Brain

How does the brain communicate?

The brain is a communications centre consisting of billions of neurons, or nerve cells. Networks of neurons pass messages back and forth to different structures within the brain, the spinal column, and the peripheral nervous system. These nerve networks coordinate and regulate everything we feel, think, and do.

  • Neuron to Neuron
    Each nerve cell in the brain sends and receives messages in the form of electrical impulses. Once a cell receives and processes a message, it sends it on to other neurons.
  • Neurotransmitters – The Brain’s Chemical Messengers
    The messages are carried between neurons by chemicals called neurotransmitters. (They transmit messages between neurons.)
  • Receptors – The Brain’s Chemical Receivers
    The neurotransmitter attaches to a specialized site on the receiving cell called a receptor. A neurotransmitter and its receptor operate like a “key and lock,” an exquisitely specific mechanism that ensures that each receptor will forward the appropriate message only after interacting with the right kind of neurotransmitter.
  • Transporters – The Brain’s Chemical Recyclers
    Located on the cell that releases the neurotransmitter, transporters recycle these neurotransmitters (i.e., bringing them back into the cell that released them), thereby shutting off the signal between neurons.

To send a message a brain cell releases a chemical (neurotransmitter) into the space separating two cells called the synapse. The neurotransmitter crosses the synapse and attaches to proteins (receptors) on the receiving brain cell. This causes changes in the receiving brain cell and the message is delivered.

Most drugs of abuse target the brain’s reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine.

7 Must Eat Foods For The Brain

The foods that will supercharge your brain are called foods for your brain. Simply put, your brain likes to eat.

And it likes powerful fuel: quality fats, antioxidants, and small, steady amounts of the best carbs.

The following foods are called main foods for your brain:-

 1. Avocado

Start each day with a mix of high-quality protein and beneficial fats to build the foundation for an energized day. Avocado with scrambled eggs provides both, and the monounsaturated fat helps blood circulate better, which is essential for optimal brain function – and it’s possible the avocado’s plentiful antioxidants help combat diseases like diabetes .

2.     Blueberries

These delicious berries are one of the best foods for you, period, but they’re very good for your brain as well. Since they’re high in fiber and low on the glycemic index, they are safe for diabetics and they do not spike blood sugar. Blueberries are possibly the best brain food on earth: they have been linked to reduced risk for Alzheimer’s, shown to improve both memory and learning ability (and motor skills in rats), and they are one of the most powerful anti-stress foods you can eat. Avoid: dried, sweetened blueberries.

 3.     Wild Salmon

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for your brain. These beneficial fats are linked to improved cognition and alertness, reduced risk of degenerative mental disease (such as dementia), improved memory, improved mood, and reduced depression, anxiety, hyperactivity and cardiovascular disfunction.

4.     Nuts

Nuts contain protein, high amounts of fiber, and they are rich in beneficial fats. For getting an immediate energy boost that won’t turn into a spike later, you can’t do better than nuts. The complex carbs will perk you up while the fat and protein will sustain you. Nuts also contain plenty of vitamin E, which is essential to cognitive function.

5.     Seeds

Seeds contain a lot of protein, beneficial fat, and vitamin E, as well as stress-fighting antioxidants and important brain-boosting minerals like magnesium. Sesame seeds in particular are a real Swiss Army Knife of health benefits.

6. Coffee

Coffee is good for your brain. Did you know coffee actually contains fiber? That’s going to help your cardiovascular system. Coffee also exerts some noted benefit to your brain in addition to providing you with a detectable energy boost (note: it’s not as simple as boosting your brain-power, but it can make you work more effectively, depending on the work you’re doing). There is also evidence that it may provide an electrical jolt to backwater parts of your brain as well as potentially strengthening synapses associated with learning and special memory.

7.     Oatmeal

Nature’s scrub brush is one of the best foods for cardiovascular health, which translates to brain health.

8.     Beans

One more for carb-lovers. (The brain uses about 20% of your carbohydrate intake and it likes a consistent supply). Beans are truly an amazing food that is sadly overlooked. They’re humble, but very smart. Not only are they loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein, they’re ridiculously cheap. An entire bag of beans usually costs only a few dollars and will provide many meals. Beans provide a steady, slow release of glucose to your brain – which means energy all day without the sugar crash.

7.     Brown Rice

Brown rice is a low-glycemic complex carbohydrate that is excellent for people sensitive to gluten who still want to maintain cardiovascular health. The better your circulation, the sharper your brain – and as part of a campaign to get the Philippines to switch from white to brown rice, it’s been claimed that brown rice can boost your memory.

In spite of above mentioned  tea,chocolate,oysters,olive oil and tuna are called important foods for your brain also.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of foods for your brain, check out the book Train Your Brain: Your Food Matters on Amazon.

Chris Hughes

Chris is an Internet Entrepreneur, Juggler, Traveler and loves learning. Chris is out to enjoy life while building profitable businesses that allow people to have more fun in their lives.

Connect with Chris on Google+.

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How to Train Your Brain to Crave Healthy Foods

How to Train Your Brain to Crave Healthy Foods

This is a post from the guys over at Beach Body. The creators of programs like P90X, Insanity and TurboFire.

If you want to learn more, check out the book Train Your Brain: Your Food Matters

Now I’m going to let Denis take over…

By Denis Faye

True story: I was a fat kid, peaking at about 225 pounds by age 18. In my more socially awkward moments—and there were many—junk food was my best friend. Or so I thought. When my algebra class crush would gave me the “just friends” speech or a so-called buddy would jokingly call me “Fatso,” nothing said acceptance like a pint of Rocky Road and half a package of Nutter Butters.

Junk food vs. healthy heart food

Today, I weigh about 160 and I’d love to tell you those urges are behind me. Sadly, they’re not. On bad days, it takes a concerted effort not to pig out. My name is Denis Faye and I am a junk food junkie.

Given our nation’s exploding obesity and diabetes rates, you very well could be too. The good news is that with a few tricks and a little hard work, together we can keep those sugar monkeys on our backs under control.

Why we’re hooked on garbage

NachosIt’s safe to say that junk food addiction is a very real thing. The first place to look for proof is the ever-mounting pile of scientific evidence, including a recent study out of Sweden showing that the hormone ghrelin, which activates the brain’s reward system and increases appetite, reacts similarly to sugar and alcohol.

Then there are the increasingly decadent foods we have 24-hour access to. In his book The End of Overeating, Dr. David Kessler theorizes that manufacturers have, over the years, engineered the balance of fat, sugar, and salt in junk food to the point of making it irresistible. He refers to our gluttonous response to this crackified food as “conditioned hypereating.”

Most of this current thinking revolves around physiological factors, such as the fact our brains are hardwired to seek out highly caloric foods as a “feast or famine” instinct left over from caveman days. Unfortunately, human beings are slightly more complex than our primitive ancestors. By adulthood, most of us are a hodgepodge of neuroses and psychoses for whom a Twinkie has become a security blanket, so this urge to splurge will never completely vanish. Sure, you can retrain your body to crave healthy food, but your psyche may never stop seeking validation, Hostess® style.

How to keep that addiction under control

DonutLuckily, a well-trained body goes a long way towards helping a slightly off-kilter mind. For example, if I were to force down that aforementioned slice of Sara Lee® heaven, I’d get physically sick. After years of clean eating, my digestive system has lost its ability to handle the toxic effects of a sugar hit like that, not to mention the preservatives and additives. Thanks in part to these newfound “limitations,” today I can walk away from the cake or limit myself to one or two bites—but that’s taken years of training.

But it wasn’t easy. If you’re going to break a sugar habit, it’s going to take time, patience, and willpower. But take it from a guy who used to work his way through an entire box of Cap’n Crunch® for breakfast: If I can do it, so can you. Here’s where to start.

    1. Clean all the junk food out of your home. Think of the stereotypical image of the woman getting dumped by her boyfriend and climbing into bed with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s®. If that tub wasn’t in the freezer to begin with, odds are that our protagonist would have instead settled for a soak in the tub.

      There’s also “unconscious eating” to worry about—when you just grab a bag of fried carbs while you’re sitting in front of the tube and stuff your face for no reason. If you don’t have access to the junk, the only bag you’ll be able to grab for will be filled with baby carrots. If someone brings some junk over for a dinner party, enjoy it with them and dump the rest when they leave.

    2. CookiesMake 80% clean. Relax with that other 20%. Just because your kitchen cupboard no longer looks like a movie theater concession stand doesn’t mean you can’t live it up sometimes. If most of your diet is super tight, you’re doing great, so cut yourself some slack. When I made my first big push to clean up my diet, Friday was Cookie Day. I ate like a saint 6 days a week, but every Friday I had a giant chocolate chip cookie and a latte.

      Knowing I had Cookie Day to look forward to made all the celery on the other days much more palatable.

    3. Make a comforting ritual out of eating healthy. The fact that Cookie Day was a ritual was also quite helpful. Unhealthy eating is often ritualistic—something comfortable and constant that you can depend on. Not only can you have your own Cookie Day—a conscious, controlled, weekly moment of indulgence—but you can replace unhealthy rituals with healthy ones.

      For example, I used to drink at least two servings of alcohol a night. I’d have wine or beer with dinner and then another one when I was sitting around reading or watching TV. When I realized that second drink wasn’t doing me any favors, I replaced it with a cup of herbal tea. The 21-days-to-form-a-habit thing has no scientific backing, but eventually a behavior pattern will set in. In my case, after three weeks I stopped missing that second beer. Then, after a few more weeks I really started craving the calming, peaceful feeling my cup o’ chamomile gave me. Now it’s a nightly ritual.

    4. Almonds and Nutrition BarCarry healthy foods with you at all times. If you carry a purse or a backpack, throw an apple or some raw nuts in there. In this Fast Food Nation, it’s pretty easy to find yourself in situations where you’re hungry and, shucks, you just have no choice but to buy a donut because that’s the only thing you have access to.

      You don’t have that excuse if there’s a snack in your pack. Here are a few to consider:

      • Fresh fruit (Apples and oranges travel well!)
      • Dried fruit (It all travels well!)
      • Raw nuts
      • Whole-grain crackers
      • A Shakeology® packet
  1. Discover new, yummy fruits and veggies. There’s a lot of weird, healthy food out there. Sometimes, we avoid fresh produce because either we’re either bored of the same old oranges or there’s a stigma associated with particular produce. Dad just forced you to eat asparagus one too many times. If this is a problem for you, buy fruits and veggies you don’t recognize. If you don’t know how to prepare it, do an internet search for “(produce name) + recipe.” You might stumble on a new flavor that completely blows your mind.

    For me, that magic fruit was the cherimoya, or “custard apple.” They’re green and scaly on the outside, thick, white, and creamy on the inside, with a rich taste as sweet and satisfying as the richest sorbet. My mouth is watering just writing about them.

  2. Fresh FruitBinge on healthy foods. I’m probably the only person who will ever give you this advice since it’s a wee bit questionable. Every once in the while, something emotional triggers me and I need to eat junk. Someday I might completely conquer this urge, but not yet. When I feel this happening, I hit the fridge and “pre-binge” on healthy foods, mainly raw veggies. Sooner or later, the ice cream or chips come out, but by that point, I’m so full of broccoli or spinach that I’m not physically capable of doing too much damage. Dysfunctional? Maybe, but a vast improvement over the alternative.

You might be one of those lucky souls who just decided to walk away from the candy counter and never looked back. Good for you. I’m not one of those people. Eating right is much easier than it was 20 years ago, but it’s still a process. That said, the rewards are innumerable, so why don’t you set down the pudding pop, grab a peach, and join me?Resources:

  1. Kessler, D. (2009). The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite. New York, NY. Rodale.
  2. Lally, P., Van Jaarsveld, C., Potts, H., & Wardle, J. (2010). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world.European Journal of Social Psychology, 1009 (June 2009), 998-1009. JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD.
  3. 3. Landgren, S., Simms, J. A., Thelle, D. S., Strandhagen, E., Bartlett, S. E., Engel, J. A., & Jerlhag, E. (2011). The Ghrelin Signalling System Is Involved in the Consumption of Sweets. (M. Mattson, Ed.) PLoS ONE, 6(3), 9.

 

Related Articles
“Sugar Addiction Detox 101”
“10 Tips for Controlling Your Inner Cookie Monster®
“Spring Cleansing: 5 Great Reasons to Do a Detox”

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Check the Team Beachbody Chat Room for the next impromptu video chat. Or, if you just can’t wait, log onto the Information & Education section of the Team Beachbody Message Boards for questions, answers, and scintillating conversation.

If you’d like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, just email us at mailbag@TeamBeachbody.com.

Original Article: Confessions of a Junk Food Junkie: 6 Tricks to Kick the Habit

Chris Hughes

Chris is an Internet Entrepreneur, Juggler, Traveler and loves learning. Chris is out to enjoy life while building profitable businesses that allow people to have more fun in their lives.

Connect with Chris on Google+.

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How a Former Language Educator Can Make You Sound Like a Local

Benefit of Learning a Second Language

If you’ve ever been watching a movie and seen one of your favorite American actors speaking a foreign language as if he or she has been speaking it their whole lives, you may feel like you’ve seen a miracle happen.

The truth however, is that it is simply a way of using your brain in a way that you aren’t used to. It’s the same as when you first learn how to do anything else.

Until you learn a secret to cut your time in half, you’re going to struggle with doing anything.

For example, in July of 2012 I spent a little over a week in Costa Rica.

It was one of my goals or missions to learn how to surf while I was on this trip.

Chris Hughes surfing in Costa Rica

Holla, learned how!!

I’ve heard from a lot of people who have tried to learn how to surf that it’s something that is extremely difficult.

Personally, I don’t like listening when people tell me something is hard. I laugh a lot of the time when people tell me things are difficult.

While I didn’t get up and ride the first 2 waves I hopped onto ( I tipped the board forward too much), the third time I was up and riding like I’d always done it.

What was the secret?

Honestly, I’d watched some videos on YouTube and asked questions to experts.

I learned the little shortcuts that would cut the learning curve down for me.

The same is true with anything you do, you find the shortcuts and you save yourself a LOT of time.

The National Security Agency and other important government organizations have purchased this rapid language learning method: the Pimsleur Approach, which has proved to be the fastest way tolearn a new language.

The benefits of learning a second language

Your brain is already wired to learn a language in 10 days. You just need to activate it.

In today’s global society, learning a foreign language is crucial, whether you need it for work or pleasure. With the right tools and training, you’ll be able to connect with new friends and business acquaintances more effectively thanks to your new ability to speak, listen, learn and improvise in another language. And it is much simpler than people think.

Learning a second language

 

What’s fascinating about learning languages is that native-speakers typically use only about 2,500 distinct words and phrases on a daily basis.

A guy by the name of Dr Paul Pimsleur created the Pimsleur Approach, he spent his lifetime studying these language building blocks. By focusing specific languages on learning those 2,500 words, you can cut your learning time down by months. Speaking to the locals and communicating isn’t about how many words you know, but rather which words you can use.

The Pimsleur Approach effortlessly locks new language material into your brain after only one listen. And it only takes one 30-minute lesson a day.

The Pimsleur Approach to learning a second language

The entire Pimsleur Approach is what language learning should be: quick, fun, and easy! You’ll absorb your new language effortlessly without any reading, writing, or computer use. The Pimsleur Approach has a 100-percent guarantee: Speak in 10 days or you don’t pay.

Who is Dr. Pimsleur?

Dr. Pimsleur was a language educator for more than 20 years. He noticed that children have an amazing ability to learn new languages quickly. He spent his life developing this course to let you, as an adult, learn a new language as easily as a child would. You might not realize it, but you’ve already learned one language using the Pimsleur Approach. Your first language.

Learning a new language can be quick, easy and affordable with the breakthrough Pimsleur Approach audio training.

 

Chris Hughes

Chris is an Internet Entrepreneur, Juggler, Traveler and loves learning. Chris is out to enjoy life while building profitable businesses that allow people to have more fun in their lives.

Connect with Chris on Google+.

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5 Natural Ways to Fall Asleep

One of the most frustrating things in your daily routine is the inability to fall asleep easily. If you are a toss and turn-er you know exactly the frustrating feeling you get when preparing for bed. Here are 5 ways to naturally fall asleep without trying expensive medicines and time consuming tricks:

Do not exercise before bed: Avoid doing any exercise to close to bedtime. Exercising increases your blood flow and increases your heart rate and body reacts by having more energy. Try to keep your exercising at least 4 hours before you bed time to prevent difficulty in falling asleep. In fact it is said that doing at least 20 minutes of stretching before bed time can be helpful in relaxing your body and preparing it for sleep.

Avoid eating and drinking right before bed: Typically your body takes a bit to digest any food and if you are a late dinner eater, your body may be too busy trying to digest your food than trying to fall asleep. Stop eating 3 to 4 hours before bedtime. This goes with saying drinking alcohol or any liquids that contain caffeine does not aid you sleeping habits and can lead to a restless night.

No television before bed: Watching television while in bed can be very distracting when it comes to your body trying to fall asleep. The noises and lights can cause your brain to over think when you need it to relax. So next time leave the television watching in the living room before getting into bed. Try reading a book in bed before falling asleep.

natural ways to fall asleepFreeDigitalPhotos.net

Room temperature: Our bodies sleep best when the room is at a cooler temperature. A good temperature to set the thermostat at is 65 to 72 degrees. When your body temperature drops it helps your body slip more easily into sleep. Anything, too warm can be uncomfortable and cause you to move around making it harder to fall asleep.

Use noise machines: There are plenty of noise machines and apps for your smartphones that offer sleep aids. A soft calming noise like a rainstorm, ocean waves or ‘white noise’ can help you tune out all distractions and lull you to sleep. Most of these machines and apps come with a timer so that you are able to set up it as long as you need.

Whenever it comes to your health you must always consult your doctor for opinion and help. These tricks are all about how you prepare for bed; avoid distractions and the environment you sleep in. Try these out and sweet dreams!

nancyparker

Nancy Parker was a professional nanny and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, Parenting, Child Care, and Babysitting, full time nanny tips etc. You can reach her @ nancy.parker015@gmail.com.

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