Two Simple Ways To Achieve A Better Memory And Avoid Cognitive Impairment

November 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Health, Healthy Ageing, Mental Health

What if I told you that keeping your mind sharp and your faculties in top notch condition could be achieved without any great effort, and you might even enjoy it? Well, I hope you would be tempted to try it and the most recent research offers great hope on how we can stay lively and alert and it works whether you are a student or retired so keep reading…

The first method is something you are no doubt already doing if you enjoy talking to others in a social setting. Of course most of us do, but a new University of Michigan study shows that talking with other people in a friendly way can make it easier to solve common problems can provide mental benefits according to psychologist Oscar Ybarra, a researcher at the U-M Institute for Social Research.
But, and there is always a but isn’t there, the emphasis is on friendly because conversations that are competitive in tone, rather than cooperative, have no cognitive benefits and indeed have negative results in terms of raising blood pressure and possibly losing said friends.

Cognitive function includes working memory, self-monitoring, and the ability to suppress external and internal distractions — all of which are essential in solving common life problems and succeeding at the bridge table. Previous research has found that social interaction provides a short-term boost to cognitive function that’s comparable in size to playing brain games, such as solving crossword puzzles.

Even having just a brief 10 minute conversation where you are getting to know another person can result in a boost to your subsequent performance on an array of common cognitive tasks. All very nice, and enjoyable, but why or how does it work?

“We believe that performance boosts come about because some social interactions induce people to try to read others’ minds and take their perspectives on things,” Ybarra said. “And we also find that when we structure even competitive interactions to have an element of taking the other person’s perspective, or trying to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, there is a boost in executive functioning as a result.”

What this highlights is the connection between social intelligence and general intelligence and so if you want to perform your best, having a friendly chat with a colleague before a big presentation or test may be a good strategy.

A second approach:
Many people are already aware that the B-Complex vitamins help us when stressed, indeed they are a popular element in stress supplements together with vitamin C, and new research now shows they may also help to slow the progress of dementia.

A two-year clinical trial in Oxford has shown that B vitamins, including B-6, B-12 and folic acid, slow down the rate of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) by half. MCI is a condition which is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia as approximately 50 percent of people diagnosed with MCI go on to develop Alzheimer’s within five years

Scientists from Oxford University said their two-year clinical trial was the largest to date and David Smith of Oxford’s department of pharmacology, who co-led the trial, said: ”It is our hope that this simple and safe treatment will delay development of Alzheimer’s in many people who suffer from mild memory problems.”

MCI does not usually interfere with daily life, but around 50 percent of people diagnosed with it go on to develop the far more severe Alzheimer’s disease within five years. Smith and colleagues conducted a two-year trial with 168 volunteers with MCI who were given either a vitamin pill containing very high doses of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, or a placebo dummy pill.

These B vitamins are known to control levels of an amino acid called homocysteine in the blood, and high blood levels of homocysteine are linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Brain scans were taken at the beginning and the end of the trial to monitor the rate of brain shrinkage, or atrophy.

Dr. Gustavo C. Román, medical director of the Alzheimer & Dementia Center at the Methodist Neurological Institute in Houston, Texas, said that patients who already exhibit signs of dementia and test positive for high levels of homocysteine are more likely to respond well to the large doses of B vitamins.

CAUTION: If you want to try this for yourself, please be aware that the trial involved extremely high doses that have to be closely medically monitored so do not self dose at anything over the recommended levels without medical advice.

As a preventive, adding a high potency vitamin B complex to your daily routine can’t hurt and could be extremely helpful.

The Benefits Of Eating A Raw Food Diet

So I guess by reading this article, you may be asking what are the benefits to eating a raw food diet ? Well, the benefits of eating more raw foods are numerous and once you understand them you’ll probably wonder why you haven’t eaten more raw in the past. You’ll also think twice about eating dead cooked foods ever again.

Raw Foods Give You More Energy

I can’t tell you of one person I know that follows a raw food diet that doesn’t have more energy than the average person . I know that when I transitioned away from eating a diet made up of breads, dairy, and cooked foods, and adopted more of a raw foods diet, my energy went through the roof. And I’m not talking about the quick surge you would get from an espresso but alternatively long-lasting energy that enables you to do more with less.
An example, eating raw foods will allow your body to sleep less and have far more energy than you’ve ever felt before . When I’m eating at least 80% raw, I can easily function on just 4-5 hours of sleep. I literally bounce out of bed and don’t require any naps throughout the day. Oh yeah, did I mention that I workout every single day as well? Sometimes, even twice!

Energizing Enzymes
When following a raw food diet, there are several reasons why it will give you more energy . First, raw foods are rich in food enzymes. Enzymes are compulsory for every single reaction in the body. Unfortunately, our bodies only have a finite number of these enzymes, so when we run out, we run out of life! To add to this, when you heat foods above 118 degrees fahrenheit, you destruct the food enzymes that are naturally present in all raw foods. Therefore, if you eat a predominantly cooked foods diet, you’re not getting enough food enzymes, which means that your body will have to produce and use more of its own to digest and metabolize your foods.

The less energy you will have for activities if your body requires more energy to divert towards digestion . You will feel more lethargic and tired as your body is trying to breakdown “dead” foods and figure out what to do with them.

So the food enzymes apparent in raw foods are a big reason why it boosts your energy . They are the spark plugs and are intricately related to the next property that make raw foods so energy-boosting.

Life Force

When raw foods are left intact, they are also known as living foods . They are named “living” because they carry an incredible amount of life force.

Now, since every living being has an aura or energy field illuminating from their body, which foods do you think would enhance yours? Cooked foods that are dead or high energy raw foods ? I think we both know the answer.

As I like to say, “eat alive and you will thrive”.

Weight Loss and Beautiful Skin

The other highly sought-after quality of a raw foods diet is its ability to help you lose weight and beautify your skin . Almost all raw foodists have reported losing weight they could never lose. At the same time, they notice an instant improvement in their skin. They look younger and have a natural glow that comes about because of the “living” nature of raw foods, their abundance of enzymes, and of course the plethora of nutrients that are ingested when eating more fruits and vegetables.

You will find it easier to lose weight on a raw food diet because your getting more nutrients and, therefore, your body won’t crave “dead” foods. Second, the enzymes help to breakdown the foods you are eating and excess energy and fat stores in your body. Third, raw foods are water-rich, which helps you feel more satiated, as well as hydrated.

Many of these reasons also help us explain why living foods make you look younger and beautify your skin. Enzymes, life force, water, and high quality nutrients all play a role in natural skin care.

We could talk about the benefits of a raw food diet for hours but the only to truly understand them is to experience them for yourself. So why not take action today and enjoy the health, the body, and the vitality that you deserve!

What Should You Know About Chronic Depression?

July 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Health, Mental Health

Chronic Depression is also known as Dysthymia.  Although not as serious as Major Depression, this is a severe illness.  Someone you know may have Chronic Depression and you would not know it.  Typically someone with this illness can live a regular life.  They go to work or school and go about their day to day lives without as much as creating a ripple in the water.  Of course it’s invisible to the outside world because the effects from this illness are on the inside.  There are both physical and mental results from this disease. 

Shaking, dizziness, or a fever won’t result from Chronic Depression.  There usually won’t be a rash.  But you may well feel helplessness, worthlessness and hopelessness.  Those affected may experience problems with sleep and insomnia.  The sufferer might be consumed by constant feelings of sadness and emptiness .  Death and suicide are considerations that a patient will have .  Usually people with chronic depression do a good job of hiding these signs. When mental illness exists you have to look very closely for signs and symptoms. They’re not always clear .

When you are approaching an illness such as Chronic Depression there are a few major options for treatment.  One of the most popular approaches is Psychotherapy.  You confront the mental ailment with a mental solution.  Through psychotherapy the doctor seeks the cause of depression and to create a positive outlook for the patient.  The other option is to prescribe antidepressants to help in controlling the disease.  It’s best to use both approaches at the same time.  Major Depression is often a result of Chronic Depression.  Therefore, as in with any illness, early detection of the illness cannot be underestimated. 

It’s usually not until everyday life problems arise that Chronic Depression is a noticeable issue.  When it impacts your ability to work or to relate with other people then something must be done.  Those who suffer from Chronic Depression are not crazy or mentally insane.  Care and support are needed to address the underlying issues.  Anyone can become a victim of this disease.  Having knowledge about it may one day assist you or someone you know in facing it.

 BY :Maleesha Kumari Natural Cures for Depression , Natural Remedies for Anxiety , Aromatherapy

Learn to beat panic attacks

June 26, 2010 by  
Filed under At Home, Health, Mental Health

Easily Control Your Panic Attacks

Just about everybody has had some type of stress and anxiety.  Many people experience stress and anxiety so great that they can’t do their day to day activities.  There are some symptoms for daily panic attack such as trembling, dizziness, breathing problems, and stomach pain.  There are lots of people that go to the emergency room because they think that they are having a heart attack.  Indeed these are very scary symptoms but they however are not life threatening at all. 

To help yourself in gaining control over your panic attacks you need to first recognize what the triggers are of the panic attacks.  If you happen to do this then it will give you time to deal with them.

There are some relaxation methods that may help with staying focused and calm.  Yoga, meditation, and some breathing techniques can help.  When a panic attack starts you can react out of proportion and also out of reality.  By practising breathing methods you should be able to remain calm and focus to help you stop.

All intake of caffeine needs to be avoided this includes soda, tea, coffee, and diet pills. Panic attacks are triggered from the central nervous system and caffeine stimulates it.

Exercise needs to be a ritual.  By exercising it will release endorphins into the blood stream.  These are hormones that help you reach an euphoric feeling, at also can be called a “runners high.”  Consistent exercise will help you stay focused, and also relaxed.

It is strongly recommended that you discover as much as you can before choosing to start taking any form of drugs.

Juggling makes health sense

October 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Healthy Ageing, Mental Health


I wrote recently about how multi-tasking is actually less efficient than focusing on one thing, and I was delighted to learn of a different form of ‘juggling’ that can improve your health.

If you have any oranges handy, you might want to start using them to learn to juggle as an Oxford University study has shown that it leads to changes in the white matter of the brain. These are the bundles of long nerve fibres that conduct electrical signals between nerve cells and connect different parts of the brain together. What this means in practice is that there is improved connectivity in parts of the brain involved in making the movements necessary to catch the balls.

We tend to think of the brain as being static, or even beginning to degenerate, once we reach adulthood but this research shows that its structure is ripe for change and can condition its own wiring system to operate more efficiently.

You may not want to juggle, but what this shows is the importance in adults of learning a new task or skill. The volunteers in the study had never juggled before and they were given weekly training sessions and asked to practice 30 minutes every day. After six weeks of training changes were seen in the white matter in regions of the brain which are involved in reaching and grasping in the periphery of vision, so that seems to make a lot of sense.

Ability varied, but after the training they all could juggle three balls for at least two cascades and some could juggle five balls and perform other tricks. As someone who never managed to juggle more than two bean bags, and that in slow motion, I am impressed so head out and find a new hobby that shines up that white matter to a glowing halo, and it could be as simple as going for a walk or doing a crossword rather than juggling the family finances!

An apple a day keeps old age at bay


I know the original saying is that it keeps the doctor away, but there is new evidence that the cognitive decline we associate with growing older can be delayed with the help of apple juice.

The Center for Cellular Neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts have been studying laboratory mice and found that using the standard maze trials the mice performed better than was normal after drinking apple juice. Our ability to carry out mental tasks like working out how to negotiate a maze does decline with age as our cognitive ability is lessened. The mice got the human equivalent of 2 glasses of apple juice a day for 1 month and it was found that they were producing less beta-amyloid. This is a small protein fragment that is responsible for forming the “senile plaques” that are commonly found in the brain of those suffering from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

The lead researcher suggested that if everyone was to drink two glasses of apple juice a day they would lessen their risk of cognitive decay and help keep their mind functioning at their best. For the most effective juice, buy organic or juice your own – the taste difference is really amazing.

Vitamin D and Alzheimer’s link confirmed


Cambridge University and the University of Michigan, have for the first time identified a relationship between Vitamin D and cognitive impairment in a large-scale study of older people. In northern climates there can be a lack of vitamin D, particularly in the winter months, when we suffer from grey skies and not enough sunshine.

Vitamin D is vital to our immune system and to keep our bones strong in the process of breaking down old bone and building up new bone. This process goes on throughout out lives, but it can slow down without the right levels of vitamin and mineral support. We obtain our supply from sunlight, foods fortified with vitamin D like cow’s milk, soya milk and cereals and oily fish. Unfortunately, as we get older we are less able to absorb vitamin D from sunlight so need to increase our intake from other sources or take supplements.

This new study is important because it reinforces the connection between vitamin D, cognitive function and dementia as in Alzheimer’s. The researchers assessed cognitive function in 2000 adults aged 65 and over in England, and what they found was that as levels of Vitamin D went down, their levels of cognitive impairment went up. In fact they had double the chance of being cognitively impaired than those in the study who had good levels of vitamin D.

As prevention is infinitely better than cure – which, sadly, in the case of Alzheimer’s is still being sought – it makes sense to do all you can to weigh the odds in your favour. Keep mentally alert with quizzes, crosswords or bridge. Take up a new hobby that stretches your brain (line or sequence dancing works well for this) and think about learning a new language or skill. Book a holiday in the sun in the winter and sensibly enjoy exposure to sunlight as often as you can. Supplements are easy to obtain, but there are cautions with them so don’t exceed the dose recommended by your doctor or a qualified nutritionist.

Talking therapies explained – Free guide

January 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Health, Mental Health


At some point, many of us want to take a fresh look at a problem, or an issue in their life and the first port of call is often a therapist. But which one? It can be confusing to sort your way through what is available, and how suitable it is for you and your particular concern. Most people know something of how counseling works, but would psychoanalysis or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy better – and how do you know? There is now an excellent free guide from The Mental Health Foundation called ‘Talking therapies explained’, and it does exactly that. It is a quick and easy guide that explains the types of different therapies available and how they work, as well as organisations listing reputable therapists.

To get the right help, you nee to know the right questions to ask, and the guide lists practical questions to ask when looking around because although work is being done to address the accreditation and regulation of therapists, there are still unscrupulous and poorly qualified practitioners around and you can’t always recognize them without some help.

The Government now has a programme to improve access to psychological therapies on the NHS, but it has only just begun and there is currently an average wait of six months to get an appointment. In these stressful times, more people need help than ever and certainly the talking therapies not only improve an individual’s mental health but also their ability to manage family life, relationships, a job or an ongoing physical illness.If you would like a copy of ‘Talking therapies explained’ you can either telephone the Mental Health Foundation on 020 7803 1101 or download it from their website at and it is free for a single copy, though there is a small charge for bulk orders.

Blood test to detect early Alzheimer’s

There is no doubt that the fear of Alzheimer’s is a major concern for many people as they get older. A natural, and normal slight memory loss – those ‘senior moments’ – can develop into a genuine worry about the development of the disease. Part of the problem has been that there is no foolproof way of predicting who is vulnerable, no reliable test, or how to spot the disease in its very early stages. Now there may be a way to overcome this through a simple blood test.

Scientists at a California biotech company claim that the test is about 90% accurate and can detect Alzheimer’s two to six years before the onset of symptoms. It works through the signals the brain sends to the body’s immune system. These signals pick up changes in the blood proteins in the brain and certain changes in these proteins produce a pattern that’s characteristic to Alzheimer’s.

There are more than 100 different types of dementia, but Alzheimer’s is the most common and there are 417,000 people diagnosed with it in the UK – predicted to rise to over 1 million by 2025.

It will be a few years before this test is available for use by doctors and it would be offered first to those whose close relatives have the disease and who may be suffering memory loss themselves. It may be that you don’t want to know in advance if you have this disease, but an early diagnosis can give patients a chance to make changes to their diet and exercise more in an effort of slowing or staving off chances of getting the disease.

Despite common belief, heredity only plays a part in getting Alzheimer’s and it is more likely that environmental factors play a part – particularly the role of free radicals as they cause damage to cells. Cortisol, a stress hormone, may be a causative factor, particularly when produced over a long period of time and good nutrition and herbal treatments prevent and fight damage from free radicals and reduce stress. Toxins such as aluminium and mercury are also a problem since they can be taken into the body and remain in the tissues.

There are a number of things you can do to help lessen some of the symptoms, or the onset, of Alzheimer’s and these are just a few of the supplements that have been found to be effective in many cases:

*Ginkgo biloba for improved memory, attention and mood.

*B vitamins, particularly Folate, which is important to the nervous system and helps eliminate homocysteine from the blood.

*Vitamin E is a scavenger of free radicals and it is fat soluble so readily enters the brain where it is thought to slow cell damage.

*The Ayuredic herb Ashwagandha (Withania somniferum) is used as a brain tonic and reduces stress hormone levels

*DHEA is a hormone used to help cognitive function

*Chlorella aids in the detoxification process of heavy metals.

For more information on Alzheimer’s and dementia, visit

Omega 3, dieting and depression

Studies in the US have linked a low dietary intake of omega 3 fatty acids and dieting with growing rates of depression. Interestingly, the risk of developing depression has increased at a rate similar to the rise in consumption of omega 6 fatty acids from sources like vegetable seed oils and is relative to the decrease in omega 3 fatty acids from fish, walnuts, and flaxseed. Many nutritionists feel that this is a direct result of the increased consumption of processed foods as opposed to eating ‘real’ food.

The study gave either a fish oil capsule or a sugar pill in addition to their antidepressant medication to the participants. Just two weeks into the study, there was an improved sense of well being and sleeping patterns in the omega 3 supplement group. After four weeks a substantial had a significant reduction in the symptoms of depression as compared to those taking the sugar pill. The study concluded that the fatty acid EPA may be used as an antidepressant booster, but I would go further and suggest that it can be used proactively to help anyone with a tendency to depression before they start medication. Dietary changes have already been substantiated as helping depression, and adding in adequate amounts of Omega 3 can definitely help.

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