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The Best Kitchen Appliances People on a Budget Should Have

The Best Kitchen Appliances People on a Budget Should Have

What´s missing when you look at your kitchen? Chances are, it´s not a miniature donut maker or an automatic butter slicer, which are in fact real gadgets on the market today. Because of the proliferation of kitschy kitchen appliances, it´s more important than ever for homeowners on a budget to choose the ones that they need — and will use — the most. Below are the three main criteria for choosing appliances wisely, as well as three smart ways to save money no matter how you want to outfit your kitchen.

What Will You Get in Return?

This is perhaps the most important question to ask yourself before purchasing a new appliance: what is the return value? This means that what you buy should not only warrant how much you spend on it, but it should exceed its original value by making your time spent in the kitchen easier.

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The ceramic skillet is one accoutrement that is up to the task. Ceramic skillets are not only easy to clean, saving you time after you finish cooking, but they also help keep food warmer for longer by retaining heat. Most importantly, though, ceramic skillets have none of the toxins that scientists have found in some varieties of non-stick cookware. Want more bang for your buck? Consider investing in a pricier skillet that could last a lifetime (depending on your warranty), rather than a cheaper model that will only last a year or two. Easier clean-up, extended warmth and non-toxic make-up give the ceramic skillet a high return value.

How Often Will You Use It?

In a similar vein as return value, frequency of use can help you decide whether or not an appliance for your kitchen is worth it. To calculate this number, divide the cost of an appliance by how often you intend to use it. For kitschy or seasonal items, the cost per use might not warrant the initial price. For things you´ll use every day, it´s worth the investment.

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One such item is a microwave. Heating and re-heating food is something that we do every day, so investing in a nice microwave would most likely be worth the cost. Furthermore, the microwave makes time spent in the kitchen more efficient, thus raising its return value as well.

Do You Really Need It?

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When it comes down to it, there are some things that you just don’t need an appliance for: a strong arm can replace an electric mixer, a French press can replace a coffee maker, and a little bit of elbow grease can replace an electric can opener. Sometimes, though, you simply need an appliance´s help.

The blender is a perfect example of this. It´s most likely impossible for you to liquefy your own fruits into smoothies, or turn garbanzo beans, garlic, and oil into a smooth batch of hummus. If many of your favorite recipes incorporate blended ingredients, this is one appliance that´s worth the investment.

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Another product that all bakers should invest in is a non-slip hot pad. Typically heat-resistant up to 500 degrees, these silicone pads protect your hands and your casserole by providing much more grip than their cloth-made counterparts.

What Else Can You Do?

Of course, there are other ways to save money in the kitchen. For one, you can buy used appliances. Peruse thrift stores, garage sales, and for-sale ads, but, be diligent: a discounted item should still be evaluated with the above criteria in mind.

Another money-saving option is to spruce up the appliances you already have. This pointer mostly applies to larger pieces, such as your refrigerator or stove. Let’s say you’ve remodeled your kitchen and your white or black appliances no longer go with the color scheme. Rather than purchasing all new stainless steel versions of the working pieces you already have, you can purchase stainless steel film and cover your preexisting equipment. This will modernize your space at a fraction of the cost.

Finally, you can save money by growing your own fruits and vegetables. Sure, gardening organically and on your own might require more work than zipping off to the store whenever you run low on produce. However, there are many benefits. Besides saving money, home gardening can be a stress reliever, as well as an activity that the entire family can enjoy.

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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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