mental health brain performance mood

Want a Better Brain? Blackcurrants Could Help Boost Your Mental Health – A Study Shows

It’s not just about increasing brain performance.

What this study showed is that blackcurrants could hold the key not only to getting you to a better mood but also giving you a better chance of winning the fight against stress, depression, anxiety and even Parkinson’s.

Which is great news because finally, there is a chance for a natural mood stabilizer that doesn’t have any side effects.

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The study

This is a scientific study that was published in the Journal of Functional  Foods. It was done by both the University Of Northumbria and a New Zealand  research company.

The aim of the study was simple: to find out the effect of taking blackcurrant extract, both on a person’s brain and on his or her mood.

They gave 36 adults different samples of the blackcurrant extracts. And then tested them. They tested the performance of their brains, noted their mood and even did blood tests.

Effect of blackcurrants on brain performance

The researchers found out that the blackcurrant extract had a significant effect on brain performance. It made it easier for guys to have better attention. And it also boosted the precision of their memory. And also reduced their susceptibility to mental fatigue.

Effect of blackadder blackcurrant on brain chemicals

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Blackadder is a type of New Zealand blackcurrant that the scientists used in the study.

On performing a blood test on patients that took the blackadder blackcurrant juice, the scientists noticed that taking the juice had a significant effect on certain brain chemicals. The juice somehow slowed the activity of the enzymes that usually regulate the production of dopamine and serotonin – the happy chemicals.

That is what got the scientists so excited. Because if compounds in blackadder blackcurrant could affect serotonin and dopamine levels, the fruit could be used in a variety of applications. Starting with helping to combat the not-so-desirable symptoms of Parkinson’s. And then the possibility of having a natural mood stabilizer. And also a natural brain booster. The possibilities are virtually endless.

An earlier study had found that red berries were also good for the brain. But it turns out that the effect of the blackader blackcurrant has wowed scientists even more.

So if you are in a bad mood, stressed out because of who knows what, or having a slow brain day, reach out for a handful of blackcurrants. They might just be what your brain needs to get its mojo back.

weight loss fat loss food mistakes

Having Trouble Losing Weight? Healthy Foods Are To Blame. Here’s What This Study Shows

If you are trying to lose weight by eating healthy fitness-friendly food, you are  probably doomed. Healthy fitness-friendly foods won’t help you lose weight. In fact, they will do the opposite – at least according to a recent study that was reported in the Journal of Marketing Research.

The main problem with the eat-healthy-to-lose-weight approach to fat loss is that gaining or losing weight has nothing to do the amount of nutrients you consume. It also has nothing to do with the type of food that you eat.

It is a calories game. And if you believe that a for-fitness meal will do any special favors for your waistline, you’ve got the basics of the game wrong.  Totally wrong.

weight loss fat loss problem and foods

The Study

Hans Baumgartner  of Pennsylvania State University and Joerg Koenigstorfer of Technische Universität München are always curious about branding. This time round, they were curious about the effect that the use of the words “Fitness” on foods had on the behavior of calorie watchers.

For their study, they decided to use a couple of snacks. They slapped the words “fitness” on some of the snacks. The rest, they just gave them their basic name. ( To make sure that the message was loud n clear, they even added a picture of running shoes on the “fitness” branded snacks). And then they started running their experiment.

What they found out

People who watched their weight tended to consume more of the “fitness” branded snacks – volume wise. Consuming the snacks also made them to exercise less.

Essentially, the branding made the weight-conscious group think that since they were eating “healthy”, they had the right not only to eat more but also to not exercise as much. They assumed that consuming something that was supposedly healthy gave them a free pass. This is of course not true.

The problem with eat healthy to lose weight approach to fat loss

weight loss fat burning calories healthy food

More calories in

Calories are calories. Your body doesn’t care about the packaging that comes with the food. Or the food itself.

Food, no matter how healthy or fitness-friendly, has calories. It is true that most of the for-fitness foods have relatively lower calories per volume/weight. But they still have calories.

Therefore, if the effect of knowing that you are eating healthy and fitness friendly food leads you to eat more of the food, you are basically doing more harm than good – at least as far as your weight is concerned.

The point is that the small calories eventually stack up because of the amount that you end up consuming.

Less calories out

The other effect that the researchers noted was that the branding made people exercise less. It didn’t matter whether they had taken a lot of the so-called healthy snacks. The thought that they had eaten something that was good for their bodies made them assume that they didn’t need as much exercise as before.

The Resultant Effect Is Massive Weight Gain

With more calories in and less calories out, it is no surprise that the faithful food-watching efforts, of most people, never pay off. They usually lose the weight loss war simply because the knowledge that they are eating healthy usually cheats them into adopting bad weight loss habits.

The Take: Never take your eyes off what matters

The key is focusing on the simple weight loss equation.

What you eat doesn’t really matter. How much you eat doesn’t really matter. How much you exercise doesn’t really matter.

What really matters is how many calories go into your body and how many calories you lose. If more go in and less come out, you will gain weight. And if what comes out is more than what goes into your body, you will lose weight. It’s a simple calories game with simple basic rules. You want to win? Respect the rules.

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dental care to prevent gum disease and dementia and alzheimers

Brush Your Teeth. Studies Show It Might Save Your Life – Think Alzheimer’s Prevention

Alzheimer’s is one of the leading killers in the US – 6th to be exact. It is more or less a death sentence, 8 years in waiting. And to make it worse, it usually attacks without warning.

The nasty part about Alzheimer’s disease is that when it decides to attack, there is nothing that you can do about it. No way to prevent it. And no way to cure it.

The nasty symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Therefore, when you start noticing that you can’t remember simple things like a birthday or an appointment. Or you find planning or making decisions harder. You know that the darkness is coming and things are only going to get worse.

Still Alice got rave reviews for perfectly portraying this condition  – even from people affected by it. Here is a trailer of the movie. You can find the book here.

There’s simply little you can do to keep yourself from slipping into a world where you can’t hold a simple conversation, can’t keep track of time or place, or can’t even do simple tasks such as taking your meds. Even losing your personality becomes almost inevitable.

The best science and medicine has offered so far is the hope that we can manage the symptoms of the disease. Nothing more.

But through all this doom and gloom, a study has shone some light. It turns out that there is something that you can do to help keep the disease at bay.

The study

The study was conducted by a couple of scientists from the University of Central Lancashire.

These scientists were wondering the same thing that all who have been affected by the disease have at one time or the other wondered. Is there something we can learn to get us out of this mess.

They set out to do their study by analyzing 20 brains. Some of the brains were for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The other half was of patients without it.

The discovery that they made was interesting. In the course of their study, they were able to discover evidence of traces of bacteria in some of the brains. And these weren’t just any run-of-the-mill bacteria. No. The bacteria that was found in these brains are the ones that are notorious for causing gum infections – Porphyromonas gingivalis.

alzheimers dementia causes

 

And guess which brains contained the bacteria? If you guessed the ones of the patients with Alzheimer’s disease, you are right.

The scientists were excited. This was good news! Why? Because they not only had found a link between dental hygiene and Alzheimer’s but also had managed to be among the first, if not the first, to identify a particular strain of bacteria that was responsible for the trouble. They were also happy because finally, their study could hold the key to completely keeping Alzheimer’s at bay – a real chance at preventing and curing Alzheimer’s disease.

The question is, exactly how?

Alzheimer’s disease and dental hygiene

After the scientists came out with their studies, they started coming up with possible explanations for the relationship. One that they settled on was that the bacteria somehow found itself to the brain.

But how? Well, people eat. They also brush their teeth. And they do lots of activities that can end up causing the bacteria to move to their stomach.

It is at the stomach that the bacteria then get absorbed into a person’s blood stream. The blood stream then carries the bacteria to the brain region.

And so what happens in the brain?

In the brain, the person’s immune system doesn’t like what it sees. Bacteria? No way is it going to be allowed into the brain. And so, the immune system starts a fight. The main aim of the fight being to protect the brain.

But unfortunately, this war, although it is eventually won by the immune system, has casualties. Several brain cells die in the course of the fighting. And it is this death that usually causes the memory loss, the loss of cognitive function and other brain-related symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

What’s the good news about this Alzheimer’s story?

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It’s simple.

Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease

Since there is a possibility that the bacteria causing Alzheimer’s usually originates from the mouth, it is possible to prevent it. How? Simply kill it before it has time to get to the brain. Or better still, prevent it from even having the chance to build a home in your cavities.

What this means is that if these scientists are spot on as to their theories about what exactly happens between having a dirty mouth and the onset of Alzheimer’s, taking care of your dental health may be enough to help you beat this nasty disease.

Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease

The fact that these scientists identified a specific type of bacteria means that there is hope for detecting the disease early on. With time, a blood test may be all you will need to measure the risks of getting affected by the disease. This will remove the surprise advantage that the disease has always enjoyed. Anything to cripple the disease is good for us all.

Of course, there is need for more studies. The sample size that was used was also smaller, so that means to really be sure about the effects of dental health on dementia and Alzeimer’s, more scientists have to go back to the lab.

But as we wait for these confirmations. And as we hold our breaths on the outcome of the experiments to be, it is a good idea to ensure that we take care of our dental health. Because it’s not just our smiles and our odds of getting Alzheimer’s that it impacts. There is also a host of other serious medical conditions that it helps us to avoid.

Take not these findings lightly. Alzheimer’s is uber serious. If there is even the littliest of chances that a few minutes cleaning your pearly whites can help save you from the pain and frustrations of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, that is a chance that you should fully exploit.

Summary

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