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Incidental Training could save Your Life!

Incidental Training: Everything Can Be Training

By  on March 11, 2019

I saw an interesting documentary on the BBC a while ago called ‘The Truth About Slim People’, that followed the lives of slim people to see what they did differently from their larger counterparts. These people didn’t eat particularly carefully, or stick to any exercise regime, and yet they never seemed to gain weight.

Meanwhile, some people who count every calorie still don’t seem able to shed the pounds.

While I discussed some possible reasons for this in a previous video, the idea that this program honed in on was that the slim people were simply more active throughout the day. They would walk more, they would bob their leg, and they would take the stairs instead of the elevator.

This concurs with an interesting theory that our body will automatically seek a state of homeostasis and therefore prevent us from losing weight. Ever noticed how your weight doesn’t fluctuate on a week-to-week basis much? That’s probably because your body ramps up and down activity in order to adapt to the amount of calories you consumed that day.

Eat a little more, and you might find that you think harder (that’s right: thinking burns calories), you move a little faster (perhaps there is a spring in your step as you bound up the stairs), you shiver more, and your metabolism ramps up.

Conversely though, on days where you didn’t quite get as much to eat, you might find yourself crashing out early on the couch, lowering your resting metabolic rate (study), and tossing and turning less when you sleep. Your body has reached a state of healthy homeostasis and it requires a pretty big jolt to break this comfortable equilibrium.

Use a fitness tracker and you might be forgiven for thinking that the workout you just did helped you to burn a ton of calories. 180 in an hour is roughly an average for weightlifting for instance. The problem is that we often forget to deduct the calories we would have burned that same hour by just doing nothing. That’s probably around 50. Meanwhile that really you only burned an additional 130 calories – less impressive. That’s like a four finger KitKat.

The point of all this is that when it comes to health and particularly weight loss, the amount of movement you do throughout the day is probably more important than the amount of effort you put in down the gym for an hour.

More Reasons to Move Regularly

And this makes sense too when you consider our evolutionary background. In the wild, we would not have spent 95% of our time inactive, and then attempted to blow all of our energy in a single hour of intense weight lifting! Is it any wonder that this often leads to injury?

Sitting all day is actually immensely destructive for our health and has been linked with all kinds of health problems. According to widely reported research conducted a couple years back, sitting increases your chances of suffering from a wide range of diseases. In the study, Brazilian researchers looked at data from 54 countries and found that across the board, sitting for more than three hours was linked to 3.8% of deaths from all causes. The conclusion? That restricting sitting to less than three hours a day could increase your lifespan by an average of 0.2 years!

Another piece of research looked at information from across 47 previous studies and found that sitting raised the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and ‘early death’ (cardiovascular disease and cancer will do that…). What’s more, this held true even for those that exercise regularly. In other words, you can’t ‘undo’ a lifetime of sitting by hitting the gym a few times a week. Physical activity helps but only to a small degree (those that are physically active are 30% less likely to die but they don’t get let off the hook!).

Another study conducted by a team from the University of Queensland in Australia had even more morbid findings. They found that on average, each hour of sitting in front of the television would reduce the life expectancy of adults by 22 minutes!

In another study, a team at the University of Queensland in Australia analyzed data on the television- viewing habits of 8,800 Australians. They calculated that each hour of television correlated with 22 minutes off the average life expectancy of an adult older than 25.

Remember that correlation does not mean causality! And I certainly wouldn’t put too much stock in these findings… but still, it’s definitely an interesting point to consider.

There are more reasons to move regularly too. Doing so, for instance, can help to combat anxiety (study), boost executive function (study), and reduce blood pressure and other markers of poor health.

The Solution: Incidental Exercise

So what is the solution?

One answer is ‘incidental exercise’. This refers to the exercise that you do throughout the day and typically encompasses things like ‘taking the stairs instead of the elevator’ or carrying shopping to your car.

If you’re struggling to lose weight, then take a look at your daily routine and ask yourself how much activity is involved. If you drive to work, sit at a desk, then come home and sit on the sofa… then you have room for improvement!

Incidental exercise is really about making healthy choices throughout the day: doing things like getting off the bus a stop early.

You are simply making the conscious decision to move more, thereby overriding your body’s attempt to maintain homeostasis. If you set yourself reminders to move or use tricks like standing desks, then you can reduce the amount of time you spend sat down.

Take a look at your routine and find places where you could easily insert a little more activity without making yourself overly tired or sweaty.

You can even set yourself easy little goals – such as doing ten press-ups every hour, on the hour. You’ll be surprised at how much lighter, more energetic, and less stressed you feel.

The Next Level: Incidental Training

But we can take this a step further with what I like to call ‘incidental training’. I assumed this was already a thing, but looking around I couldn’t find any reference to it.

The idea behind incidental training is simple: you’re going to integrate actual training into your routine – so that you aren’t just doing a single workout a day, but are also distributing shorter ‘micro workouts’ throughout your day.

Examples might include performing single legged calf raises off a curb while waiting for a bus, or performing an isometric curl against some railings. I use calf raises while bouncing my baby to sleep, and I play a game with here where I hold her in the air and perform sit-ups. You might keep a grip trainer by your kettle and use that whenever you’re waiting for the water to boil. Or you might perform some stretches in the shower. You can curl shopping bags and suitcases, or you can do a pistol squat down to the ground the next time you need to pick something up that you’ve dropped.

Another old trick is to leave a piece of equipment somewhere and then use that every time you go past. A lot of people do this with a pull-up bar – performing chin ups or pull ups every time they walk through their doorframe.

Or how about doing a very short 5 minute run around the block before lunch?

Does this work? What about overtraining you ask?

The answers to both these points depend on the type of training and what your goals are.

Studies show that micro workouts involving cardio are sufficient for increasing cardio fitness to some degree and that they actually help to improve adherence. Beyond a basic level of fitness though, you’re likely looking at HIIT sessions, which are still very intense and will leave you sweaty and panting for a good while.

It is possible to encourage growth in your muscles in a short space of time by using intensity techniques like drop sets to flush them with metabolites and cause muscle damage. Target a single muscle group, do a couple of drop sets, and in 10-15 minutes you can get a decent burn going that will equate to growth the next day. But doing this repeatedly throughout the day will take time, leave you sweaty, and potentially prevent recovery.

Lifting a very heavy weight on the other hand for just a couple of repetitions is even more likely to be effective in increasing your mind-muscle connection, your correct movement patterns, etc. Again though, there is some risk of burning out your CNS here, and of introducing injury. And it’s hardly convenient!

So we need to be strategic.

High rep and high weight work can be useful throughout the day as a way to ‘top up’ your training, to make up for shorter or missed workouts, or to feed the muscles with enhanced blood flow, to encourage recovery and growth. You can trigger significant changes in a short space of time, as long as you have been training long enough to know what triggers your body to change.

This is one way I’ve been coping with the lower energy levels and reduced free time that comes from being a parent.

Likewise, by using lighter weights and body weight, you might be able to benefit from what is known as ‘greasing the groove’ – as described by Pavel Tsatsouline. This means that you’re repeating a movement over and over again, so as to improve your ability to perform that movement correctly. This applies in golf where overtime your swing becomes more and more perfect.

But seeing as ‘strength is a skill’, you can see the precise same benefit by performing very light deadlifts if you keep a barbell in your garden. Pull-ups are also a great example, as are things like attempting handstands or planche. Keep some parallettes by your TV and have a go every now and then throughout the evening. You’ll be reinforcing neural connections through a process called myelination, thereby improving the efficiency of the movement, and thereby the strength.

Practising pistol squats

Better yet: why not try using overcoming isometrics to increase neural drive (static contractions where you push or pull against something without moving), or the concentric-only exercises I talked about in my work capacity video. In short: removing the eccentric portion of the movement that often incurs the most muscle damage and inflammation means that training is less likely to impede your subsequent workouts.

That’s why the aforementioned example of squeezing a grip trainer while the kettle boils is perfect.

Look for ways to insert incidental training into your routine to complement your current program, and you could see significant strength, size, and endurance gains.

Training Other Things

The other thing to remember is that weightlifting is not the only kind of training. I talked about a training program for the mind the other day, and discussed ideas such as performing mental arithmetic to boost working memory. You can easily do this while doing other mundane tasks.

Or how about engaging in a little ‘mindful ironing’ – meaning you focus 100% on the ironing to turn it into a form of meditation!

Flexibility is something that can be practiced anywhere, any time. Again, stretching in the shower is ideal, as is stretching before bed to improve sleep.

Or what about throwing a few punches next time you’re watching TV?

Why walk somewhere when you can jog? Or jog backwards and develop your legs and coordination in a whole new way? Who cares what people think.

Why stand when you can stand on one leg and improve your balance?

Why write when you can write left-handed?

Why go through the gate when you can jump over it?

EVERYTHING can be training.

Closing Thoughts

Whether your aim is to get the blood pumping and improve your health with a little more light activity throughout the day, to squeeze training in around an intensely busy schedule, or to improve a specific skill; incidental training is an excellent option. For me, this was the only way to add flexibility training into a hugely packed regime! Let me know in the comments down below how you turn everyday activities into convenient workouts.

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About the article writer Adam Sinicki

Hi there! My name is Adam Sinicki, I’m an entrepreneur, psychology graduate and amateur bodybuilder interested in fitness, self-improvement, technology, and transhumanism. I run an online business (NQR Productions) which allows me to live the lifestyle I want: getting time to hit the gym and to work on my projects and apps. Stick around and I’ll be sharing my experiments and adventures in brain training, bodybuilding, productivity, business, and technology.

Enjoy a Healthy Body and Mind

Healthy lifestyle

Hello Folks,

Been traveling for work, but wanted to update all those interested in improving their strength training and conditioning to head on over to YouTube and check out / subscribe to NorCal Strength Studio and Corporate Warrior, please.
Pat and Oliver (NorCal Strength Studio) are doing a great job and deserve our support. You can find more of their YouTube material here – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJbBLv8o_yrUs9YdB2eFH0w

 

Same goes for my friend Lawrence Neal over at Corporate Warrior ( btw – you can watch videos directly from his website )

Lawrence Neal__Corporate Warrior

 

Furthermore, a doctor who contributes regularly to easy ways to keep our body and mind healthy is Dr. Doug McDuff,  One of his recent YouTube videos shows how easy it is to build our health. His YouTube channel can be found here – Dr. Doug McGuff

Dr. Doug McGuff
All of these guys are dedicated, hardworking to promote safe and effective training so it would be great for us to show support for them. 


Many thanks ~ Here’s to enjoying Living Boundrylessly Happy – Healthy Life! 

 

Additional links for you:

NorCal Strength Studio: Interview with Doug McGuff, MD – https://youtu.be/0RTqy5zrCpg

Corporate Warrior podcasts: http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com/podcast-2/

 

Do yoU drink THIS First each day ? !

Fresh lemon juice

Fresh lemon juice

Hi Folks,

Got a great and easy way to help you detoxify your body, improve digestion AND…. Boost your metabolism as well.

My Tai Chi friend mentioned this to me and wanted to share with all of you.

We’re constantly being bombarded with toxins in our daily lives – from polluted air, water, shampoos and other cosmetics that lather our body with chemicals, and of course, all of the chemical additives, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and other harmful compounds in the food that we eat.

All of these TOXINS can have harmful effects on your body, harming your metabolism and hormones, impairing your digestive system, and zapping your energy levels.

If I could tell you ONE thing that you could do each morning right as you wake up to help your body eliminate some of these toxins, improve your digestion, stimulate your metabolism, and BOOST your energy, would you do it?

Of course you would… and it takes less than 1 minute!

Here’s the not so Secret secret …

Soon after awakening squeeze about 1/2 to 1 full lemon (depending on size of the lemon) into an 8 oz glass of warm or room temperature purified water.  This is gentler on your body first thing in the morning compared to ice cold water.  I’ve found that slicing the lemon into quarters before squeezing by hand is easier than squeezing halves.

Drink this at least 10 minutes before eating any food for the day.

Make sure to use fresh organic lemons to make this drink, and not bottled lemon juice.  You want to use organic lemons to avoid the pesticides that can accumulate.
3 Major benefits of this morning drink to your body, health, and energy:

According to a leading health publication, TheAlternativeDaily.com:

“The health promoting benefits of lemons are powerful. For centuries, it has been known that lemons contain powerful antibacterial, antiviral and immune boosting components. We know that lemons are a great digestive aid and liver cleanser. 

Lemons contain citric acid, magnesium, bioflavonoids, vitamin C, pectin, calcium and limonene, which supercharge our immunity so that the body can fight infection.

Lemons are considered one of the most alkalizing foods you can eat. This may seem untrue as they are acidic on their own. However, in the body, lemons are alkaline; the citric acid does not create acidity once it has been metabolized. The minerals in lemons are actually what helps to alkalize the blood.  Most people are too acidic (from eating too much sugar and grains), and drinking warm lemon water helps reduce overall acidity, drawing uric acid from the joints.

This reduces the pain and inflammation which many people feel. And the American Cancer Society recommends warm lemon water to encourage regular bowel movements.”
Other great benefits:

1. Improves digestion:

Lemon juice helps your body improve digestion and stimulates bile production. Lemon juice can even be an aid for heartburn and indigestion.
2. Boosts energy:

Even just the scent of lemon juice has been shown to improve your mood and energy levels, and reduce anxiety.  Plus the detoxifying effect and alkalizing effect of fresh organic lemon juice can improve your energy through the removal of toxins from your body.
3. REALLY like this one ~ Helps one lose fat:

Since lemon juice helps to improve your digestive system, aids in removal of toxins, and increases your energy levels, this all combines together to help you to lose body fat as well through improving your hormonal balance… Yet another reason to add warm lemon water to your daily morning routine!

Here’s to waking up to a Happy ~ Healthier 2015 !!

Lemon Water

Lemon Water

Economical Super Foods – Oh Yeah !!

Enjoying Healthy foods is not difficult....so don't panic

Enjoying Healthy foods is not difficult….so don’t panic

Hi Everyone,

Hope all of you are enjoying summer.

Here’s some great Super Foods that are Great for you but won’t empty your wallet.
So you can enjoy better health AND have money for that Awesome vacation too.

Step aside, goji berries, acai and spirulina…
Superfoods do not have to be exotic or pricey.

Here’re 4 superfoods you can easily find in your local grocery store or farmer’s market that are reasonably priced, easily obtainable by the average person and best of all, super nutritious.

First is Celery ..

celery

celery


Celery has an impressive nutritional profile, containing many antioxidants such as vitamins C, A, manganese and beta carotene. It is also an excellent source of fiber, and is rich with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and dietary sodium in perfect balance. It has been used by people in Asia for centuries as a blood pressure reducer. Additionally, it contains cancer and inflammation fighting compounds.

Second is Banana

Bananas

Bananas


The humble banana may be the cheapest superfood around. Available for as low as 20 cents per serving, one banana comes with an impressive 34% RDA of vitamin B6, which performs many health functions in our body such as maintaining proper nervous system function, warding off cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, general infection and obesity. Bananas also support stomach and digestive tract health.

Third is Watermelon

watermelon

watermelon


Watermelon, bountiful and budget friendly in the summertime, is actually one of the most nutrient dense foods around. It provides high amounts of many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants with a relatively low amount of calories. It aids digestion and bowel regularity with its high water and fiber content, is great for hydration, and is rich in lycopene, which has been associated with protection against heart disease and cancer.

Fourth is Romaine Lettuce

Romaine-Lettuce

Romaine-Lettuce


Forget about tough, chewy dark greens like kale and chard… romaine can do it all. Not only is it high in calcium, one head of lettuce containing about 26% RDA, but it is also low in oxalic acid, an anti-nutrient that inhibits calcium absorption. (Hint: dark leafies are high in calcium but also high in oxalic acid). Romaine is also rich in water, is a complete protein with 7.7 grams per head, and surprisingly, provides 44% RDA of Omega-3 essential fatty acids.

So the next time you worry about getting more superfoods in your life, give your wallet a rest and just go for these widely available and affordable fruits and veggies instead.

Remember, health doesn’t have to cost you, however poor health certainly will.

Here’s to enjoying living a Boundrylessly Happy & Healthy Life folks !!

F – I – T exercise into your daily Plans

See exercise as your daily ritual

See exercise as your daily ritual

Hi folks,

Today want to mention about making time to exercise.

Like most of us, we have busy lives at home and work.

Here’s some simple ways to do it.

F = Find time. Find means make time, if only a few minutes throughout the day for it.
I = Invest in YOU ! You ARE important. You’re of more value when your body and mind are healthy.
T = Talk. This refers to telling yourself something Positive Daily !!

Here’s some additional tips for you…

First: Begin each day doing just 5 minutes of movement as soon as you wake up.
Who says you have to train for an hour in the gym as soon as you start a new fitness plan? No one with half a brain. In order to create a new healthy habit that you can stick with, begin with a lifestyle change that is so small that you barely notice it. To illustrate, let’s say you have to be at work by 8 a.m., so you usually wake up around 6:30-7:00 a.m. (Note: I’m just using examples to make sure you get the idea, modify this to fit your own schedule). Simply wake up 10 or 15 minutes early and do the following workout*:

15-30 squats

25-50 jumping jacks or run in place for 30 seconds (giving options here, because I notice most people don’t like jumping jacks. You can even dance, do the Twist – MOVE !

10-25 push-ups (with your hands elevated on your wall or kitchen sink if needed)

25-50 jumping jacks or run in place for 30 seconds

5 yoga poses/stretches of your choosing (make sure you take care of your upper *and* lower body)

*Note: I’m listing ranges of repetitions instead of a specific number, because I’m sure a wide range of folks with a variety of experience levels are reading this. If you’re not sure where to start, do this during your first training session: assuming a scale of 1-10 that describes how tired you feel, stop the exercise at #5. Write down how many repetitions you are able to perform and gradually add 2-5 more per workout to make it more difficult. Begin by performing a single set of every exercise listed for as many repetitions as you can safely, which should take about five minutes. When that becomes too easy, make it two sets. When that becomes too easy, make it three sets. You get the idea.

Second: Get your gym gear together the night before.
Before you go to bed, lay out your gym and work clothes for the next day. It’s a lot easier to get organized while you’re still half-conscious than it is before you’ve had your coffee (and feeling like a zombie). For bonus points, put your gym shoes and socks next to the bed. If you workout in the evening, collect your training gear, put it in a bag, and toss it into your car.

Third: Treat exercise as if it is your job.
Exercise should be an enjoyable experience (if you’re doing it right), but there is no denying that you’re not always going to feel like working out. But since exercise is just as important for your physical health as going to work is for your fiscal health, why should it be treated any differently? Treat exercise as if it is a very important appointment by scheduling your training days on a calendar or planner. Aim to exercise on the same days, at the same times, every single week. If repeated consistently, this will train your brain to turn exercise into a consistent habit that doesn’t require much thought process.

Forth: Enjoy a mid-day / lunch walk to relax and unwind.
Remember that early morning workout I gave you in point #1? If you’re interested in bonus points, here’s another easy way to squeeze exercise into your day. Sometime around the middle of your day (maybe at lunch time?), go for a 10-30 minute walk downtown or at a park. Breathe deeply and try to quiet your inner-chatter, enjoying the peace and silence, while you walk. You’ll come back to work re-charged and ready to make the most of the rest of your day (plus, you’ll burn extra calories too!).

Fifth: Remember why exercising is important in the first place.
Never forget why pursuing health and fitness is so important in the first place. Do you want to be a positive example for your children? Could you use more energy to carry you gracefully throughout your days? Would you like to get fit so you can feel more confident in your body? Are you taking expensive pills with nasty side-effects, all of which could be avoided if you made a better effort to take care of yourself? Whatever the case may be, know your why.

Remember: Doing a little throughout the day, adds up by the end of the day. Go for It !!

Here’s to living a Boundrylessly Happy & Healthy Lifestyle – Daily !

You ARE Awesome !

You ARE Awesome !

When Less is More ~

 

 

Body weight exercise is So easy to do anywhere ~ Trust Me

Body weight exercise is So easy to do anywhere ~ Trust Me

Hi folks,

Hope all of you enjoyed a wonderful Happy Thanksgiving while giving Thanks to those special people in your life.

Between traveling for work and visiting family for the big Thanksgiving Turkey day been bus..but a Good Busy 😉
Whenever life gets busy it reminds me of the lesson of …Less is More ~

Focus on Exercise for Health. Exercise shouldn’t ever be something used to counter bad eating habits or because you feel as if you should do it – to put is simply only exercise when you are itching to move and then do exercise you enjoy. For most people who is some kind of sport or general play activity (frisbee, walks, group exercise classes)

Dont Worry About Strength – Many factors apply to strength: limb length, gender and body type…

We’re a combination of levers; that’s how we move,” Vanderburgh said. “Generally speaking, the longer the limb, the more of a disadvantage in being able to do a pull-up. I look at a volleyball player and wouldn’t expect her to be able to do a pull-up, but I know she’s fit.” – Link

Strength is not a good indicator of general health and wellness. Yes resistance training is important but how much you lift is not – simply doing some form of weight training is important for bone density and a strong body that functions well, for men and women.

Use it or Lose it – When it comes to general health and wellness there is a definite correlation between those who move and health. Whereas there is no direct correlation between avid exercisers (gym rats, serious runners etc) and health/wellbeing.
Take advantage of your body. Walk and spend time on your feet – simply standing for prolonged periods forces our postural muscles to kick in and work, it also turns off fat storage triggers and makes you more likely to stay lean. For instance standing while on the phone, the bus or walking to get your shopping are all ways to sneak in time on your feet without thinking about it. There is no harm in sitting but it shouldn’t be your default position for the day as it causes bad posture and weakened muscles, especially the hip flexors and lower back.

This goes for those who also exercise. It is not what you do for 1hr a day that counts it’s what you do for the other 12 hours you are awake. Make sure to take regular strolls if you work in a seated environment, also stretch at some point during the day (ideally before bed to release and relax muscles)

So How Should You Exercise? The two rules for this are to exercise when you have energy and actually feel like getting up and doing something. In other words no going for a run when your body is telling you to lie down and nap.

And number two is to exercise in a way that you enjoy, find something that gets you excited and wanting to move whether it be playing a sport or going for a long walk or a run. The last rule is to integrate some resistance whether it be pushups/pull-ups or circuit training in the gym (or like myself, find a nearby park or outdoor place with fresh air and sunshine to enjoy some exercise) – this is especially important for women as the lack of testosterone and tendency to decreased bone density with age makes this extra important.

  • Spend time on your Feet
  • Stretch
  • Resistance Training (remember the word  “resistance” is anything that gives your muscles a challenge..be it weights, your body weight, or even objects around the house can be used!)

Those are the three important parts of being fit and exercising well. This is not a post to slander exercise and its effects but simply to make you aware that it is more important to move – keeping your body active by moving. If you can stay lean and healthy without overdoing the exercise you are doing well – the last thing we want is a body which needs ‘exercise‘ in order to stay lean or for you to feel healthy. Never let it become a crux but rather something you enjoy and look forward to.

Live Boundrylessly by doing more with less !!  🙂

You really can exercise Anywhere !

You really can exercise Anywhere !

 

 

Spice up your Life and Brain Health too !

Healthy Brain foods

Healthy Brain foods

Hi Everyone,

If you are like me, enjoy learning. Especially about health benefits of simple spices and foods.

Here’s a spice that is worth keeping AND using in your kitchen !

If you want a future that is free of Parkinson’s disease, the smart choice for dinner tonight may be curried vegetables.

Why? Because curry spice — a staple of Thai and Indian dishes — is rich in turmeric. And in a recent lab study, turmeric appeared to help protect the brain against Parkinson’s damage.

Brain-Shielding Spice
Parkinson’s disease affects about 1 million people in theUnited States, and researchers are actively seeking a cure. The disease works slowly over time, destroying the brain neurons that make dopamine. And that can have wide-ranging effects because muscles need dopamine to function smoothly. When they don’t get it, everything from walking to talking to breathing becomes difficult. Enter curcumin. In a lab study, curcumin helped protect dopamine-producing brain cells by clamping down on a mutant Parkinson’s protein that tends to do in those cells.

Curried Brain Protection
Because this was just a lab study, more research is needed to determine whethereating curry and other turmeric-containing dishes could help protect brain cells. But animal research already suggests that curcumin in the diet may help guard against other inflammation-induced conditions, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and even some cancers. And if Indian dishes with curry are done right, they can be not only tasty but downright good for you, too

Generally, what’s harmful to your heart is also harmful to your brain.

Make no mistake about it — while fried potato skins are busting your buttons, there’s also a portion that gets shuttled up through your arteries to your gray matter.

Saturated fats, for example, clog arteries that lead to your brain, putting you at risk of stroke, while omega-3 fatty acids — the good fats found in fish — are helpful for your brain, because they help keep your arteries clear. They also alter your neurotransmitters and reduce depression.

These are the best foods to keep your brain Young:

Food Why Recommended Amount RealAge Difference
Nuts Nuts contain monounsaturated fats to keep your arteries clear, as well as precursors of serotonin, which boosts mood. One ounce of nuts a day is just right. (More is fine, but be careful of calorie overload.) An ounce is about 12 walnuts or 24 almonds. Men: 3.3 years youngerWomen: 4.4 years younger
Fish
(especially wild salmon, whitefish, tilapia, catfish, flounder, mahi mahi)
Fish contain artery-clearing omega-3 fatty acids. Aim for 13.5 ounces of fish a week, or three servings, each about the size of your fist. 2.8 years younger
Soybeans Soybeans contain heart- and artery-healthy protein, fiber, and fats. 1 cup of soybeans a day. 0.4 years younger
Tomato juice and spaghetti sauce Tomatoes contain folate, lycopene, and other nutrients to keep arteries young. Aim for 8 ounces of juice or 2 tablespoons of spaghetti sauce a day. At least 1 year younger
Olive oil, nut oils, fish oils, flaxseed, avocados All of these foods contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Twenty-five percent of daily calories should be healthy fats. 3.4 years younger
Real chocolate
(at least 70% cocoa)
Real chocolate increases the release of dopamine and provides flavonoids, which keep arteries young. One ounce a day (to replace milk chocolate). 1.2 years younger

Of course here are some Yum recipes for you to enjoy these Brain Health foods.

Shrimp with Snap Pea and Curry

Shrimp with Snap Pea in Curry

Shrimp with Snap Pea in Curry

List of Ingredients:

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoonsMadrascurry powder

1 1/2 pounds raw shrimp, (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined

1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed

1 cup “lite” coconut milk

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Prep:

  1. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add shrimp and peas and cook, stirring, until the shrimp are almost cooked through, about 4 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, lemon juice and salt. Bring to a boil then cook until the shrimp have cooked through, for about 2 minutes more.

Another Favorite of mine …..

Chicken Curry Pitas !

Chicken Curry Pitas

Chicken Curry Pitas

List of Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast (see Tip)
  • 1 ripe but firm pear, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted (see Tip)
  • 4 4- to 5-inch whole-wheat pita breads, cut in half
  • 2 cups sprouts

Prep:

  1. Combine yogurt, mayonnaise and curry powder in a large bowl. Add chicken, pear, celery, cranberries and almonds; toss to combine.
  2. Fill each pita half with 1/2 cup chicken salad and 1/4 cup sprouts.

Some Tips …

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the salad (Step 1) for up to 2 days.
  • Tip: If you don’t have cooked chicken, poach about 12 ounces chicken breast for this recipe. Place boneless, skinless chicken breast in a medium skillet or saucepan. Add lightly salted water (or chicken broth) to cover and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • To toast sliced or slivered almonds: Place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Folks, it is possible to be up to 200 percent more productive if you make the right eating choices. Stock up on these items to halt mental decline, jog your memory, sharpen your senses, improve your performance, activate your feel-good hormones, and protect your quick-witted sharpness, whether you’re 15, 40—or not admitting to any age whatsoever!

FOR SHORT-TERM MEMORY
Drink This!: COFFEE

Fresh-brewed joe is the ultimate brain fuel. Caffeine has been shown to retard the aging process and enhance short-term memory performance. In one study, British researchers found that just one cup of coffee helps improve attention and problem-solving skills.

Not That!: ENERGY DRINKS/TOO MUCH COFFEE

Ever heard of the concept “too much of a good thing”? If you OD on caffeine—too many cups, a jolt of caf from the late afternoon onward, a Red Bull cocktail—it can mess with your shuteye schedule. Sleep is reboot time for your mental computer, and you don’t want to mess with it.

FOR LONG-TERM MEMORY
Eat This!: BLUEBERRIES

Antioxidants in blueberries help protect the brain from free-radical damage and cut your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. They can also improve cognitive processing (translation: thinking). Wild blueberries, if you can find them, have even more brain-boosting antioxidants than the cultivated variety, so book that vacation in Maine now. The berries will ripen in July.

Not That!: THE UNRIPE AND UNREADY

Here’s a cool tip: if your favorite berries are out of season, buy them frozen. The freezer locks in peak flavor and nutrients, so the berries’ antioxidant capacity is maxed out. Those pale, tough, and expensive off-season berries usually ripen on a truck, rather than on the bush, so they’re nutritional imposters compared to the real thing.

TO THINK FASTER
Eat This!: SALMON OR MACKEREL

If the Internal Revenue Service picks you for some up-close-and-personal auditing, you’ll want to be on your toes when they vet your deductions list. So put salmon or mackerel on the grocery list. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fishes are a primary building block of brain tissue, so they’ll amp up your thinking power. Salmon is also rich in niacin, which can help ward off Alzheimer’s disease and slow the rate of cognitive decline.

Not That!: FULL-FAT ICE CREAM

Not all fats are created equal: Beware foods high in saturated fats, which can clog blood vessels and prevent the flow of nutrients and blood to the brain. Ice cream is not a brain-health food.

TO ENERGIZE:
Eat This!: HIGH-PROTEIN SALAD WITH VINAIGRETTE

The oil in the dressing will help slow down digestion of protein and carbs in the salad, stabilizing blood-sugar levels and keeping energy levels high. Build your salad on a bed of romaine and spinach for an added boost in riboflavin, and add chicken and a hard-boiled egg for more energizing protein.

Not That!: PANCAKES OR BAGELS

MIT researchers analyzed blood samples from a group of people who had eaten either a high-protein or a high-carbohydrate breakfast. Two hours after eating, the carb eaters had tryptophan levels four times higher than those of the people who had eaten protein. The tryptophan in turkey is one of the reasons you crawl off for an afternoon nap after Thanksgiving dinner. So watch what you gobble.

TO CALM DOWN
Eat This!: LOW-FAT YOGURT OR MIXED NUTS

Scientists in Slovakia gave people 3 grams each of two amino acids—lysine and arginine—or a placebo, and asked them to deliver a speech. Blood measurements of stress hormones revealed that the amino acid-fortified guys were half as anxious during and after the speech as those who took the placebo. Yogurt is one of the best food sources of lysine; nuts pack loads of arginine.

Not That!: SODA

A study from the American Journal of Public Health found that people who drink 2½ cans of soda daily are three times more likely to be depressed and anxious, compared with those who drink fewer. So Mountain Dew is a Mental Don’t.

TO CONCENTRATE
Eat This!: PEPPERMINT TEA

The scent of peppermint helps you focus and boosts performance, according to researchers. Need to reach Chicago before nightfall, and you’re stuck in traffic around Cleveland? One study found that peppermint makes drivers more alert and less anxious.

Not That!: CANDY

Sugary foods incite sudden surges of glucose that, in the long term, cause sugar highs and lows, leading to a fuzzy state of mind.
FOR GOOD MOODS AND GRINS
Eat This! ARUGULA OR SPINACH SALAD

Leafy greens—arugula, chard, spinach—are rich sources of B vitamins, which are key components on the assembly line that manufactures feel-good hormones such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, a lack of B6 can cause nervousness, irritability, and even depression.

Not That!: WHITE CHOCOLATE

White chocolate isn’t chocolate at all, since it contains no cocoa solids. So it won’t stimulate the euphoria-inducing mood boosters like serotonin, as real chocolate does. Grab the real thing, the darker the better. More cacao means more happy chemicals and less sugar, which will eventually pull you down.

FOR SHARPER SENSES
Eat This!: 1 TBSP OF GROUND FLAXSEED DAILY

Flax is the best source of alphalinoleic, or ALA—a healthy fat that improves the workings of the cerebral cortex, the area of the brain that processes sensory information, including that of pleasure. To meet your quota, sprinkle it on salads or mix it into a smoothie or shake.

Not That!: ALCOHOL

This one’s obvious, but worth mentioning anyway. A drink or two can increase arousal signals, but more than that will actually depress your nervous system. This makes you sloppy, not sharp.

Dark Chocolate is Good for your Skin too !

Dark Chocolate is Good for your Skin too !