Category Archives: Lifestyle & Health

Lifestyle tips to keep you and your brain healthy.

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!

Oatmeal: Brain Health Benefits & Easy Recipe!

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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!

Gender & the Brain: Differences between Women & Men

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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.

ZitsListening

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!

 

 

RECIPE: Melon Slices with Raspberry Sauce (improves memory, prevents Alzheimer’s, protects vision)

honeydew_melon

Honeydew melon & raspberries are amazing brain 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 an easy & healthy Melon Slices with Raspberry Sauce recipe for a delightful fruity snack! 

Melon with Raspberry Sauce

Serves: 2-4

What you Need:

  • 2 2/3 cups raspberries, unsweetened
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 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!

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

Tips on How to Sleep Better

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One of the biggest boosts you can give your brain is a good night’s sleep.  Adequate sleep is vital to proper brain function.  Without it — our judgment, reaction time, memory and other brain functions may be impaired.  According to Dr. Mark Mahowald, a professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, one night of lost sleep has the same impact in simulated driving tests as illegally high blood-alcohol levels.

Turn in early to give yourself 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night (this is considered average, though some people may need as few as 5 or as many as 10 hours.)  For many, falling asleep is a challenge.  Anxiety, stress, pain, interpersonal conflicts and medication all impact one’s ability to get a good night’s sleep.  Luckily, sleep is a learned behaviour and you can change it.

7 Suggestions to Improve Your Sleep

  1. Cut down on caffeine - Even if you don’t stop it completely, reducing makes a difference.
  2. Get more exercise - Walk daily, you will notice a difference immediately.
  3. Listen to a soothing CD before bed.  Or try white noise to create a background.
  4. Take a warm bath before bed.
  5. Maintain a regular schedule. Going to bed and getting up around the same time help you develop a rhythm that can make falling asleep easier.
  6. Spruce up your sleeping area. A comfortable mattress, comfortable bedding and blackout curtains can make a world of difference.
  7. Use the bed for sleep, not channel or Internet surfing.

Make sure you bookmark our blog & check back often for more health & lifestyle tips!  Also, remember to keep your brain sharp by training with all our Fit Brains mobile apps!

NEW APP >> Fit Brains: Cognitive Assessment has been released!

Another new Fit Brains app has been released on the iTunes app store!

fit brains cognitive assessment app

Introducing Fit Brains: Cognitive Assessment — a FREE app to measure your brain performance levels & emotional functioning, complete with detailed feedback & improvement suggestions!

fit brains cognitive assessment app fit brains cognitive assessment app

Download this app if you would like to test your cognitive abilities in different areas of the brain.  After completing the test, you will receive a Cognitive Health Score with detailed feedback & suggestions on 7 brain skills:

  • Memory: Free Recall
  • Memory: Recognition
  • Problem Solving
  • Concentration
  • Reaction Time
  • Visuospatial
  • Memory: Delayed Recall

Fit Brains Cognitive Assessment app

Use the recommendations this app provides to improve your brain health, and train your brain to be stronger with our original Fit Brains Trainer app.  You can then re-take the assessment periodically to measure your improvements & compare your historical trends.

fit brains cognitive assessment app

What are you waiting for?  Click HERE to download the app NOW to test & skyrocket your brain power!

fit brains lifestyle assessment appIf you haven’t already, remember to also download our other brand new FREE app, Fit Brains: Lifestyle Assessment, to test & improve your lifestyle health choices.

We have many more updates & new products coming your way shortly, stay tuned by following blog, Facebook, and Twitter!

 

10 Quotes on Gratitude & Being Thankful

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Thanksgiving may be full of feasts & festivities, but it is important to remember the true meaning of this holiday.  Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, all about being thankful.

Thanksgiving is a day for everyone to reflect upon themselves and count their blessings.  We worry about many things on a daily basis and let obstacles and small difficulties in life consume us.  It is nice to have a day where we can slow down and acknowledge everything we have in life.  Having gratitude not only shows appreciation, but will help us become happier, more satisfied, healthier, and overall better people.

Here are 10 quotes from influential individuals on giving thanks & being thankful, we hope these will inspire you to celebrate Thanksgiving with gratitude!

 

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
Meister Eckhart 

“When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect towards others.”
Dalai Lama

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
John F. Kennedy

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
Epicurus

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
Maya Angelou

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”
Alphonse Karr

“‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.”
Alice Walker

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
Oprah Winfrey

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
The Buddha

“I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.”
Woody Allen

Happy Thanksgiving from the Fit Brains team!

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