakfast and give yourself an extra few minutes so that the heart rate does not rise with every red light that comes by your way.

Why not try listening to something soothing and relaxing as you embark on your morning drive? Though hard rock and hip-hop sound cool to the ears in our teens, starting our mornings with heavy music can make the brain instantaneously tired and clumsy. Try listening to something soft and soothing instead. Maybe some meditation music or an audio disk of a book you’ve wanted to read or a new language you admire? If nothing interests you this early in the morning, let there be silence. This may be the only time of the day where you can actually have some quiet time.

Featured photo credit:  a street of shanghai on the night via Shutterstock

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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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