Brain training: Play a game!

I want to keep my brain in good shape. So I like to do some brain training once a while.

The old board games

The old board games especially look great. I love the design of the games of the 70's and the 80's. The time when internet was not used throughout the World, and families spend more time together to play games at night.

I love to play Yahtzee with friends. You just need 5 dice and a paper to write down your score, That's It! It does not cost much and gives you a lot of joy.

When I was younger I always played the Game of Life. Trying to collect as many babies as possible (you would get money for that) and get the best job and best retirement fund. It was fun! Although my real life looks a bit different than what I got when I played it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNBsYUHCiGg

Brain training

These days we play more games online, in a virtual world.  I play online too sometimes, but nothing beats the real board games. Those board games, Jigsaw puzzles and crossword puzzles are all great for brain training.

READ MORE: How crossword puzzles may keep Alzheimer's away

Because playing games is supposedly good for your brain! I have heard that if you solve a crossword puzzle every night before you go to bed, it helps train your brain. That's what I was told when I grew up. My grand mother made it to 94 and she did crossword puzzles every day until an old age. She had a sharp mind even on her last day on this Planet.

Playing games

I once was addicted to Mahjong online for a while. I did it when I had to wait a long time at an airport. Or I would play a game on my Blackberry, like Poker or Brickbreaker, until I had a high score. Later on, I downloaded an app for Yahtzee on my phone, or played a slot machine app by Willy Wonka. But nowadays I prefer the games like the old days, playing with others in the physical World.

Games are good for relaxing, brain training, or just waste your time. What I find most important is that it is fun. Especially when you play games with friends or family.

Dust off the board games and play a game!

Love, Lonneke

 


Mind Over Body: The Cortisol Effect

"THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS" 

If your mental well-being is not incentive enough to practice this motto, some science may convince you that it's at least worth an attempt for your physical appearance.  How you think may affect how you look. A positive outlook can help your body evade over-secreting stress hormones like cortisol which can take a toll on your figure.

POWER OF MIND OVER BODY?

When you stress, your mind alerts your body to react as if it is being threatened. Starting at the site of the hypothalamus in your brain, a cascade of metabolic events is triggered.  The anterior pituitary gland releases ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) which causes the adrenal cortex to produce higher than normal quantities of the "stress" hormone cortisol.

Chemical Structure of Cortisol

WHY IS CORTISOL REFERRED TO AS A "STRESS" HORMONE? 

During physical or psychological stress, your muscles thirst energy and cortisol helps to deliver it in the form of glucose to the overtaxed tissues. Cortisol mobilizes non-carbohydrate reserves of protein and fat by increasing the rate of gluconeogenesis which converts amino acids and triglycerides (building blocks of protein and fat) into usable energy.

WHY IS TOO MUCH CORTISOL BAD ?

Chronic high levels of cortisol can lead to:

1. Weight Gain

When the adrenal glands chronically secrete more of the hormone than needed, adipocyte growth is over-stimulated, leading to enlarged fat cells.

2. Belly Fat

Body fat is categorized as visceral or subcutaneous. Subcutaneous describes fat beneath the skin surface and visceral refers to deep abdominal adipose tissue. Since there are more visceral cortisol receptors, when cortisol mobilizes triyglyerdes from fat reserves it deposits it more readily in the belly. Thus, added stress is often correlated to added pounds in tummy.

3. Acne

Although cortisol has anti-inflammatory properties, when secreted in high levels over an extended period, it can have the adverse effect. The immune system becomes suppressed and inflammation exacerbates. Oil glands are over-stimulated which can result in clogged pores and breakouts.

TIPS ON HOW TO REDUCE STRESS & MAINTAIN LOW CORTISOL LEVELS:

1. Retrain your brain

Practice positive thinking. When you catch yourself fixating on situations that you can't control or negative thoughts- actively steer your mind in a constructive direction.

2. Take a break

If you reach a plateau in work productivity and can't concentrate anymore, instead of getting all frustrated-simply take a break. Go for a walk or switch tasks and return to it later. This is a healthy practice for your mind and will increase your efficiency.

3. Live in the present moment

Don't dwell on the past or think too far into the future. This can flip your mind into a state of panic. Enjoy the present moment and don't try to solve all your problems in one day.

4. Exercise & Switch it up

Working out is a great stress reliever and should be fun. Try to workout on a regular basis and switch up your routine so that it is something you look forward to and not a laborious task. Maybe try alternating between gym, outdoors and group classes to maintain variety. Incorporate mind & body approaches to fitness like yoga or pilates.

5. Healthy diet

6. Minimize caffeine intake

7. Get sleep

8. Not all on you

If you are overwhelmed- don't bottle it up. It is cathartic to have a support system. Whether you seek solace in talking to a friend, family member, in religious faith or seeking professional help- do whatever best suits you.

 


Natures Food, Designed for Humans?

NATURE AMAZES ME. EVERY SINGLE DAY. Creation speaks loudly, if we would only listen to her voice, we might hear her heart beating closely, to that of our own.

FOOD. Something we think of at least 3 times a day, often more, often without noticing it's intricate design or thinking of it's designer. Maybe it's time we took a closer look.

Fungi for health?... Many mushrooms boast highly of their anti-cancer properties, & yet look at them! Almost like little tumors, springing up all over this tree, hint hint!... Excellent for boosting the human immune system.

Have you ever indulged in devouring a pomegranate, one seed at a time ;) ?... The little seeds, covered in a bubble of antioxidant rich juice & coloured blood red remind me of the cells in human blood which they seek to rejuvenate with their life giving enzymes & vitamins. The seeds contain potent bitter antioxidants too, which protect the cells against free radicals, preventing cancers & promoting youthfullness.

The tomato, excellent for the human heart, looks just like one.

The carrot, sliced into rings; behold & see the human iris as it stares back at you, hinting subtly!! I'm good for you, for your EYES in fact. Helping to prevent macular degeneration & promoting healthy vision.

Look at the fine veins within leafy vegetables. The bursting colour of fruits of all kinds, the cell segments within oranges, berries, kiwi-fruit.

Sweet potato, does it remind you of anything?... It looks like an intestine!

The gorgeous shape & texture of the avocado. Did you know that seeds of all kinds promote fertility?

I'm so ASTONISHED when I crack open fresh walnuts. Why?... Well don't they remind you of something??? Dah. Haha. There's definitely a sense of humour there somewhere wouldn't you agree? To think that they are created, designed, to look like the human brain? WOW. Hint hint, 'eat me'!

I'd never noticed that the tiny, potent chia seed is really quite grey, until this morning, & I've been eating them for years! Another super brain food rich in all omega fats.

There are so many various foods which I haven't touched on, celery, herbs of all kinds, bananas, apples, stonefruit, legumes, grains, grasses, flowers (excellent for mood enhancement!). So much variety in colour, texture, flavour. Bitter, pungent, sweet, salty. AMAZING variety abounds! Let's take a subtle or maybe not so subtle tip from NATURE! ENJOY HER BOUNTIFUL GIFTS TODAY, GIVE YOUR BODY what it craves, NATURES very own FOODS, DESIGNED FOR HUMANS. Take note of your next meal, the colours, the shapes it contains, keep it as close to nature as possible & reap the benefits for your internal organs, skin, bones, & feel each of your body systems respond with vitality & life.

A book you may enjoy which highlights many natural varied foods & food groups is 'Laugh with Health'. Excellent for beginning health buffs with simple, fast info; it lists the nutrients, medicinal properties & benefits of each food page by page with great pictures too. I encourage you to have it in your healthy library.

Love & chocolate xxx Abigail