Author Archives: Ariel Niu

About Ariel Niu

Marketing Manager - Rosetta Stone Fit Brains Twitter: @applesandnerds

10 Tips to Wake Up the Brain

10 Tips to Wake Up, Refresh, & Energize Your Brain

Bad News:
It’s Monday morning.
Coffee is not working.
Schedule for the day involves a lot of thinking, talking, and moving.

Good News:
Coffee is not the only solution to life’s problems.

Weekday mornings are never appealing to the brain. However, there are certain things you can do to ease the torturous time and effort to wake up, refresh, and energize your mind. Check out our tips below:

  1. Drink Water — Drink a glass of water immediately after you wake up to kick up your metabolism and de-fog your brain.
  2. Don’t “Snooze” — You’re setting yourself up to feel lazy & unmotivated throughout the day when you delay waking up and hit “snooze” multiple times in the morning. Pick a time that gives you enough sleep but also enough time to go through your morning routine without rushing, and wake up when your first alarm rings.
  3. Open the Blinds – Sunlight has a direct effect on the activity in our brains. When we deprive our brains of light, we will stay in a groggy, sleep-like state of consciousness. Bright light helps shift our brain waves to higher frequencies and triggers the release of brain-happy neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
  4. Exercise in the Morning — The act of exercising in the morning might sound horrendous if you’ve never done it, but besides obvious health reasons, it’ll actually give you more energy throughout the whole day. Try sleeping in your workout clothes to lessen the chances of making excuses in the morning.
  5. Turn up the Music — Listen to some upbeat tunes as you get ready in the morning. Studies have shown that music is the one stimulus that lights up the entire brain on a PET scan. Music helps the brain release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate the brain’s pleasure and reward centres, as well as emotional responses and motivation. 
  6. Take a Cold Shower — No explanation needed. It’s horrible. But it works.
  7. Don’t treat Coffee like a “Drug” — On days you feel more energized, try to forego the coffee, or at least try cutting down the amount you drink everyday. If you absolutely need a pick-me-up, try drinking some brain-healthy green tea instead!
  8. Eat Breakfast — Take the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” seriously. Breakfast gives your brain vital nutrients that it needs in order to optimally carry out mental processes throughout the day. Think of it as fuel for your body, without it, you’ll run out of fumes! Try including some brain-healthy foods in your breakfast diet.
  9. Talk to Someone — Engage in some light chit-chat with a family member, friend, or co-worker in the morning. Even though you might not feel like it, taking the initiative to engage in a conversation really helps to get your mind & body out of a “zombie-like” state.
  10. Play Fit Brains — Prep your brain for a new day’s workload by spending a few minutes playing Fit Brains brain games. Fit Brains exercises help stimulate and sharpen your mental responses, and prime your mind to better focus on the tasks throughout the day. You can play Fit Brains on any web browser or train on-the-go with our iOS, Android, or Amazon app!

Fit Brains

Do YOU have any “wake-up” tips of your own? Share with us in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #wakeupbraintip!

RECIPE: Blueberry Banana Tart (Brain Health Winner!)

 

blueberry-banana

A healthy, vegan, gluten-free dessert that’s jam packed with brain nutrients…and is delicious?  It exists! Let us present you the Blueberry Banana Tart recipe!

How the ingredients from this recipe will improve your brain health:

  • Blueberries: Protect the brain from oxidative stress, reduce the effects of age-related brain diseases, improves learning capacity and motor skills, boost memory & concentration, stimulate the flow of blood & oxygen to the brain. Super brain food!
  • Bananas: Provide energy & electrolytes for the brain, improve cognitive function, protect the brain from oxidative damage, and are a great mood booster & balancer.
  • Almonds: Help prevent age-related cognitive decline, improve memory & learning, increase attention & awareness.
  • Cinnamon: Boosts the activity of the brain, removes nervous tension & memory loss, decreases risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Flaxseed: Rich in brain-healthy fats, build and protect neurons, regulate the environment of the brain, improve cognitive function.

Blueberry Banana Tart

Recipe from Roxana’s Home Baking

Serves: One 11-inch round pan

What you Need:

  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp butter or butter substitute
  • dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup organic sugar
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed meal (grounded up flaxseed)
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 10-12 oz fresh blueberries
  • 2 small bananas
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar

Putting it all Together:

  1. Mix the flaxseed meal with water in a bowl. Set it aside and wait for it to gel up.
  2. Ground the almonds in a food processor then add flour, cinnamon, salt, sugar and butter then pulse for a few more seconds.
  3. Add the flaxseed meal mixture and pulse until everything comes together in a dough-like mixture.
  4. Wrap the dough mixture in plastic foil and place it in the fridge for about half an hour.
  5. When it is chilled, grease your pan and roll the dough out into the pan as the crust.
  6. Cover the pan with plastic foil and chill in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
  8. Take the pan out and place the blueberries and slices of bananas on top of the crust and sprinkle the whole thing with a little raw sugar.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, then let it cool before slicing.

Leave a comment below & let us know how the recipe worked out for you & suggest your own variation!  Check out the Fit Brains collection of recipes, we add new brain healthy recipes every week so visit often!

Fit Brains Language Trainer App – Improve Vocabulary, Comprehension, Verbal Fluency – Free Download!

Fit Brains Language Trainer

Introducing the highly-anticipated Fit Brains: Language Trainer, a specialized “Target Trainer” designed to improve your Vocabulary, Comprehension, and Verbal Fluency through a collection of fun brain games.

Whether you’re a native English speaker, someone new to the English language, or you’re interested in learning a new language, the Fit Brains Language Trainer app is for you!  This app will help sharpen & improve your overall speaking, reading, and writing fluency, and will also train you to learn new languages easier and faster.

Fit Brains Language TrainerFit Brains: Language Trainer includes 360+ unique games & training sessions that are designed to enhance all aspects of your language skills, including Vocabulary, Stem Completion, Comprehension, Language Acquisition, and Verbal Fluency.

Benefits of using Fit Brains Language Trainer for a few minutes a day:

  • Increased vocabulary
  • Better verbal fluency
  • Stronger reading comprehension
  • Easier learning of new languages
  • More fluid communication
  • Improved grammar usage
  • Faster reading & understanding words
  • Deeper left-hemisphere stimulation

In all our apps, performance tools will allow you to track & improve your scores in different areas. Best of all, if you’re logged into your Fit Brains Network account, your scores & progress will be connected across all your Fit Brains apps! This means you can improve your scores (including your overall brain score, your Fit Brains Index) by playing any Fit Brains apps!

promo2

So what are you waiting for?  Download Fit Brains: Language Trainer for FREE now!

If you like our apps & would like to see your brain become stronger & healthier, then sign up for our award-winning Fit Brains brain training program & get all 10 accompanying Fit Brains apps for FREE!  Stay updated with us on FacebookTwitter, our new Pinterest board, & this blog!

Oatmeal: Brain Health Benefits & Easy Recipe!

Blueberry-Banana-Nut-Oatmeal-02_mini

You probably have heard that oatmeal is an excellent choice for breakfast because it’s healthy, easy to make, and filling…but did you know it’s a brain booster as well? 

Here are some amazing brain health benefits of oatmeal:

  • Shot of Glucose: Oatmeal is a low Glycemic Index food, meaning it doesn’t spike blood sugar. It produces a shot of glucose that your body takes out of the carbohydrates to help your brain function
  • Essential B Vitamins: Research have shown B vitamins reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease & brain shrinkage
  • Vitamin E: Experts in the US found the annual rate of functional decline among dementia sufferers was reduced by 19% thanks to a daily vitamin E supplement
  • Selenium: A single serving of oats contains over a quarter of the selenium you need each day to protect brain cells from oxidants
  • Manganese: A single serving of oats contains over two-thirds of the manganese you need each day to help he body process the brain nutrients Choline & Thiamine.

Below is a basic recipe on how to make oatmeal plus some additional toppings you can add that are also super brain foods!

Easy Oatmeal Recipe (+ optional brain-healthy toppings!)

Serves: 2

What you Need:

  • 1 Cup Water (we like to substitute with soy/almond milk to make it creamier!)
  • 1/3 Cup Steel Cut Oats
  • Honey or Brown Sugar

Optional Brain-Healthy Toppings:

  • Berries (e.g. Blueberries, Blackberries)
  • Bananas
  • Cinnamon
  • Nuts (e.g. Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews)
  • Seeds (e.g. Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds)
  • Nut Butters

Putting it all Together:

  1. Bring water (or milk) to a boil
  2. Add oats, reduce heat to low
  3. Stir in a little honey or brown sugar to sweeten
  4. Simmer for 15-20 minutes (or however long the package says) until water is absorbed
  5. Add toppings of your choice & enjoy!

Leave a comment below & let us know how the recipe worked out for you & suggest your own variation!  Check out the Fit Brains collection of recipes, we will add new brain healthy recipes every couple of days so visit often!

Fit Brains: Logic Trainer App – Train Logic Skills – Free Download!

Fit Brains Logic TrainerIntroducing Fit Brains: Logic Trainer, a specialized “Target Trainer” designed to improve your problem-solving, logic thinking, and mental reasoning skills through a collection of fun brain games.

If you want to train your brain to understand things and solve issues better and quicker, the Fit Brains: Logic Trainer app is for you!

Fit Brains: Logic TrainerFit Brains: Logic Trainer has 300+ unique training sessions and games.  Training & games are divided into 5 logic & reasoning areas: Mental Flexibility, Sequencing, Working Memory, Routine, and Abstraction

By having fun and training with Fit Brains: Logic Trainer for just 5-10 minutes a day, it will help you gain these crucial benefits:

  • Faster problem-solving
  • Sharper reasoning abilities
  • Easier understanding of new information
  • Form needed habits & routines easier
  • Improvement in abstract thinking
  • Gain greater thinking perspectives
  • Better observation skills
  • Make better decisions with effective logical solutions

In all our apps, performance tools will allow you to track & improve your scores in different areas.  Best of all, if you’re logged into your Fit Brains Network account on your app, your scores & progress will be connected across all your Fit Brains apps!  This means you can improve your scores (including your overall brain score, your Fit Brains Index) by playing any Fit Brains apps!

logicpromo2So what are you waiting for?  Download Fit Brains: Logic Trainer for FREE now!

Sign up for the award-winning Fit Brains brain training program & get all 10 accompanying Fit Brains apps for FREE!  Stay updated with us on FacebookTwitter, our new Pinterest board, & this blog!

NEW APP – Fit Brains: Visual Trainer – Free Download!

Fit Brains Visual TrainerIntroducing Fit Brains: Visual Trainer, a specialized “Target Trainer” designed to improve crucial visual & spatial brain skills through a collection of fun brain games.

Whether you want to remember more things you see, react to visual cues quicker, notice more subtle differences, navigate & mind-map better, or learn how to visualize things mentally…the Fit Brains: Visual Trainer app can train & improve all these areas for you.

Fit Brains Visual Trainer app

Fit Brains: Visual Trainer has 300+ unique training sessions and games.  Training & games are divided into 5 visual-cognitive areas: Spacial Awareness, Visual Integration, Mental Rotation, Maze Training, and Mirror Tracing.

By training with Fit Brains: Visual Trainer for 5-10 minutes a day, you can gain these crucial visual-brain benefits:

  • Ability to observe & process things quickly & clearly
  • Ability to recognize subtle visual differences
  • Ability to estimate space, length, area measurements
  • Ability to create mental maps for navigation & travel
  • Ability to memorize things & places you see accurately
  • Ability to visualize 3-D items mentally
  • Ability to react to visual cues fast
  • Ability to coordinate sight & movement effectively
  • Ability to prolong concentration & attention span

In all our apps, performance tools will allow you to track & improve your scores in different areas.  Best of all, if you’re logged into your Fit Brains Network account on your app, your scores & progress will be connected across all your Fit Brains apps!  This means you can improve your scores (including your overall brain score, your Fit Brains Index) by playing any Fit Brains apps!

Fit Brains Visual Trainer appSo what are you waiting for?  Download Fit Brains: Visual Trainer for FREE now!

Find the right brain training & health apps for you by trying out all Fit Brains apps for FREE (column to your right).  We have many more brain games & health apps coming your way, so stay updated with us on FacebookTwitter, & this blog!

Gender & the Brain: Differences between Women & Men

male_vs_female

A study completed recently in December 2013 on nearly 1,000 brain scans has surprisingly confirmed what many of us thought…that there are major differences between the male & female brain.  Women’s and men’s brains are indeed wired in fundamentally different ways.

The research showed that on average, female brains are highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, and connections in male brains are typically stronger between the front and back regions. Men’s brains tend to perform tasks predominantly on the left-side, which is the logical/rational side of the brain. Women, on the other hand, use both sides of their brains because a woman’s brain has a larger Corpus Callosum, which means women can transfer data between the right and left hemispheres faster than men.

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Here is a list of the basic differences between women & men based on research studies of the brain done up to now.  This might be a handy list to show to your other half to avoid future misunderstandings!

  • Brain Size & Brain Connections: Women’s brains are 8% smaller than men’s, but have more interconnections.  Women perform better at “bigger picture” & situational thinking while men do better on more specific spatial thinking (problem solving, and pattern prediction involving objects and their spatial relationships).
  • Multi-tasking: Men tend to be better at learning and performing a single task, like cycling or navigating, and women are better at juggling different tasks at once.
  • Social Context: Women are better at social thinking & interactions than men, while men are more abstract and task-orientated.  This is why women are normally better at communication while men more often prefer relying on themselves to get things done.
  • Emotions: Women typically have a larger limbic system than men, which makes them more in touch and expressive with their emotions.  Women are usually more empathic and comprehensive in thinking, while men focus on exact issues and disregard impertinent information.  Men have a difficult time understanding emotions not explicitly verbalized but can think more logically, while women have a more wholesome view of thinking & understanding but their emotions can sometimes influence decisions.
  • Math Skills: A brain area called the “Inferior-Parietal Lobule (IPL)” is normally larger in men than women.  This area is thought to control mathematical processes, which explains why men typically can perform mathematical tasks better than women.
  • Pain: Women tend to perceive pain more intensely than men.  The Amygdala is the brain area activated when pain is felt. The right Amygdala is activated for men and the left Amygdala is activated for women. The right Amygdala has more connections with external functions while the left Amygdala has more connections with internal functions.
  • Coordination & Movement: Men are generally better with coordination, controlling their movements, and have faster reaction times.
  • Language: Women are more attuned to words and sounds and are normally better at learning languages.  This is also why men tend to have a harder time expressing emotions verbally.
  • Memory: Women generally have better memory than men.  They have greater activity in the brain’s hippocampus, which is part of the brain that helps store memories. Studies have shown women are generally better at recalling words, names, faces, pictures, objects, and everyday events.
  • Sense of Direction: Men has shown to have better visual-spatial & geographic memory and thinking, meaning they tend to have a better sense of direction and remembering where locations and areas are.
  • Risks & Rewards: Men has a brain wired for risk-taking more than women.  Male brains get a bigger burst of endorphins, sensation of pleasure, when faced with a risky or challenging situation.  And the bigger the reward is, the more likely a man will take a risk.
  • Senses & Sex: Men focus more on their visual sense, among other senses of perception; while women tend to use multiple senses. In terms of sexual activity, men are prevalently turned on by what they see, whereas women are turned on by multiple sources: ambience, touch, scent, as well as visual perception.

What did you think about the list?  Tell us in the comments!  Be sure to follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips and lists.  Also, both our female and male readers can benefit from a stronger & healthier brain by playing Fit Brains brain training games, so check it out!