10 Things You Do That Are Destroying Your Brain

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We do so much to take care of our bodies on a day to day basis, but are you overlooking something vital? If you often find that you’re tired during the day, you can’t concentrate, and you forget important things, you might be neglecting an essential organ in your body: your brain.

Your brain is a powerful yet delicate organ that takes part in every bodily process, whether directly or indirectly. Keeping our brains in good condition only help to maintain the health of our bodies and their essential functions, but many common daily habits are actually quite damaging to the brain and can cause both short and long term effects.

Skipping Breakfast

You might get tired of hearing it, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Eating  a healthy breakfast provides much-needed nutrition after a long fast that your brain uses throughout the day to manage the physiological processes of your body. Skipping breakfast forces your brain to go without in the morning, causing it extra stress as it works hard to keep your body functioning normally. You might experience mood swings, poor memory, and fatigue during the day.

Smoking

Smoking is well known for being damaging to your lungs, skin, and heart, but did you know it also causes brain damage? The act of smoking reduces brain matter and deprives your brain of oxygen. Studies have linked smoking to the development of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Too Much Sugar

Consuming an excess of refined sugars, white flour, packaged foods, and other heavily processed foods causes an accumulation of harmful substances in your body while also depriving you of vital nutrients found in fruits and vegetables you should have in your diet instead. These processed foods provide poor nutrition and inconsistent energy levels, and increases your risk of developing tumors.

Not Getting Enough Fresh Air

Much like smoking, constant exposure to pollution and pungent air fresheners that fill the room with strong scents are actually depriving the brain of its oxygen supply, which can reduce brain efficiency.

Lack of Sleep

Sleeping might not seem all that important sometimes when you have a lot to do, but getting those recommended 8 hours is essential to your brain’s lasting health. Your brain needs sleep to perform essential restorative functions that keep your body in good working condition. Lack of sleep can damage brain cells and is the cause of poor memory and bad moods.

Drinking Too Much

Your liver does what it can to filter the harmful substances in alcohol, but drinking in any amount still affects your brain’s chemical reactions. Being drunk reduces the speed at which your neurons respond and transfer information, and drinking in excess can actually make this effect permanent over time. Always drink in moderation and be sure to stay hydrated.

Eating Too Much

That extra helping of your favorite dish might not seem harmful, but forcing your body to consume what it doesn’t need leads to an accumulation of potentially harmful substances that can lead to clogged arteries in the brain, which impacts its functions.

Stressing Out

A bit of stress now and then is almost impossible to avoid in our hectic lives, but constantly stressing over little things can damage your nervous system and increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Make sure to take the time to relax and unwind regularly to prevent unnecessary buildup of stress in your life.

Over-Exerting When You’re Sick

When you’re ill, your body is already working overtime to heal and drive out the viral or bacterial infection that is making you sick. Forcing your brain to do even more by working or studying while your body is already in this weakened state can cause unneeded stress and reduce your body’s ability to recover properly, which can lead to relapse of illness or long term conditions.

Skipping Exercise

Physical stimulation actually stimulates the brain as well, helping to reduce stress and improve overall cognitive functions. People who exercise at least 2-3 times per week experience an increased capacity for learning and memory, and report lower stress levels.

Final Advice

Take care of your brain and the rest of your body by following healthier habits such as eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising regularly. These simple lifestyle changes can have a big impact on your mood and your health.

VIA




Afraid of the Truth

Most of us have had the experience of being in possession of a piece of truth that we were afraid to share because we knew it would not be well received. There are also instances in which we ourselves have been unable to handle some truth confronting us. This might be a small truth, such as not wanting to see that our car needs repairs because we don't want to pay for them, or a large truth, such as not fully accepting that someone close to us is pushing us away. Usually the truth is evident, and we can see it if we choose, but we have elaborate ways of hiding the truth from ourselves, no matter how apparent it is. 

For the most part, we avoid the truth because it scares us, or makes us angry, or makes us feel like we don't know what to do. We often create our lives based on a particular understanding, and if that understanding turns out to be fully or even partially incorrect, we may feel that our whole sense of reality is being threatened. It takes a strong person to face the truth in circumstances like these, and many of us run for cover instead. Nevertheless, we can only avoid the truth for so long before it begins to make itself known in ever more forceful ways. 

Ultimately, there is no way to avoid the truth, no matter how painful it is, so the sooner we let down our defenses, the better. When we know the truth and accept that we may have to adjust our lives to accommodate, we are in alignment with reality. At the same time, we can be patient with people around us who have a hard time seeing the truth, because we know how painful it can be. Whatever the truth is, we make a sincere effort not to close our eyes to it, but instead to be grateful that we have access to it.

Feeling Threatened

by Madisyn Taylor



Sex is a workout, and other weight loss myths

The estimated annual health care costs related to obesity are over $210 billion, or nearly 21 percent of annual medical spending in the United States. Americans spend $60 billion on weight loss productseach year, trying everything from expensive meal replacement products to do-it-yourself programs on the latest cell phone apps. We gather weight loss advice, voluntarily or involuntarily, from news outlets, social media and just about everyone.

Americans have known for 15 years that obesity is an epidemic; the surgeon general declared it so in 2001 (PDF). Despite intense efforts to prevent and treat obesity, however, studies published June 7 in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that 35 percent of men, 40 percent of women, and 17 percent of children and adolescents are obese. Even more worrisome, the rates continue to rise among women and adolescents.
    In fact, experts predict that this generation of children may be the first in 200 years to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, likely due to obesity.
    So what is our society doing wrong? Clearly, what doctors and policy makers have been doing for the last 15 years to address this epidemic is not working.

    Myth 1: Small changes in your diet or exercise will lead to large, long-term weight changes.

    Unfortunately, this is not true. In weight loss, two plus two may only equal three instead of four. Small changes simply do not add up since physiologically, your body tries to stay the same weight. This doesn't mean that making small healthy choices don't matter, because even small things you do to stay healthy matter. It just means you are not likely to meet your weight loss goals by just taking one less bite. It's likely going to take bigger changes in your diet and exercise.

    Myth 2: Setting realistic goals when you are trying to lose weight is important because otherwise you will feel frustrated and lose less weight.

    Patients often come in with ambitious goals for weight loss, and we as family physicians nearly always say- go for it! (within safety and reason). There is no evidence that shooting for the stars leads to frustration. If anything, aiming for a larger goal may lead to better weight-loss outcomes.

    Myth 3: Losing a lot of weight fast doesn't keep weight off as well as losing a few pounds slowly.

    Again, studies have shown that losing a larger amount of weight fast in the beginning (maybe while you are super motivated) has been associated with lower weight in the long-term. There just isn't evidence to go "slow and steady" when it comes to weight loss.

    Why we regain weight after drastic dieting

    Finally, to our favorite one:

    Myth 4: Having sex one time burns about as many calories as walking a mile.

    Sorry to disappoint, but for an average sexual encounter (lasting 6 minutes!), an average man in his 30s burns just 20 calories. And as the NEJM articles further explains, this is just 14 more calories than just sitting and watching TV. So if the thought went through your head that sex may be your exercise for the day, you should think again.

    VIA

    Translating Our Feelings

    When new challenges and opportunities show up in our lives, we may diagnose ourselves as feeling scared when what we really feel is excited. Often we have not been taught how to welcome the thrill of a new opportunity, and so we opt to back off, indulging our anxiety instead of awakening our courage. One way to inspire ourselves to embrace the opportunities that come our way is to look more deeply into our feelings and see that butterflies in our stomach or a rapidly beating heart are not necessarily a sign that we are afraid. Those very same feelings can be translated as excitement, curiosity, passion, and even love. 

    There is nothing wrong with being afraid as long as we do not let it stop us from doing the things that excite us. Most of us assume that brave people are fearless, but the truth is that they are simply more comfortable with fear because they face it on a regular basis. The more we do this, the more we feel excitement in the face of challenges rather than anxiety. The more we cultivate our ability to move forward instead of backing off, the more we trust ourselves to be able to handle the new opportunity, whether it's a new job, an exciting move, or a relationship. When we feel our fear, we can remind ourselves that maybe we are actually just excited. We can assure ourselves that this opportunity has come our way because we are meant to take it. 

    Framing things just a little differently can dramatically shift our mental state from one of resistance to one of openness. We can practice this new way of seeing things by saying aloud: I am really excited about this job interview. I am really looking forward to going on a date with this amazing person. I am excited to have the opportunity to do something I have never done before. As we do this, we will feel our energy shift from fear, which paralyzes, to excitement, which empowers us to direct all that energy in the service of moving forward, growing, and learning.


    The Effects Of Sex On Your Health

    Maintaining the health of your sex organs ensures your longevity and helps support a rich and fulfilling life. Above all, the most important thing you can do is follow our guidelines for decreasing arterial aging; a clear and well-flowing vascular system promotes blood flow to every part of your body. Maintaining good blood flow is one of the best ways to make sure erectile dysfunction isn’t inevitable as you age.

    Of course, Viagra, a dozen roses and picking up your socks every once in a while aren’t the only things that may do wonders for your sex life. Just a few simple changes may be all that’s needed to keep your sex organs in tip-top driving condition. So pull them in for a pit stop. We’ll show you how to change your oil — and help keep your libidinal engines revved.

    have more (and more thoughtful) sex

    The best prescription for your sexual organs isn’t one you can find in a pharmacy. It’s one you do in bed, in the shower or on your weekend getaway. All the studies point to the fact that having sex makes you young. (By “having sex,” we mean having stress-free sex, so that’s safe sex, in which you’re protected from STDs, and sex that doesn’t induce stress, like an extramarital affair would).

     

    What we know is that the more (for men) and higher-quality (for women) orgasms you have a year, the younger you are. If you are 55 years old, increasing the number of times you have sex from 58 times per year to 116 times has an effect of making you as much as 1.6 years younger, and having great-quality sex even more than that can have an effect up to eight years (Honey, let’s get healthy!).

    Though we don’t know exactly how it works, it could be from relieving stress or by decreasing cardiovascular aging with frequent high-quality sex. Maybe just as important is the therapeutic value of sex, in that it promotes companionship and emotional satisfaction. It just feels good — on both physical and emotional levels. Bonus: The data also implies that if a 55 year old has sex 700 times a year, it would make you 16 years younger (unfortunately, the data sample on people who fit this criteria was approximately, uh, zero).

    Of course, between 70-hour workweeks and the fact that raising children is as draining as running a three-legged marathon, having time and energy for sex isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Another complication: those rivaling libido levels. When he wants it, she doesn’t. Or vice versa. Luckily, there are ways to help improve your compatibility.

    Improve your sex life and reap the health reward.

     

    Linger

    Male orgasms are easy to understand — because they’re external. Butfemale orgasms can be more mysterious than a Dean Koontz book. That’s because many of us really don’t understand what’s happening physiologically. Essentially, when a woman is stimulated to the point of an orgasm, the uterine walls contract — and she can experience rhythmic, muscular contractions of the uterus, vagina and clitoris.

     

    Every woman is different. For some, an orgasm may feel like a geyser. For others, it may feel like nothing more than a momentary flutter. But here’s what many men have a hard time understanding: Because they can’t imagine having sex without an orgasm, many men can’t appreciate the fact that women can enjoy sex without having one.

    So instead of trying to make the final destination a female orgasm, men should concentrate on ensuring that women enjoy the interaction. Some women don’t have to orgasm at all to enjoy sex, while some women can easily have multiple orgasms. Absence of an orgasm doesn’t mean failure, but absence of arousal usually does. When you consider that the average man achieves orgasm in three to five minutes and the average woman takes four times as long, you can also see why many women won’t achieve orgasm in every sexual encounter. Add the pressure put on many women to have orgasms, and a sexual encounter can become more stressful than tax day. And that just about guarantees a woman won’t have an orgasm.

    It has been said that women fake orgasms because men fake foreplay. Therein lies one of the biggest problems between couples — lack of compatible levels of libido or arousal. To improve a woman’s sexual desire, add more foreplay. Kiss, touch, hug, squeeze, nibble, stroke, brush, tickle, tease, add your own verb of choice. Whatever you do, just make sure you know this equation. Longer foreplay equals better lubrication, which equals more satisfaction.

    To help add moisture, you can increase lubrication safely with water-soluble lubricants, like K-Y Jelly or lipid-soluble gels. And for some reason, testosterone cream — applied directly to the clitoris twice a day — helps increase stimulation, libido and intensity of orgasm. Testosterone is the driver of sexuality in both men and women. It naturally decreases as we age, but testosterone therapy has been shown to be effective in men with decreasing testosterone levels. How do you know if you’re in this category? Men should be concerned if they don’t have to shave their beards once a day. Thankfully, they have no such standard for women.

    Get Sweaty

    Though sauna sex might sound enticing, we want you to sweat from exercise. Besides all of the other benefits, physical activity is also great for your sex life. Many species dictate desire through smells. For centuries, scientists have been looking for these chemicals and pheromones that increase sexual desire in women. Of all the things that have been tested, there’s only been one that’s been shown to increase female desire: male sweat (really).

    For men, there’s perhaps an even more crucial reason to sweat. Men who burn at least 200 calories a day through exercise reduce the chance of impotence. Finally, since stress can be a contributor to erectile dysfunction and infertility, it’s a great stress reducer. While you may not be able to alter the stresses in your life, you can at least alter your response to it through consistent physical activity.

    Read more about this Celebrity Author at HarperCollins.com.