How To Preserve Brain Function

Inside your skull is a network of billions, no, trillions of little cells called neurons. All firing at every second, they all keep you alive, and they all serve an important function. But with great responsibility comes a downside, these cells are constantly dying by a process called apoptosis, and constantly regenerating, a process that causes ageing over time.

Your brain is one hell of a hungry machine, consuming the most energy in the entire body, and it needs a constant supply in order to function well.

Now, the brain is extremely protected from damage and from toxic substances and pollutants. But sometimes, the brain becomes overwhelmed with the constant overload of poison we put into our bodies, in turn we need to take a step back and try to clear some of that junk out and in turn aid the healing process. Otherwise, we are possibly subject to brain fog, headaches, memory anomalies, confusion and even degenerative diseases such as dementia. So follow some of these tips to keep your brain healthy!

1) Avoid Drugs, Alcohol and Caffeine.

This should be common sense, but these 3 things are not only detrimental to brain health, but also to the entire body when consumed regularly. When I say drugs, I am referring to those things such as cannabis, cocaine and tobacco, all of which mess with brain chemistry, creating a viscous addiction, and once hooked you cannot simply stop, because you have programmed your own brain to want and need these things. Think about it, it will cause you to become depressed without them, and possibly delusional with them. Not very good for mental well being, a key factor in preserving brain function.

2) Reading & Writing

Do you read a book often? When was the last time you actually read anything substantial? You need to use the meat in your head if you want to keep it, that means reading, and doing it regularly. Just the simple act of sitting quietly and focusing on a story is a form of meditation, a good way to relax and unwind and in turn lower stress. Incorporate some crosswords and write letters rather than typing emails, as you engage more parts of you brain by using a pen. Both these things help maintain cognitive sharpness and improve memory, as you read more you will find it easier to remember details about the story and everything else in your life.

3) Cardio 

Every time you walk, run, swim or jog, you are increasing your heart rate and boosting blood flow to the brain. This is when more nutrients and oxygen are delivered, because as mentioned before the brain needs a constant supply of energy, and even more energy is needed for exercise. During a run, your brain releases a concoction of chemicals. Some of these are endorphin’s, which give you a runner high, and provide stress relief. But a greater benefit is that neurogenesis is increased during the run as well, where brain stem cells are created more easily. This is the perfect reason to exercise, it guarantees your brain will have an extra edge, and it will have more neurons!

4) Herbs

For thousands of years people have used mother nature to heal themselves, but as time has gone on, we have moved – it seems – almost entirely towards modern medicine, which has some very questionable practices and usually, the medications have dangerous side effects. If you have herbs regularly, then make them the right herbs, as these have definitive benefits for the entire body: Turmeric – this is bright orange in colour when ground and has been shown in studies to reduce amyloid beta collection in the brain, the deposits responsible for Alzheimer. It has also shown to increase neurogenesis in rats. Cayenne – this stimulates the heart and blood vessels to ensure a healthy circulatory system, this in turn can prevent heart attack and stroke. Ginger – the substance Gingerol is responsible for the health benefits, ginger has been shown to potentially lower LDL cholesterol, the main type that is said to increase risk of cardiovascular disease. It also helps nausea and indigestion. Green tea – the caffeine content is low, and green tea has shown promise for the following  : Diabetes, Heart Disease, Esophageal Cancer, Cholesterol, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, Tooth Decay and Blood Pressure.

5) Fasting

By fasting you force your body to enter a state of burning fat, and once this process starts you begin to heal from within. If you constantly eat or constantly eat too many carbs, then you will feel great after even a short 12 hour fast. During the fast, your brain relies on ketones to function, and it can function very well on them, despite the claims that we need constant carbs otherwise we die. While it is true that the brain needs constant energy, the energy can be sourced from the liver when we need it. The same changes that occur in the brain during fasting mimic the changes that occur with regular exercise — both increase the production of neurotrophic factors, and promote the growth of neurons, the connection between neurons, and strengthen the synapses.

 

So, try to use these tips to keep sharp, and if you have anything you personally use, then feel free to comment.

 

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Top Tips To Boost Productivity

In the 21st century it seems 90% of the first world countries are battling with constant stress and constant workloads. Most people are overloaded but not getting much done, either because they are tired and fatigued, or simply fed up. I have seen the result of this, and it isn’t very nice. I don’t believe in statements such as ‘I don’t have enough time to plan’ or ‘I do it as it comes’.

Here are some of my top recommendations to beat stress and boost productivity!

1) Start Waking Up An Hour Earlier 

If you want to get on top of your work, and your life, it is imperative to make the most of the day you are given. There is a reason the sun rises so early, it’s because you are meant to rise with it. Yes, it is hard, and an extreme sport for some people. Just the thought of getting up 10 minutes earlier is painful, especially for the limus pigris of us. But in doing so you benefit from tons more than just extra planning time. It makes you feel great, boosts energy believe it or not, and gives you no excuse to miss breakfast! If you rise at 8 usually, then start getting up at 7, have your planner filled and your checklist set, do any emails, eat breakfast or even workout! It’s also a good opportunity to spend time with children or family, depending on if they are awake…

2) Get More Exercise 

Exercise is a most crucial thing to human health. Walking, running and swimming are the most beneficial forms, offering the strongest boost to metabolism. It benefits every organ and system within, especially the cardiovascular system. It doesn’t take much, maybe 10 to 20 minutes a day, and you can add a few more years to your life. What’s more, is running at a moderate intensity for just 10 minutes boosts endorphin production, the chemical responsible for making us feel good. So naturally, by getting more exercise, we become more productive. It’s most likely due to the fact work is depressing, and the exercise combats this better than medication can. It also ties into the first, if you get up an hour earlier you can fit in the morning walk or run.

3) Learn To Plan An Entire Week

You have a day planner, which lasts the year, but don’t use it. Well, why get it then? The entire purpose of the thing is so you can plan everything out in the entire week, month and year! Students usually have one, but most probably seldom use theirs. When you go to bed on Sunday, get the planner and write the entire weeks appointments out, don’t leave it till Monday or whenever you see fit. By doing so, you can also plan your free leisure time, your family time, and more importantly the work time you need. It greatly improves time managements as well. One day you could be working 10 hours, then have a free night with no work. Whereas another might be 8 hours working and 2 hours working at home. Having these in a planner makes it so much easier and you don’t go around asking yourself whether you have time to do this and that, and you don’t worry about ‘what I am doing tomorrow?’ Don’t forget the unexpected problems that most people have, such as deadlines being moved forward and covering for sick work colleagues.

4) Cut Out Television

This is ambitious and undeniably difficult for absolutely everyone in the developed world. It’s hard to cut something out which you are used to watching around 4 hours a day, or 5 hours, or more. It’s almost an addiction. The reality is that there is nothing productive about the box, even documentaries and so-called educational shows are just mind garbage. In order to really feel free and lighthearted and able to work harder than ever, you must either a) cut the television out entirely, or b) cut down considerably. You might want to limit the time to 10 minutes in the morning of watching the news before heading off to work, or limit it to 1 show a night. Whatever you choose, know that your mental health will improve immediately because you aren’t masking your emotions by living in a fake reality most of the time. All the time spent watching TV could be spent with family, friends, and doing the work you are probably behind on.

5) Socialize more 

It’s a good feeling to spend time with friends and family, but often underrated when it comes to being more productive. You need to socialize in order to maintain a sense of well being, and also to gossip and debate and sometimes just to talk drizzle. It helps to wind down from stress, and that is the most important element of this point; by reducing stress we automatically become more productive and happy. You might struggle if you have children or other hard hitting commitments, but if not then there is no real reason to not socialize! Go out after work with colleagues and spend time watching some football, eat a meal or play golf! Best times would be after work and weekends of course, but don’t limit it to a Friday or Saturday, be the guy or girl in the office who likes to head out midweek to the opera or concert and take someone with you!

 

So, there you go. Try incorporating these 5 awesome tips into your life and hopefully you can reap the benefits yourself. If you have any suggestions please feel free to comment!

Good luck!

 

Law Attracting Inequality?

I’ll start out with a simple question, based on a situation where the outcome would depend solely on justice, law and order and to an extent, morality. So, here it goes.

“If someone has £2,000,000 to spend on a lawyer to defend themselves in a case where they have been accused of murder and pleaded not guilty, and another person has to rely on public funds, would the outcome be different?”

I think your first reaction would be to sum up the evidence. That is somewhat distorted from reality, the reality is the £2,000,000 would in fact buy most people a good shot at freedom. Why? I have no answer to this, but case after case of wealthy individuals evading prison whom conveniently have stacks of cash is not a knew thing.

One such case of a murder trial in the last century was the trial of O.J Simpson, which has become infamous. He evaded prison, and thousands were happy. But it wasn’t necessarily down to money. As you are aware the racial tensions were high and judges may have seen it too risky to prosecute for fear of mass social disorganization and riots.

Eventually, O.J Simpson was found guilty in 2008 in a Nevada robbery and kidnapping case and was sentenced to 33 years in prison. Not so many people will be aware of this. But he is due to be released only 9 years into his sentence, and once released will enjoy the fruits of a million dollar NFL pension. Hardly justice? has his money and fame got something to do with this? Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts, I certainly like to entertain such ideas!

Let’s fast forward, a recent and most shocking murder of the girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius, in 2013, Valentines day. Reeva Steenkamp, was cowering in her bathroom as the athlete put on his prosthetic legs and shot her through the door. He was a well known Olympic and Paralympic athlete, slapped with a measly 6 year sentence. The news kept throwing statements around and Pistorius even managed to have a period in his home while under house arrest. Is that something most lower class people have the luxury of? No!

These are 2 very interesting cases, because I can find hundreds of similar situations where people convicted of murder or any other hideous crime, will spend a lot more time in a cell than those with millions. Is this inequality? I was under the impression the law applied to everyone in the same way, and that no one, even government, is above it. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 should have seen Oscar Pistorius imprisoned for life.

Please leave any thoughts on the inequality within the legal system.

Where Does The UK Stand With Brexit?

The results of the EU referendum were pretty clear cut, over 50% of the UK voted to leave, equating to 51.9% of the total cast votes. (That is a whopping 17,410,742 people!) The vote had an impressive 72.2% turnout, even more than the original vote to remain part of the European common market.

The UK has been a part of that common market since 1973. So it’s been a long journey of campaigning for some groups, and a turnaround in the way of thinking about membership by others. So then, what is the vote going to do to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland? The truth is that no one knows, but just because the UK is independent once again, it does not mean it will crash and burn. It will reinvigorate the very principles of the UK democracy, allowing the real decisions that affect the country, to be made in the country. Up to now, Brussels has been heading such discussions, for which they do not have any real standing. But because the UK is an EU member, it must do as it is told otherwise, it gets caned.

The pros and cons are clear and anyone can weigh them up without feeling like a moron:

  • Improved financial situation – The UK currently ‘pays’ a membership fee to be a member of the European union. A neat sum of £13 billion is standard, each year. This money could be better spent on the NHS, for which cuts are abundant, or defense. Is the free trade worth that?
  • Immigration – The one point that people tended to focus on. As the UK has membership with the EU, it allows anyone in member states to settle in Britain, and vice versa. However, with the UK leaving, it would mean Westminster parliament have the power to change laws and reduce immigration, saving the homes and jobs for the British people.
  • Regain fishing rights – Leaving the EU means the UK will also leave the common fisheries policy, which allows EU fleets access to all EU waters. An independent UK could develop a fisheries regime that is tailored to the UK and the UK waters.
  • Security – By having an open and unchecked border, the UK is susceptible to the influx of criminals and terrorists, because people coming in cannot be checked and controlled sufficiently.

Cons:

  • Increased price of imports and exports – The EU gives a 50% discount to its members to trade, without membership, the price inadvertently goes up.
  • Restricted travel – UK citizens are free to travel to any country in the EU, and vice versa. However, by leaving there will most likely be the introduction of the need for visas and other restrictions.
  • Decreased influence – The EU accounts for the second highest GDP in the world. By leaving, the UK also leaves the ‘prestige’ of that strong relationship, and possibly loses out to deals with other nations.
  • Jobs – An estimation of around 3 million jobs is said to involve membership of the EU, and leaving could see them losing their jobs.

As you can see, the argument for both remain and leave is strong, however, the people have spoken and in a democratic country, the people make the decisions. By continuing to be in the EU, the UK subsequently gives up law making powers, which essentially defeats the purpose of having a democracy in the first place!

At least when the article 50 is triggered, the journey can officially begin. The government would have no doubt foreseen that there would be a surge of immigrants coming to the UK in the run up to this. But this then poses that black cloud over the head question, is the UK racist and discriminating by leaving the EU? That is for another time.

Please comment on why you personally voted in or out, and what persuaded you to do so.