Improve your brain health with the MIND diet

Woman eating fruit saladWhen most people hear the word “diet” they probably tend to think “difficult” or “impossible”, but most of us probably don’t expect that a diet is going to be easy to follow!  A diet is something we do because it’s good for us and we want to make some change in our health or our appearance, but not generally because it’s fun and easy.  That is about to change, thanks to the new MIND diet (short for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay).  

This diet is reportedly tied for first place as the easiest diet to follow, according to US News & World Report. (US News & World Report, 2015).  Like the name suggests, this is a diet that is also good for your brain, and is specifically designed to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.  In a study at the Rush University Medical Center, scientists found that “…the MIND diet lowered Alzheimer’s risk by about 35 percent for people who followed it moderately well and up to 53 percent for those who adhered to it rigorously.” (US News & World Report, 2015)  

A diet that can improve your brain health, help prevent Alzheimer’s AND is the easiest diet to follow?

So what exactly is the MIND diet?

It is a combination of the popular Mediterranean diet (think primarily plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains), and the DASH diet (again, emphasis on fruits and vegetables, no dairy).

Specifically, according to a report in US News & World Report, “The emphasis is on eating from 10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables in particular, all other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine.”  With this diet you’ll need to “avoid foods from the five unhealthy groups: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheeses, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.”

So, even if “diet” didn’t make your list of 2016 resolutions, this is one that won’t be hard to follow and is well worth it for better brain health!

Whether or not you decide to try the MIND diet, you can try playing brain games just to challenge yourself by playing fun games!  Have fun while you give your brain some exercise! And, Fit Brains has more games and more variety than any other brain training program.  Give Fit Brains a try today!

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And, follow us throughout the year to learn more about how to improve your brain health and maximize your potential in 2016!

Fit Brains. “Brain Training Success”

Source: “MIND Diet”. US News & World Report. 2015. Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/mind-diet

Introducing Our Brand New Emotional Intelligence Game!

Team Builder Games

We are excited to introduce our brand new brain training game, Team Builder!  Have fun honing your Social Skills!  

How to Play Team Builder?

Study all available candidates. Consider each person’s habits and preferences and create the perfect team. This game focuses on your ability to leverage emotional information to make better decisions with others. Touch and drag a person’s photo onto the board. Touch Submit when you’re done. Can you create the best team?

How does Team Builder stimulate your Emotional Intelligence?

Team Builder is a brain training game created to stimulate Social Skills. By asking you to consider the habits and preferences of others to form a strong team and master the game, you are training your ability to use these same important skills in your daily life.  Social Skills are the ability to leverage emotional information to make better decisions and facilitate stronger social bonds. Social skills apply to many aspects of our life, a large part being in the workplace, but also among friends and family.

Key Benefits of Emotional Intelligence:

  • Stronger Relationships
  • Better Decision Making
  • Main Predictor of Job Success
  • Higher Salary Potential

Try Fit Brains new Team Builder game today! Download our Free app now! You’ll love the results!

Play Team Builder for FREE Now!

Fit Brains

“Brain Training Success”

Move your Body, Boost your Brain, Have a Happier Holiday!

Chihuahua ReindeerWow.  It is hard to believe the holidays are upon us once again!  It is supposed to be the “happiest time of the year”, but none of us will deny that it can also be a stressful time of the year.  We feel pressure for it to be “perfect”.  We seek the “perfect gift”, the “perfect meal”, the “perfect house”, and the “perfect family time”.  But seeking perfection is stressful and, let’s face it, pretty darn impossible.  This year, relax, try to lower your stress levels, and give your brain a break by taking steps to just remember what it’s all about.  Enjoy the time with friends and family.  Be thankful for your health.  Enjoy making memories with those you love.  Focus on positive emotions and building memories this holiday season.  

Easy said, but how exactly do you do this?

We recommend getting in a little movement and activity instead of just sitting around on the couch (ok, we love that too and won’t deny you some quality couch time!)  Start a dance party, play a game of frisbee or football outside, build a snowman with the kids, break out the Wii, or take a brisk walk with your family.

In addition to just plain feeling good after being surrounded by all that food, did you know that movement can release higher levels of good chemicals in your brain such as dopamine?  You’ll activate feelings of pleasure in the brain.  Goodbye holiday stress and anxiety!  Dopamine can also help boost your memory (and hey, you’re working to turn this into a holiday you’ll WANT to remember!)  You’ll also have increased focus and attention (for better quality time with loved ones), and in general you’ll just be giving yourself an all-around brain boost!

Happy Holidays from all of us at Fit Brains!  We wish you health and happiness during this holiday season.

Fit Brains. Brain Training Success.

 

Fit Brains’ Dr. Nussbaum Talks the Brain and Emotions

laughterRecently, Fit Brains Chief Science Officer, Dr. Paul Nussbaum, shared the exciting news about Fit Brains’ new Emotional Intelligence program with Boot Camp’s Technology Correspondent, Fred Fishkin.  This blog post is dedicated to sharing Dr. Nussbaum’s perspective on Emotional Intelligence and Fit Brains’ role in bringing Emotional Intelligence to the forefront of brain training!

According to Dr. Nussbaum, Emotional Intelligence is “a fascinating part of who we are.”   But, did you know that until very recently Emotional Intelligence is an area of the brain that has been largely ignored by scientists and health experts?  However, Emotional Intelligence is actually an extremely important brain function!

Without emotional control, people are unable to appropriately express emotions, read other people’s emotions, and make decisions accordingly.  It may sound simple, but it’s actually pretty complicated and something that none of us should take for granted.  In the words of Dr. Nussbaum, “Imagine how much better the world could be if we were all better at expressing our emotions and recognizing others’ emotions!”  Of course world peace would be at the top of our list, but even just think of how much easier it could be to get along with a difficult family member, co-worker, you name it!

If you are still wondering about the important role of Emotional Intelligence, take as an example the effect that injuries from high impact sports can have on your brain.  Football is one of the most common examples.  When most of us think of brain injuries that are common to football players, we probably mostly think of purely cognitive brain issues, like poor memory or even dementia.  However, one of the most interesting findings that Dr. Nussbaum relayed during the interview is that one of the primary problems facing football players is the toll that the game takes on one’s emotional control and how this impacts daily functioning.  Stories of violence, abuse and depression are all too common, and hindered emotional control has much to do with this.

So how can you prime your brain for stronger emotional control and intelligence?  According to Nussbaum, “Fit Brains has done a great job to build the ingredients of an app that goes after the emotional system and helps people work on that.”  

Dr. Nussbaum recommends Emotional training as a lifelong pursuit and suggests even starting as young as age six.  “The younger age the better.  Six and Seven is not too young to begin doing these things. Brain health is a lifelong pursuit. The brain doesn’t know how old it is- it just wants to be stimulated.” (Makes sense, huh?)

If you haven’t yet, try Fit Brains new Emotional Intelligence games today!  They are fun and free to try.

Fit Brains

“Brain Training Success”

Meditate Your Way to a Happier Brain with Less Anxiety!

girl doing yoga pose on beach during sunset

December.  It’s a month of family get-togethers, gifts, shopping, and let’s face it, that usually comes with a heightened feeling of anxiety.  It’s a wonderful time of the year, but it’s hardly a month that we associate with rest and relaxation.  During this busy month it’s important to remember that your brain needs balance and inner peace to keep it functioning at it’s best.  While it’s good to actively “exercise” your brain, just like your body, your brain also needs periods of rest in order to recharge.  This is because chronic stress is bad for the health of your brain, and peace and quiet helps reduce stress and anxiety.      

Neuroscientists are now exploring both religious and non-religious forms of spirituality and how they affect the brain.  Practicing meditation can help reduce depression, anxiety and stress, and researchers at the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia found that meditation can even specifically improve memory and concentration (Blumberg, 2014).

In addition to spiritual practices such as meditation, here are some other top tips to ease anxiety and find that inner peace and balance that your brain needs.

  • Engage in daily prayer and/or practice complete forgiveness
  • Engage in deep breathing (5 min. 3 times daily)
  • Focus on and repeat positive ideas
  • Practice yoga
  • Engage in progressive muscle relaxation daily for 10 minutes (it’s pretty simple. First you deliberately tense your muscles and then simply relax them)
  • Muscle relaxation is even more effective if you pair it with visualization and imagery techniques! (create a mental image of a peaceful or attractive environment)
  • Give yourself 30 minutes a day to just stop and be at rest
  • Play Fit Brains Emotional Intelligence games that are designed to help you assess your mood and put you in a positive state of mind.

What are your favorite techniques for reducing stress and anxiety during this busy time of the year?  Share your comments with us!

Fit Brains. Brain Training Success.