Month: January 2019

Did You Know/Health Tip

Here are some great brain healthy foods that really pack the power:

1. Walnuts

Good for both your heart and your brain, all nuts in general are good sources of healthy fats. Walnuts specifically are high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of the famous Omega-3 fatty acid. In fact, a study completed in 2015 linked increased walnut consumption with improved cognitive testing scores.[1]

2. Salmon

Fatty fishes such as salmon have gotten so much great attention related to their healthy fat content. Well here is another benefit to add to the list:

Because salmon is such an abundant source of Omega-3 fatty acids, they are a good source of decreasing blood levels of beta-amyloid. Beta-amyloid is the protein that forms the dangerous clumps in your brain leading to Alzheimer’s disease.[2]

3. Turmeric

It is now known that the neurons in our brains can continue to form new connections throughout adulthood which was once believed to be impossible. One of the main drivers in the process of building these new pathways is called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

The great news is that it is likely that turmeric can increase BDNF levels leading to improved brain function and decreased risk of degenerative brain processes.[3]

4. Blueberries

The anti-oxidative properties of berries are powerful! It has been shown that consuming at least two servings of berries each week can improve memory and prevent memory decline.

5. Tomatoes

With the composition of your brain being mostly fat, 60% to be exact, the fat soluble nutrients in tomatoes act as a powerful safeguard. Specifically known as carotenoids, these nutrients are great antioxidants that help to neutralize free radicals. This is an important process to keep your brain functioning at its highest level.[4]

6. Chia Seeds

Another great source of healthy fats, the Omega-3 fatty acids found in chia seeds are a powerful brain enhancer.[5]

Here’re the amazing benefits of chia seeds (and some refreshing recipes).

7. Broccoli

Research suggests that consuming dark green vegetables regularly slows cognitive decline. This is likely due to these veggies being rich in brain healthy nutrients such as Vitamin A, K, folate, lutein, and fiber.

8. Apples

Studies from 2006 showed that a common compound in apples, quercetin, may protect the neurons in our brain against oxidation. It is believed that the quercetin reduces cellular death in the brain related to oxidation and inflammation of the neurons. This process may play an important role in reducing neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.[6]

9. Spinach

Again! Those leafy greens! Leafy greens are a powerhouse of brain protective nutrients and antioxidants.

10. Onions

Onions are a good natural source of folate. Folate has been shown to improve the blood flow to the brain by decreasing homocysteine levels in the body. This also may have beneficial effects for those suffering with depression.[7]

11. Flax Seeds

Another rich source of Omega 3 and ALA! Flax seeds can help reduce blood pressure and therefor improve blood flow to the brain. This reduction of blood pressure also helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes. It’s a win, win!

12. Coffee

The caffeine in your daily cup of Joe may be doing more than wake you up. A 2014 study showed that those with higher caffeine consumption had improved test scores on mental function and had better memory recall.[8]

13. Tea

The combination of caffeine and the amino acid L-Theanine found in tea, has been shown to have powerful effects on brain function. In a 2017 study, green tea was shown to improve cognition, memory power, and reduce anxiety.[9]

The Bottom Line

There are many foods that have been shown to benefit the brain! What is most important to keep in mind is to focus on whole, real foods.

In summary and in looking at the above list, you can see that nature has powerful benefits. Eating what nature is providing us is the fastest way to feeding your brain.

Featured photo credit: Lars Blankers via unsplash.com

Thank you for reading 🙂

Uses for Microwaves/Did You Know?

20 Uses for Microwave That Will Surprise You For Sure

Someone who is using the microwave to heat only food and water, is under-utilizing the microwave. Read on for some incredible ways to use the Microwave that will not just surprise you, but will also allow you to get the maximum utility out of it.

1. Making the Perfect Poached Egg

Pour boiling water into a microwave safe bowl and add a pinch of white vinegar to it. Crack the egg into a bowl and lightly pierce the yolk with a toothpick. Cover the bowl with cling film and microwave it on full power for 30 seconds. Remove the bowl, turn the egg gently, and then microwave again for another 20 seconds. You eggs will be perfectly poached.

2. Soaking Lentils and Beans

Do you often forget to soak lentils and beans overnight ? Microwave, comes to the rescue in these situations. Soak the beans or lentils into a bowl full of water. Add a pinch of bicarbonate soda to it. Ensure that the beans or lentils are fully covered in water, Microwave the bowl at full power for 10 minutes, and then leave them inside for another 40 minutes. Your lentils or beans will be soaked perfectly by then.

3. Re-hydrating Stale Bread

Cover the loaf or slice of bread in a water soaked kitchen towel, and put it in the microwave for 10 seconds. Repeat the procedure as necessary until you find the bread properly hydrated.

4. Inducing Crunch in Potato Chips

For the potato chips that have lost their crunch, place them in the microwave on a kitchen towel for 30 seconds. Repeat the procedure as necessary until the towel absorbs the moisture from the wafers and the chips crunchiness is restored.

5. Toasting Nuts and Spices

In order to bring out the beautiful aroma of nuts, spices and seeds, one could zap them in a microwave in bursts of 15 seconds. Repeat the procedure until the aroma from the nuts and spices engulfs your kitchen. Your nuts should be perfect.

6. Disinfecting Sponges

Do you throw away dirty kitchen sponges after a couple of uses ? You need not do that. Instead, put the dirty sponge into a bowl filled with water and a dash of vinegar or lemon juice and zap the bowl at high power for around a minute in the microwave. This will clean the sponge and disinfect it thoroughly

7. Disinfecting Cutting Boards

Similar to the kitchen sponges, the cutting boards can also be disinfected in the microwave. Wash the cutting board well, and scrub a slice of lemon on the side that is cut. Microwave the board for a minute and the board will be fully disinfected. You could use the same procedure to disinfect children’s and dog toys.

8. Using it as a Proofer

This is a tip for all those people who bake bread at home. The microwave works as an excellent proofer – A contraption that remains warm and moist for yeast breads to rise. Bring to boil a cup of water for 2-3 minutes. Once the water starts boiling, stash your dough along with the cup of boiling water in the microwave, and leave it there until the yeast does its thing.

9. Cooking Potatoes

Potatoes can be cooked in a microwave rather quickly. First prick the potatoes on all sides using a fork. Then put as many potatoes as will fit in your microwaveable bowl, and cook them at high voltage for 2 minutes. Remove the bowl and turn the potatoes over, Cook them again for a further 2 minutes. Your potatoes should be cooked and ready.

10. Cooking Fish

Fist can be cooked quite perfectly in the microwave. Wrap the fish in a microwaveable plastic and add some seasoning – salt, pepper and lime. Microwave the wrapped fish for around 2 minutes. The cooking time depends on the strength of the microwave and the thickness of the fillet. Watch the fish closely, to prevent it from getting over cooked.

11. Cooking Bacon

Wrap the slices of bacon in kitchen towels and microwave them for 2-3 minutes. The Kitchen towel soaks the moisture from the bacon and makes the slices crisply cooked

12. Steaming Vegetables

Similar to fish and potatoes, vegetables can also be cooked in the microwave. Prick them with forks and cook them in the microwave for 3-4 minutes as required. Steaming vegetables in the microwave minimizes nutrient losses, and is faster than steaming the vegetables inside a cooker or a steamer.

13. Recrystallizing Honey

If honey solidifies inside the jar, then use a microwave to soften it. Uncover the jar, and microwave it for 30 seconds to 1 minute. This will liquefy honey and bring it back to a good consistency.

14. Peeling Garlic

Do you find it hard to peel cloves of garlic ? If yes, then microwave the garlic cloves on top of a kitchen tissue for around 10 seconds. The tissue will absorb the moisture and allow you to peel the garlic effortlessly

15. Chopping Onions

Do you get teary eyed, every time you chop an onion? Place the onion in the microwave for 30 seconds before you start chopping it. Microwaving the onion, takes the sting out of the onion juice. Hence you will not get teary eyed, even if onion juice enters your eyes.

16. Squeezing Lemons

Are you in the habit of squeezing every little drop of juice from a lemon before throwing it away ? Putting the lemon in a microwave for 1 minute, makes it very juicy. This allows you to squeeze the lemon easily until you reach the last drop.

17. Removing Postage Stamps

If you are a collector of stamps, then you would rather not cause damage to the stamp when tearing it out of the envelope. To avoid causing any damage, sprinkle a couple of drops of water on the postage stamp and microwave it. The stamp gets peeled easily off the envelope.

18. Warming Hair Oil and Other Beauty Products

In winter the hair oil hardens inside the bottle, and it becomes difficult to remove oil. In this case, microwave the bottle for 20 seconds. This liquefies the oil within the bottle, which can then be poured out quite easily. Similarly, if hot wax cools down before you are done waxing your leg, then microwave the jar for 20 seconds. It is an easy and a non-messy technique to reheat wax.

19. Heating Medical Aids

In order to effectively get a hot water compress, do you use hot running water? You could get a hot water compress by soaking a hand towel in water, and then microwave it for 1 minute. In no time, will you have a soothing hot compress. Similarly, if you use heated gel packs to alleviate head aches, then again you can heat and reheat the gel packs inside the microwave.

20. Identifying Microwave-safe Containers

A microwave can itself be used to test if the container is microwave safe or not. Fill a cup that you already know to be microwave-safe with water. Place the cup of water on or in the container (do not pour the water into the container) and microwave both of them for one minute until the water starts boiling. If the containeryou are testing is cool to touch then it is microwave safe, if it is warm or hot, then you shouldn’t use it in the microwave.

Thank you for reading 🙂

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