Yes, diets help to support your figure. But have you ever considered eating to support your brain?
Most of us have heard that we only use 10% of our brains but this is not true. We actually use 100% of our brains. We use 10% of our brain for voluntary control. The remaining 90% directs involuntary control used to breath, control blood circulation, control our hearts, and digest food. Therefore, we use 100% of our brain and every nerve cell counts if we want to maintain our health.
Unfortunately, modern food processing techniques reduce our food of vital nutrients critical for health. Storage and shipping of fruits and vegetables can even sap them of their nutrients. Many commonly used over-the-counter and prescription meds deplete the body of nutrients. Moreover, as the body ages production of antioxidants slows down, leaving us more vulnerable to free radical attack.
Eating a whole food based diet align with taking vitamin, essential fatty acid and antioxidant supplements can fill the nutritional gap and help maintain optimal mental and physical health. Spices can also enhance your brain chemistry, increase metabolism, and improve overall health. They have also been researched in their effects on slowing down the ageing process.
Listed below are common spices and what they can do for you:
Anti-inflammatory: rosemary and basil
Dementia-fighting: cumin and sage
Obesity-fighting: cayenne and cinnamon
Sugar-regulating: coriander and cinnamon
Calming: lemongrass, nutmeg, bay leaves, saffron
Heart Health: garlic, mustard seed, chicory Skin Vitality: basil and thyme
"Human relationships are rich and messy and demanding. We clean them up with technology by texting, emailing, posting... All of the things that let us present the self as we want it to be. We get to edit ourselves, which means we get to delete and retouch the face, the voice, the body, the flesh... The world is full of modern Goldilockses- putting people not too close, not too far, but at just the right distance- taking comfort in being in touch with a lot of people at a distance. But sometimes a lot of people at a distance can feel like none at all... People are lonely. The network is seductive... But if we are always on, we deny ourselves the rewards of solitude. I'm left thinking about intimacy, seeing faces, hearing voices, tying to know someone's heart. This has left me thinking about solitude- the kind that refreshes and restores. Loneliness is failed solitude. To have the pleasure of experiencing solitude you must be able to summon yourself, by yourself. Otherwise you will only know how to be bored and lonely."
These are words from Sherry Turkle in her book, "Alone Together". I find myself moved by Turkle's thought-provoking books Alone Together (2011) & Reclaiming Conversation (2015). It's midnight as I write this, I finished the first research paper I have ever written for graduate school, but I can't shut down my device. I am realizing I have been seduced, too. My own solitude is being challenged by the habit of constantly turning to a screen. More and more I find myself scrolling through the web when I have any downtime, rather than focusing inward. Recently, psychologists have learned a lot more about how creative ideas come from reveries of solitude. When we let our minds wander, without being sucked in to a digital device, we set our brains free. Boredom should, then, be celebrated!
There is a natural innate protective mechanism within all of us that can be consciously tapped in to. Physiologic changes can be tapped in to without a visit to the doctor and a prescription from the pharmacy.
Dr. Benson, M.D. of Harvard University compared Transcendental Meditation, Zen and Yoga, Autogenic Training, Progressive Relaxation, Hypnosis with suggested deep relaxation, and Sentic Cycles. He measured all six of these techniques physiologic changes such as oxygen consumption, respiratory rate, heart rate, alpha waves, blood pressure and muscle tension to term the Relaxation Response.
But you don't have to master Transcendental Meditation or Hypnosis to signal the Relaxation Response. All you need is 1 . a quiet environment, 2. an object to dwell upon, 3. a passive attitude – “let it happen,” and 4. a comfortable position.
In order to trigger the Relaxation Response, follow the steps below:
Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
Close your eyes.
Deeply relax all your muscles
Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing. As you breathe out, say the word “ONE” silently to yourself. For example, breathe IN---OUT, “ONE”: IN…OUT, “ONE”: etc. Breathe easily and naturally.
Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm. When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes, at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes opened. Do not stand up for a few minutes.
Do not worry about whether you are successful in achieving a deep level of relaxation. Maintain a passive attitude and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace. When distracting thoughts occur, merely return to repeating “ONE.” With practice, the response should come with little effort.
Practice anytime throughout the day (just not within two hours after any meal since the digestive process seems to interfere with the elicitation of the Relaxation Response).
This allows us to turn off harmful effects from stress through changes that decrease heart rate, lower metabolism, decrease rate of breathing, and in this way bring the body back into a healthier balance.
Some people practice deep breathing when they are feeling anxious. However, practice of this technique once or twice daily can help you more easily navigate around challenges that appear in daily life.