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Becoming Smarter ~ The Fun Way !

Learning

Learning

Hi folks,

Wanted to share some fun ways my friends and I talked about on …

Becoming Smarter ~ The Fun Way !!

For as long as one can remember, it was believed that people were born with a set level of intelligence, and what you had, is all you would ever have. And that your potential was a predetermined bar that you could not rise above.

However, recent studies have shown this to be totally incorrect.  A study at Michigan University was conducted by Susanne M. Jaeggi and Martin Buschkuehl. They found that at least one aspect of a person’s fluid intelligence, which was primarily thought to be fixed at birth, can vastly improve with proper stimuli. Another study from the University of Oregon found similar findings when testing first grade students who were
struggling academically. They found that spending less than six hours playing brain games over the course of ten weeks enabled them to catch up to those students in the top of their class.

“When it comes to improving intelligence, many researchers concluded that it was not possible. Our findings, however, clearly show that this is not the case. Our brain is more plastic than we think,” said lead researcher of the Michigan University team, Susanne M. Jaeggi.

What these studies show us is that learning new skills makes the brain work better and faster by creating new neural pathways.

The following six hobbies can increase your intelligence, and I’ll tell you how!

1. Playing a musical instrument

Playing a musical instrument boosts creativity, helps develop analytic skills, and greatly improves overall  brain function.

Glenn Schellenberg conducted a study at the University of Toronto which found that learning to play a musical instrument strengthens the corpus callosum that connects both hemispheres of the brain, thereby creating new neural connections. In fact, after testing students who were playing musical instruments, he saw an average jump of seven points on their IQs.

2. Reading

You can read anything, really anything, and your brain will thank you. There are three types of intelligence- fluid, crystallized, and emotional- and reading helps improve them all. Emotional intelligence involves awareness and understanding of one’s own emotions. According to IQ test experts, “crystallized intelligence relies on existing skills, knowledge and experience to solve problems by accessing information from long-term memory.
Fluid intelligence, on the other hand, relies on the ability to understand relationships between various concepts to solve the problems. It is independent of any previous knowledge, skills or experience and accesses information from short-term memory or ‘working memory’”.

On top of improving those three aspects of brain function, reading also reduces stress, and who couldn’t use a little less stress in their life?

3. Exercising REGULARLY

Leg days at the gym, and the occasional strenuous workout won’t cut it. To reap the benefits of mental acuity, regular exercise is needed. A nightly walk, a daily swim, or even morning yoga will help improve memory, learning, focus, concentration and understanding. Exercising on a regular basis increases levels of a crucial protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. This protein is essential maintaining healthy neurons and creating new ones.The study done by Gomez-Pinilla at UCLA states that regular exercise can even repair the synapses in the spinal cord, relating to neuromuscular activity.

With these finding, the opposite has also been found to be true- lack of exercise and prolonged periods of inactivity actually inhibits our brain from functioning as well as it could.

4. Learning new languages

When we learn a new language, we trigger responses in the brain that improve skills like planning and problem-solving. Learning and speaking more than one language also positively enhances one’s ability to monitor their environment and helps them to process thoughts faster.

There is even  research which was done at the Pennsylvania State University that states learning a second language can actually increase grey and white matter in the brain!

5. Giving your brain a workout

Whether it’s solving a crossword puzzle, playing video games or board games, challenging the brain increases neuroplasticity, and makes you smarter. Neuroplasticity refers to noticeable differences and changes in neural pathways and synapses that happen because of changes in one’s environment, or situations. Basically it means the brain can adjust it’s own neurons to compensate for the changes we initiate in our own lives.

Solving problems causes us to be aware of new modes of thinking, and improves our cognitive abilities!

6. Meditating

There have been few studies on meditation as prolific as the ones Richard Davidson, a prominent neuroscience professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has conducted. His findings suggest that meditation can ultimately alter the structure and function of the brain.

WIRED writes that Davidson suggested “if meditation could enhance the brain’s ability to produce ‘attention and affect processes’ – emotions, in the technical language of his study – it might also be used to modify mal-adaptive emotional responses like depression”.

The entirety of the research results can be found in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The results were also published in the Wall Street Journal, and boy did it draw some attention.

The general concept here is understanding that the brain can change itself and heal itself (in a manner of speaking). Various activities engage different parts of the brain so you can improve your strengths and diminish your weaknesses.

There are literally countless ways to improve your brain function and increase memory, along with altering emotional responses to a more positive way of life. Two of my favorite brain enhancing activities consist of traveling to new places, and writing. I find that experiencing new cultures and lifestyles opens the mind up to endless possibilities and stirs the curiosity within. And writing is where imagination flows freely- letting the mind explore places I never knew were there.

What are some Fun ways you do to become smarter?

Leave us your tips in the comments!

Walk Learn

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Liquid Gold for your Health ~

Hi Folks,

Been awhile between posts since getting settled into the new home in the mountains. Enjoying a spectacular view right now and remembered something wanted to share with all of you on what is being called “liquid gold” .

Mountain view

Mountain view

It is thought it first started with Hippocrates (the father of medicine) using this “liquid gold” as a treatment for pain, dehydration, and fever.
And this isn’t just some “folk remedy” discredited by modern science either. Researchers (in thousands of peer-reviewed papers) continue to uncover just how healing it can be.
In fact,  after having the opportunity to chat some with some Health Care friends in the health field I learned many prescribe this “healing superfood” to patients at their clinics .
Just a reminder… 99% of other sweeteners are extremely dangerous, but your body burns THIS sugar differently than other sweeteners.

Honey contains a concentrated dose of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that nourish and re-vitalize your body. And it possesses unique antimicrobial properties that help you fight off infections.

honey jar

Throughout human history, honey has been used to treat a variety of problems…

  • Coughs
  • Wounds
  • Indigestion
  • Skin infections
  • Fatigue
  • Flu’s
  • Burns
  • And more!

For example, honey was the one of the most popular ancient Egyptian healing remedies  (and was mentioned over 500 times in 900 remedies.)

Hippocrates (the father of modern medicine) used honey as a treatment for pain, dehydration, and fever. And this isn’t just some “folk remedy” discredited by modern science either. Researchers (in thousands of peer-reviewed papers) continue to uncover just how healing honey can be.

Some else interesting I’ve found …

Consumed in moderation, sugar is a helpful source of energy. That is… provided you get it from the right sources.

We humans evolved to get our sugar by eating whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and yes, even honey. Your body knows how to extract the maximum benefit from these whole foods.

your body needs sugar to survive

Honey, in particular, has three critical healing effects…

First, honey supports your immune system and fights off harmful bacteria…Very important !!

As you know, your body is under constant assault by numerous viruses and bacteria that threaten to tire you out, make you sick, and even kill you.

Fighting off this threat is key to staying healthy.

One of the vital components in honey is an enzyme called glucose oxidase. This enzyme, when exposed to oxygen, produces hydrogen peroxide — a strong acid that dissolves the cell walls of bacteria. (Most human cells have thicker cell walls and can resist the low amounts of acid honey produces.)

This makes honey a powerful tool for fighting skin infections, healing wounds, and otherwise supporting your immune system. (And its why honey is able to last for so long in your cupboard without going bad.)

Second, it supplies the “building blocks” for healthy cells.

In addition to giving you sugars, honey equips your body with a complex array of proteins, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients. The second these nutrients hit your body, they go to work…

  • Tuning up your heart, lungs, stomach, brain, eyes, and skin…
  • Controlling cancer-causing free-radicals and stopping cell damage in its tracks…
  • Detoxifying your body of harmful pollutants and other toxins.

You may be thinking….But Wait !!

Honey still has a very high sugar content (70%-85% depending on the type of honey you get.)

And as just about any health official will tell you, sugar is a major cause of obesity, diabetes, and all the other chronic illnesses we see in abundance today.

So shouldn’t we avoid honey despite its all the antimicrobial and nutritional properties?

Well … 

That brings me to the third healing effect of honey. It turns out…

You’ve probably experienced just how rapidly most sugar burns in your body — how it gives you a sudden surge of energy followed shortly by a complete crash.

honey 2

Yet when you eat honey, you don’t get that same “flare effect”. Instead you get a slow, even burn of energy — which you can put to use for things like working, playing sports, or spending time with your family.

That’s because all the extra enzymes and nutrients in honey not only help the body rebuild itself — they also regulate how the body uses the sugar.

It’s kind of like the flame on your stove.

Contained and controlled by the burner, valves, and the rest of the stove, you can safely use the fire for cooking.

But take that flame out of context — by putting it on your living room floor for example — it can quickly burn out of control and cause all kinds of damage.

In the same way, sugars eaten outside their normal context of whole, complete foods run riot in our bodies — leaving us exhausted, overweight, and sick.

Unfortunately …. close to 90 % of sweeteners are dangerous.

The sugar you find in grocery stores, processed foods, and packaged desserts is made in large scale, industrial refineries using cheap, mass-farmed crops like sugar beets.

Food manufacturers extract the sugary pulp from the rest of the plant.

They strip away all trace of healthy minerals and nutrients.

And they leave you with a hyper-concentrated dose of empty calories that cause all kinds of chaos in your body.

Without the “burn-control” you normally get when you eat sugar that’s part of a whole food, the body can’t control the fire. And so we end up with…

  • Heart disease
  • Weight gain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Weak immune systems
  • Gut problems
  • Cancer
  • And more…

It’s not just white sugar either. Many so-called “natural sweeteners” like raw sugar, corn syrup, and agave nectar are all highly refined. One study done at Princeton found these alternatives cause just as much (if not far more) damage to your body than white sugar.

The body just doesn’t know how to properly use these concentrated, “unnatural” sugars.

So if you’re like me,  wondering why isn’t natural honey used more.

Well …

See, there are several major problems with honey. It’s simple. It’s un-patentable. And it’s not as cheap to manufacture in mass quantities as refined-sugar.

That makes selling processed sugar far more PROFITABLE than selling honey.

How profitable?

Well, according to Business Communications Company, Inc. (BCC) research, the sugar industry was worth over $77.5 billion in 2012. (And that doesn’t include the even larger market for selling processed foods containing that sugar.)

But this is only half of the story…

As you, or someone you know may have experienced … sugar causes a spike in your blood-sugar levels followed by a HUGE crash.

Because your blood-sugar level is a key signal for appetite and hunger, this crash triggers major warning alarms in your body. Your brain starts thinking that you’re starving to death.

And in response, it compels you to eat immediately — especially foods that have quick, cheap calories like sugar.

You’ve probably felt those powerful cravings before… Those times where you just have to eat something sugary (even after eating a full meal).

It’s virtually impossible to resist. (No matter how much willpower you have.)

The end result is you end up eating even more sugar, which creates another spike and crash in your blood-sugar levels.

And so the more sugar you eat, the more your body craves it. It’s an unending cycle.

Said another way…

Many researchers call sugar “the most addictive drug on the planet” — saying it’s even more addictive than crack-cocaine or heroin.

Big food companies know this.

They’re well aware of how easy it is to make you hooked on sugar (and in turn, the products they sell).

So they go to extreme lengths to convince you to keep buying…

  • They spend millions of dollars in advertising each year to push foods scientifically proven to harm our health (a vast majority of which gets aimed at young children).
  • They “bribe” government officials to prevent ANY health regulations on sugar (just like the tobacco industry did to try and stop restrictions on the sale of cigarettes).
  • They sponsor bogus scientific studies and research to show their products are “healthy” and are “not bad for you”.

Sorry for such a long post folks, but felt you should know …. and …

Know there IS a healthy alternative when used in moderation.

By the way, have been enjoying a refreshing treat of some honey with lemon in my home-brewed tea. In fact, that’s what I’m sipping while writing this to you.

Wishing everyone a Happy ~ Healthy Boundryless Life !

honey

honey