It’s National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month! We thank the 15 million+ Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in America.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, kills brain cells and interferes with cognitive abilities, emotions, behaviour and physical skills. It’s not a regular part of aging. And it’s a progressively debilitating disease that leads to death.
Did you know 47 million people worldwide and 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s? Every 67 seconds an American develops this disease. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the US. It can’t be cured or slowed unlike the other 9 leading causes of death. And two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients are women.
But There Is Hope
Even though there isn’t a cure, drugs and certain actions can manage the disease. Also, research shows that lifestyle factors and a positive outlook can help with brain aging. Recent UK study results conducted by the BBC, Alzheimer’s Society and the Medical Research Council indicate that regular brain training can benefit people over the age of 50. Findings from another well known study reveal that adults who learn new skills and do mentally stimulating activities like crosswords usually have lower rates of dementia. The notable Nun study indicates that an optimistic mind provides a natural defence against Alzheimer’s. And, here’s a twist, even though some nuns actually had the disease, they showed no outward symptoms, thanks to keeping their brains active and positive! Brain training can help maintain brain function and help prevent cognitive decline.
Quick Tips to Maintain Brain Function and Prevent Cognitive Decline
Hit the Gym
Nosh on a Healthy Diet
As Pharrel Williams Sings, Be Happy!
Challenge Your Mind with our fun free games! [hyperlink]
What is your favorite activity to boost your brain? Tell us in the comments! And follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips.
Your life story: it’s one of the most important assets you have. It’s your identity, what makes you, you. What’s more, it’s your family’s story that helps shape your personal life story. Do you have fond memories of hearing stories about your family history shared with you by grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles? Have those stories and collective wisdom helped shape who you are today? We all want to be able to play a part in keeping our family story and our personal story alive and we do this by sharing our stories with the next generation. But, none of this would be possible if we do not maintain a healthy brain as we age.
As we age, we need to keep our memories and our minds sharp so that we can preserve our stories and share them. One important thing you can do is maximize the health of your brain and strengthen your memory, in order to share your life story, keeping it alive. Eating a well-balanced diet, getting exercise, getting plenty of sleep, and keeping your brain mentally stimulated by engaging in specific activities such as playing brain training games will all have a positive impact on your memory and the overall health of your brain.
Here are some of our other favorite ideas for preserving and sharing your family story:
Begin a family newsletter or a family blog so that you can stay better connected with family members near and far.
Start a scrapbook or photo album about your family.
Put together a family cookbook.
Research your family history (there are a myriad of free and paid online genealogy resources).
Keep a journal and encourage your family members to do the same!
Organize a family reunion.
Challenge your brain by playing Fit Brains so that you can stimulate your memory and share your story!
Take some time this month to connect with family members, reflect on your story, and take some steps to focus on your brain health, especially focusing on training your brain for a stronger memory.
It’s National Family Stories Month. What are your favorite ways to preserve and share your family’s story? Share with us and other readers in the comments section!
Be sure to follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips. And, you can always challenge your brain when you play Fit Brains fun brain games!
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.
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 challenge and entertain their brain by playing Fit Brains brain training games, so check it out!
Honeydew melon & raspberries are amazingbrain foods! Raspberries contain antioxidants that can prevent inflammation in the brain. Berry fruits have also been reported to improve memory & motor control. B-vitamins found in Honeydew melon help prevent or slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Honeydew melon also contain an important antioxidant called Zeaxanthin to protect vision by absorbing harmful blue light rays and preventing age-related Macular Degeneration.
Here is aneasy & healthy Melon Slices with Raspberry Sauce recipe for a delightful fruity snack!
Melon with Raspberry Sauce
What you Need:
2 2/3 cups raspberries, unsweetened
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 honeydew melon
Putting it all Together:
Set aside a few raspberries for garnish.
Place the remaining berries in a blender and process until pureed.
Add the honey, lemon juice and ginger and process longer.
Strain and discard seeds, then set sauce aside.
Cut the melons into desired shapes and arrange nicely on a plate.
Drizzle with raspberry sauce and top with reserved berries!
Another superfood for the brain is salmon. Salmon is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, which helps the brain function properly and keeps the immune system working.
The brain is mainly fat, and omega 3 fatty acids feed the brain and allow neurotransmitters to flow more smoothly. Eating salmon will therefore help combat poor memory, and increase positive feelings and thoughts by balancing out hormones.
Here is a creative, brain-healthy, and body-healthy recipe for Wild Alaska Salmon Kebabs. This recipe is also Low-Carb, Low-Sodium, Sugar-Conscious, Paleo, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, and Wheat-Free! Pair the kebabs with some couscous, quinoa, or side salad and it’ll be a perfect meal!
Wild Alaska Salmon Kebabs
What You Need:
1 pound wild salmon fillets, cut into chunks
1 zucchini, cut into chunks
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 large red onion, cut into chunks
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lime juice
Putting It All Together:
Soak wooden or bamboo skewers in water for about 10 minutes prior to grilling.
Place the salmon, zucchini, bell pepper, and onion in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
Whisk together the garlic, olive oil, and lime juice in a small bowl. Pour the mixture over the salmon and vegetables, toss, and marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the grill or broiler. Skewer the salmon and vegetables, reserving marinade, and grill or broil 5 to 7 minutes, turning once, until salmon is cooked through and vegetables are tender.
While cooking, boil the marinade in a small saucepan for 5 minutes. Drizzle over skewers and serve.