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Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Mind Exercises That Can Help You Stay Slim

Every year we spend millions on diets and gym membership, but obesity specialists increasingly believe the problem doesn’t lie in what we eat or how much exercise we take, but how we think.
‘There is a non-stop communication between your mind and body, but the mind is the most important because it drives your behaviour,’ says nutrition and exercise specialist Janet Thomson, author of Think More, Eat Less.
She is convinced we become overweight as a result of confused messages from the brain sabotaging our attempts to slim

So, if we have been told we are ‘well-built’ or ‘chubby’ or that ‘dieting is a waste of time’, the messages can stick. Without even realising, our emotional link with food can become toxic and we will no longer eat only when hungry and stop when full.
However, she maintains this can be changed and has devised a programme of mind exercises that she believes can boost our chances of getting, and staying, slim.
  • THINK about how you will look and feel a month after you have achieved your weight- loss goal — slim and healthy. Now, visualise yourself three months after that and six months later. Commit to spending one minute just before you go to sleep each night and one minute when you wake each morning (while you are in a sleepy, trance-like state) visualising yourself like this. Creating powerful positive emotions helps generate faith in your ability to succeed.
  • WRITE down exactly what you want to achieve — to be comfortable in size 12 jeans? To run a marathon? — and what you are prepared to do to get there — ‘I will eat less’ or ‘I will stick to a training regime’. Read this mission statement out loud twice a day.
  • IDENTIFY the thoughts and behaviour that may have kept you from achieving your goals in the past. Make a list of all the things that could have been making you fat (too many takeaways, too much wine), then write a list of alternative behaviours that you intend to do instead (planning meals, drinking alcohol only at weekends).
  • KEEP a food diary: write down everything that passes your lips. Studies show that even if you don’t consciously restrict your food intake, a diary makes you more conscious of what you eat. Being aware is a step forward.
  • SPEND time with like-minded people who have already achieved or have similar goals. Who you spend time with directly affects your attitude because your unconscious mind  will be continually processing their shared experiences as well as your own.
  • FOLLOW two simple eating rules: never use food as a reward or treat — eat only because your body needs fuel, then give it the best quality fuel possible. Never ban yourself from eating something. This will only make you want it more.

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Friday, 24 June 2016

Epsom Salt Uses and Benefits

What is Epsom salt?

Epsom salt, named for a bitter saline spring at Epsom in Surrey, England, is not actually salt but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. Long known as a natural remedy for a number of ailments, Epsom salt has numerous health benefits as well as many beauty, household, and gardening-related uses.
Studies have shown that magnesium and sulfate are both readily absorbed through the skin, making Epsom salt baths an easy and ideal way to enjoy the associated health benefits1. Magnesium plays a number of roles in the body including regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, reducing inflammation, helping muscle and nerve function, and helping to prevent artery hardening. Sulfates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins, and help ease migraine headaches.

What are the health benefits of using Epsom salt?

The wonders of Epsom salt have been well known for hundreds of years and, unlike other salts, has beneficial properties that can soothe the body, mind, and soul. Some of the countless health benefits include relaxing the nervous system, curing skin problems, soothing back pain and aching limbs, easing muscle strain, healing cuts, treating colds and congestion, and drawing toxins from the body. One of the simplest ways to ease stress and stress-related problems is to soak in a tub full of hot water with a few cups of Ultra Epsom® Salt. Some of the notable benefits of Epsom salt include:

Eases stress and relaxes the body

Stress drains the body of magnesium and increases levels of adrenaline. When dissolved in warm water, Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and replenishes the level of magnesium in the body. The magnesium helps to produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of calm and relaxation. Research shows that magnesium also increases energy and stamina by encouraging the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy packets made in the cells. Experts believe that bathing with Epsom salt at least three times a week helps you to look better, feel better and gain more energy. Magnesium ions also help you relax and reduce irritability by lowering the effects of adrenaline. They create a relaxed feeling, improve sleep and concentration, and help muscles and nerves to function properly.

Relieves pain and muscle cramps

An Epsom salt bath is known to ease pain and relieve inflammation, making it beneficial in the treatment of sore muscles, bronchial asthma, and migraine headaches. In addition, it has been known to heal cuts and reduce soreness from childbirth. Mix a thick paste of Epsom salt with hot water and apply to get soothing comfort. Try soaking your aching, tired (and smelly) feet in a tub of water with half a cup of our Ultra Epsom Salt. Epsom salt softens skin and will even neutralize foot odor.

Helps muscles and nerves function properly

Studies show that Epsom salt can help regulate electrolytes in your body, ensuring proper functioning of the muscles, nerves, and enzymes. Magnesium is also known to be critical in the proper use of calcium, which serves as a main conductor of the electric impulses in your body.

Helps prevent hardening of arteries and blood clots

Epsom salt is believed to improve heart health and help prevent heart disease and strokes by improving blood circulation, protecting the elasticity of arteries, preventing blood clots, and reducing the risk of sudden heart attack deaths.

Makes insulin more effective

Proper magnesium and sulfate levels increase the effectiveness of insulin in the body, and can help to lower the risk or severity of diabetes.

Relieves constipation

Numerous studies have revealed that Epsom salt can be used to treat constipation. Taken internally, Epson salt acts as a detoxifying agent for colon cleansing. The salt acts like a laxative by increasing water in the intestines and can bring about temporary relief from constipation. However, it is strictly warned that Epsom salts should not be used to relieve constipation without the consultation of a physician.

Eliminates toxins from the body - MY FAVOURITE :)

The sulfates in Epsom salt help flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances. Your skin is a highly porous membrane and adding the right minerals to your bathwater triggers a process called reverse osmosis, which actually pulls salt out of your body, and harmful toxins along with it. For a detoxifying bath, at least once weekly add two cups of our Ultra Epsom Salt to the water in a bathtub and soak for 10 minutes.

NOTE: If you are taking any medications or have serious health problems it is advisable to seek professional guidance first

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Smoothie Goodness

From breakfast to supper, a homemade smoothie can boost energy levels, keep you feeling fuller for longer and make it easy to digest all the natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you need. Preferable to fruit juices (they’re a better source of fibre), they even appeal to kids, who will happily drink up all kinds of fruit and veg whizzed up with yoghurt and honey!
Smoothie combinations
For each combination, simply peel or prepare the ingredients then blend together for a smooth, thick drink. If you can’t find some of the more exotic ingredients, don’t be put off, just give the recipes a go with what you have that tastes good!
1. Green smoothie
Leafy, fresh greens are incredibly healthy and packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This green smoothie will help you to detoxify, alkalise and gain energy. It will also boost your immune system.
•Combine Apple, cucumber, spinach, lemon, lemon peel, ginger, celery, pear, avocado, banana, apple juice and parsley.
•Tip Use green tea or freshly juiced beetroot as a base ingredient. Green tea helps to boost the metabolism, while beetroot helps to purge bile and detoxify the liver.
2. Cleansing smoothie
This smoothie can be enjoyed on a warm spring morning to rehydrate the body and flush out toxins.
•Combine Watermelon or sweet melon, cucumber, grated ginger, mint, lemon rind and honey. As an optional extra you can add plain yoghurt for a creamier texture.
•Tip Melon is a very good diuretic. It also cleanses the lymphatic system, liver and kidneys. The cucumber contains a high amount of potassium, which helps the body to rehydrate.
3. Tropical smoothie
The tropical flavours in this smoothie make it particularly refreshing. It’s a good one to have after a workout because coconut water is rich in electrolytes and can help to replace lost fluids and minerals after exercising.
•Combine Coconut water, mango, banana, pineapple, granadilla (a member of the passion fruit family) and yoghurt. As an optional extra, add fresh turmeric or half a teaspoon of turmeric powder or ginger. These spices have anti-inflammatory properties and work well in mango and yoghurt-based smoothies.
•Tip Mango is a good source of beta-carotene, while the fibre in bananas will help the good bacteria in your gut to flourish. Bananas are also a source of tryptophan, which aids relaxation and sleep. Pineapple adds a lovely sweet flavour and assists digestion.
4. Two delicious chocolate smoothies
Cocoa powder contains powerful antioxidants, as well as compounds that help control your appetite. It also oxygenates the body to create a sense of energy and alertness, and naturally boosts the feel good hormones in the brain.
•Combine For chocolate smoothie 1 – cocoa powder, banana, peanut butter, cinnamon, vanilla, honey, milk or a milk alternative. For chocolate smoothie 2 – cocoa powder, almond milk, dates, avocado, frozen banana, spring water and a vanilla pod.
•Tip Use cocoa in its natural, unsweetened form. Sprinkle either of the above smoothies with cocoa nibs for extra chocolate flavour. Use raw honey or dates to add sweetness.
5. Summer fruit smoothie
Cherries add colour, fibre and important minerals to this delicious fruit smoothie. Berries are in a nutritional league of their own: they’re very low in sugar and absolutely loaded with powerful, health-boosting antioxidants.
•Combine Cherries, mixed frozen berries, orange peel, orange, honey, yoghurt and banana. You could also try adding star anise, ginger, cinnamon powder or angelica.
•Tip Cherries, with their high fibre content, stimulate and cleanse the digestive system. These delicious fruits are also a natural source of melatonin, which helps to establish a healthy sleep cycle. Choose the darker cherries for their valuable mineral content (iron, magnesium and silicon).
6. Cashew nut smoothie
This smoothie can be enjoyed as a drink, but it also makes a delicious topping for fruit salad or sliced papaya.
•Combine Cashew nuts, fresh orange juice, fresh grapefruit juice, honey, cinnamon and banana.
•Tip The grapefruit in this smoothie helps to break down old toxins and this aids the elimination of cellulite, while the cinnamon helps to stabilise blood-sugar levels.
7. Papaya and melon smoothie
If you frequently suffer from sluggish digestion, this fruity smoothie is for you. Papaya helps to cleanse the digestive tract and, thanks to the papain in the fruit, assists in the breakdown of food, particularly protein.
•Combine Papaya, melon, sesame seeds or tahini paste, yoghurt or a milk alternative, honey and cinnamon.
•Tip Add a few papaya seeds to your smoothie as they’re great for digestion. The calcium rich tahini paste or sesame seeds add healthy fats.
8. Immune-boosting smoothie
Feeling a tad under the weather? Boost your immunity with this vitamin C-rich smoothie.
•Combine Lemon juice, lemon, orange, honey, yoghurt, spinach, banana, guava and ginger.
•Tip Lemons, guavas and oranges are all fantastic sources of immune-boosting vitamin C. The ginger in this smoothie is great for circulation and acts as an antiseptic, while the yoghurt is rich in probiotics (these healthy bacteria play a key immune boosting role).

Image result for smoothie

5 top tips to serve the perfect smoothie
1. Choose your ingredients based on what’s in season. Seasonal produce contains all the nutrients you need for the specific time of year.
2. Go for pure, whole ingredients, e.g. fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
3. Avoid using sweetened fruit juice, flavoured yoghurt and ice cream as your base. Instead opt for 100% or freshly squeezed juice, medicinal teas, elixirs, aloe vera, pure spring water, coconut water, a milk alternative, or plain, unsweetened yoghurt.
4. Sweeten your smoothies naturally with fruit. If necessary, you can add some honey, xylitol, stevia, fruit juice or dates, but ideally, get used to enjoying smoothies that aren’t so sweet.
5. If you need extra sustenance add a complex carbohydrate (e.g. cooked quinoa or oats), a protein (e.g. egg, almond powder, chia, spirulina or a good-quality protein powder such as brown rice protein, pea or whey isolate) and/or a fat (e.g. avocado, coconut oil, flaxseeds, coconut milk, peanut butter, tahini, almond butter or nuts). Brilliant when you want to whizz up a smoothie that will keep you going until lunchtime.


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Four Safe Tanning Tips For A Healthy Summer Glow

Overexposure to sunlight can cause physical changes on your skin such as wrinkles, freckles, age spots, and texture changes.
To avoid these effects and to achieve a safe sun-based tan, follow these four tips for a healthy summer glow.
1. Exfoliate Your Skin
To achieve the best possible tan outdoors, you must exfoliate before sun exposure. The act of exfoliation removes the dead cells from the uppermost layer of the skin and allows for fresh skin to appear. Removing the dead cells can even your skin tone, remove pore-clogging dirt and oil, and even prevent acne, says You can scrub or buff away the dead skin cells by doing cost-effective physical scrubs like sugar, oatmeal, and salt with a loofah pad or exfoliating glove. The less build-up of dead skin cells, the more shallow your layer of skin will be, which will make your tan last longer. The removal of dead skin will also allow you to tan more easily because your tan will appear and fade evenly.
2. Wear A Sunscreen
Contrary to the beliefs of many tanning enthusiasts, you can still tan with sunscreen, and it's better that you do. In fact, sun protection factor (SPF) extends the time you can spend in the sun without suffering additional skin damage. Higher SPF numbers therefore provide better protection against ultraviolet B "burning rays" (UVB) rays, though not UVA protection, says the American Cancer Society (ACS). Sunscreens that are labeled "broad-spectrum" can provide protection against both UVB and UVA rays, but a standard system for measuring UVA ray protection has yet to exist.
Naturally fair skin has low amounts of melanin, which can leave the skin vulnerable to the sun's carcinogenic UV and cause lobster-red burns on your skin without an appropriate SPF. For those with darker skin, melanin can provide the equivalent of SPF 13.4 compared to 3.4 in white skin, says the Skin Cancer Foundation. However, those with dark skin can still get sunburnt.
The amount of sunscreen a person should apply is said to be 2 milligrams per square centimeter (mg/cm2) to the exposed skin under the sun, says the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For example, if a person is 5 ft. 4 in. (163 cm) and weighs 150 lb. (68 kg) with a 32 in. (82 cm) waist and is wearing a bathing suit covering the groin area, he or she should apply 29 g (approximately 1 oz) evenly to the uncovered body area to get the indicated SPF of his or her sunscreen product, says the FDA.
Remember to apply SPF 15 to 30 minutes before you go in the sun, reapply 15 to 30 minutes after you have been exposed to the sun, and only reapply if you have done any aquatic activity where your sunscreen could have been removed. In an article published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers discussed that the safest skin exposure to the sun results from early reapplication into the sun exposure period. In other words, the earlier you apply your sunscreen once you're exposed, the less damage UV rays will do to your skin.
3. Do NOT Overexpose Your Skin To The Sun
To get a healthy and glowing tan, do not overexpose your skin to UV rays. It is best to tan gradually by dividing your time under the sun evenly to reduce sunburn. Spending a whole day at the beach may give you a tan look for a day but it may very well leave you with sunburns when you leave. The best way to get a healthy summer glow is to tan in small doses. Half an hour to an hour under the sun a day will allow your body to produce adequate melanin to aid you the next time you tan.
It is important to choose wisely what time you decide to go for an outdoor sun-based tan. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says UV strength is greatest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during sunny summer days.
4. Wear Your Shades And A Hat
To achieve an even tan, remember your shades and hat. The skin around your eyes, including your eyes themselves, are delicate to UV rays. Failure to take proper care can result in the development of eye diseases like cataract, age-related macular degeneration, and eye cancers, says ACS. Sunglasses that are labeled "UV absorption up to 400 nm" or "Meets ANSI UV Requirements" mean the glasses block at least 99 percent of UV rays. Ideal glasses include those that are large-framed and wrap-around because they protect your eyes from the light that comes from different angles, says ACS. However, be mindful of falling asleep with your sunglasses, a la Kim Kardashian, who failed to achieve an even sun tan.
A hat with a two- to three-inch brim can protect your ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp all at once while you look stylish getting your tan. If big, wide hats do not suit you, opt for a shade cap, says ACS as these caps have seven inches of fabric that drape down the sides and back and can provide protection for your neck too. Although a baseball cap looks ideal, it only offers protection in the front and the top of the head, leaving the neck and ears vulnerable to sun exposure.
Lastly, remember to give your skin time to repair itself after a day out in the sun and before trekking outdoors again. These four tips will have you sporting healthy-looking and radiant skin.

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Thursday, 16 June 2016

How I Meditate For 5 Minutes

Due to certain things going on in my life, I felt the need to clear my mind of all of the thoughts going around in my head to help me focus on the important stuff.

Coming from a Yoga teaching back ground, meditating seemed the most logical thing to do for me yet I rarely did it.

I have found that if I do just a 5-10 minute slot before I get up or at some point later in the day then it fits in nicely to my routine. Here is how I do it:

I get myself somewhere comfortable (usually laid on the bed), lay on my back, close my eyes and become aware of making sure that my body is relaxed with no tension or tighness, by quickly scanning over the whole area. If there is any tension, then I focus my breath to that area and relax it as I breathe out.

Next to keep my mind clear of any thoughts (this is often the tricky bit), I bring my attention to my breathing. Tummy rising as I inhale and falling back towards my spine as I exhale.

I keep this momentum going. If my mind wanders - which sometimes it does - then I bring my focus back to my breathing. I work in this way for the next 5 minutes at the very least.

When I have finished I stretch and slowly get up. I feel more refreshed and able to focus on the rest of my day.

However, sometimes it doesn't go like that and instead I fall asleep, especially if it is later in the day.

When this happens, my mediatation goes something like this:

I do all of the above, relax onto my bed and focus on my breathing. Then I feel myself going into sleep and I sometimes have quick various dreams. After usually about 10-15 minutes I wake myself up, usually snoring!! (and I'm not your typical snorer - it's laying on my back that does it for me).

Whichever way it turns out is absolutely fine. They both have the same effect in that I get up feeling more focused and my mind and body have had a break :)

So give it a go. It may take a few attempts to 'switch off' your mind but it will get easier and over the long term is worth a little bit of effort.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Meditate First Thing In The Morning

For the best results, meditate every day, first thing in the morning. And you can start with just five minutes.

Research has yet to pinpoint the magic time requirement to see these brain changes and improve mental health outcomes. But Ward says ideally you should try to do it every day for 10-12 minutes. Four to fives times per week is great too, if you really can’t get to seven. The key is to be consistent.
“A lot of my clients are athletes, so I equate it with going to the gym,” she explains. “You’re not going to get fit working out one day a week; it needs to be several times a week. We’re changing mental muscles in your brain, and it takes repetition and consistency for those changes to occur.” If you’ve never meditated before, start with just five minutes. “For many people, that’s going to seem like an eternity,” she says. Get used to concentrating on your breath and stopping your mind when it wanders, and once that five minutes is flying by, increase your time.
“There’s big power in a group practice,” Richmond notes, which is why they offer Surdashan Kriya classes in most major cities around the country. But if you prefer doing it on your own most days, that’s fine too. You have to find what works best for you.
If you want a little more guidance or structure, try a mindfulness app. You can also meditate in some less traditional ways: Take a meditative yoga class, or spend time digging in your garden. Whatever lets you focus, breathe, and be present in the moment. “But definitely not TV,” Ward warns.
Finally, for best results, Ward recommends a morning meditation. “Sleep is a very different brain pattern than meditation,” she explains. “So you want to do it first thing when you wake up.” You can even practice while you’re still lying in bed. It’s the best way to start your day with a peaceful, centered mindset—a mental state we should all strive to be in.

Here is my previous post on how to meditate See It Here

10 Minute Morning Workout

You've got 10-minutes!:

Monday, 13 June 2016

3 Signs You Might Have Low Blood Pressure

There are three main signs that you might be battling some low blood pressure ills:

1. Dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when standing up suddenly
You’re looking at the bottom row of books and you pop up to continue your search, and suddenly: whoa, head rush. This is the most common symptom of low blood pressure, and if it happens only occasionally, then it’s no big. Schwartz notes that this one can often get corrected by making sure you’re not dehydrated.
2. Brain fog, complete with crappy memory about things that just happened
Multitasking sucks for everyone (seriously, everyone), but if you’re usually on top of your to-do list and you suddenly start feeling foggy, it could be hypotension. You’ll feel disconnected or spaced out, and then your short-term memory gets glitchy. Fun!
3. Feeling super low energy, even when you’ve had enough sleep
You got your 8 hours, and your butt is still dragging. Even combatting it with venti-sized, multi-shot beverages only works temporarily. Low blood pressure can cause fatigue, and some experts have suggested that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and low blood pressure may be linked.
Less-common symptoms of low blood pressure might be blurred vision, general weakness, and nausea. Sometimes it can cause fainting, and rapid, shallow breathing, and has even been linked to depression, according to the American Heart Association.

The best treatment for low blood pressure is in your lifestyle—and on your kitchen counter.

Although high blood pressure is often addressed with medication, physicians are very reluctant to go that route with hypotension, Schwartz says. That’s because making some tweaks to your everyday habits can yield much better results than popping meds.
What works? The tried-and-true efforts that you may be doing anyway: trouncing stress with activities like yoga, getting enough sleep, ditching the smokes, staying hydrated, and maintaining a moderate-to-kickass level of fitness.
Also, stop being so stingy with the salt.
“Culturally, we have the mentality that salt isn’t good for you,” says Schwartz. “But we need it to maintain normal blood pressure and to support the adrenal system. Women, particularly, require salt because it helps address physical changes during their periods.”
Playing around with good-for-you habits will likely vanquish all those annoying low blood pressure symptoms. But if they persist for more than a few days, then check with your doc, because some conditions can cause low blood pressure, like heart issues, endocrine problems, and pregnancy, especially during the first 24 weeks. So, make an appointment, and maybe have a salt-crusted pretzel on the way.


The Surprising Habit That’s Causing You to Over Eat

You’ve even been eating healthier this summer and are probably in the middle of getting a rockin’ bod with our Best Bodies challenge. So what could be the culprit behind those few extra pounds you’ve put on? Here’s the hard truth: drinks after work may be to blame, but not in the way you think. 
According to a recent study, alcohol exposure sensitizes the brain’s response to food aromas and increases caloric intake. That means that those pre-dinner rooftop drinks could be affecting the cravings in your belly, convincing you to place a heartier dinner order than you normally would. “The ‘aperitif effect,” or consumption of more food after drinking, has been known for some time now, but there has never been a consensus on what causes you to eat more—what alcohol is doing to lead to this,” says William J. A. Eiler II, PhD, lead author of the study. “Our findings lead us to believe that alcohol may make the aromas from food more appealing.  As a result of the food smelling better, we may be compelled to eat more of it.”
The study involved 35 healthy women, who received alcohol via an IV drip on one visit and a placebo during another. Wondering why they didn’t just line up glasses of wine? The goal of the test was to look solely at the brain’s role with alcohol consumption, minus any interference from the stomach. The participants’ brain responses to food and non-food aromas were then measured in response to two lunches: pasta with Italian meat sauce and beef with noodles. The study’s findings indicated that participants ate more when they received intravenous alcohol. 

So how much alcohol until you notice the effect? “That is a good question and one that will have to be answered by further research,” says Eiler.  “In our study, we maintained all our subjects at a breath alcohol concentration of 0.05 percent, which is equivalent to a couple of glasses of wine. I would hazard to say that there is likely a ‘sweet spot’ where drinking before a meal increases your consumption, with too little having no effect and too much leading to a decrease in eating.”
For those of you who are keeping an eye on your weight, be aware of the amount of and what types of pre-meal beverages you’re consuming. For example, your favorite craft beer might be pretty calorically dense, explains Eiler. “This can be compounded by the aperitif effect as you are not only increasing your caloric intake by drinking, you are likely to indulge a little more while eating your meal,” he says. A solid rule of thumb: When you know you’ll be drinking, “plan ahead by preparing smaller portions or making healthier choices.”


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

10 Foods To Boost Your Brain Power

Eating well is good for your mental as well as your physical health. The brain requires nutrients just like your heart, lungs or muscles do. But which foods are particularly important to keep our grey matter happy?

1. Opt for wholegrains
Like everything else in your body, the brain cannot work without energy. The ability to concentrate and focus comes from the adequate, steady supply of energy - in the form of glucose in our blood to the brain. Achieve this by choosing wholegrains with a low-GI, which release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you mentally alert throughout the day. Opt for 'brown' cereals, wheatbran, granary bread and brown pasta.

2. Eat oily fish

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) cannot be made by the body and must be obtained through diet. The most effective omega-3 fats occur naturally in oily fish as EPA and DHA. Good sources include linseed (flaxseed) oil, soya bean oil, pumpkin seeds, walnut oil and soya beans. They are good for healthy brain function, the heart, joints and general wellbeing. Oily fish contains EPA and DHA in a ready-made form, which enables the body to use it easily. The main sources of oily fish include salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers. Low DHA levels have been linked to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and memory loss.

3. Binge on blueberries

Evidence accumulated at Tufts University in the United States suggests that the consumption of blueberries may be effective in improving or delaying short term memory loss. Widely available, so there's no excuse.

4. Eat more tomatoes

There is good evidence to suggest that lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes, could help protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer's.

5. Add vitality with vitamins

Certain B vitamins - B6, B12 and folic acid - are known to reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with increased risk of stroke, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. A study of a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment found that after two years of intervention with high doses of B6, B12 and folic acid there was significantly less brain shrinkage compared to a subset given placebo treatment.

6. Get a blackcurrant boost

Vitamin C has long been thought to have the power to increase mental agility. One of the best sources of this vital vitamin are blackcurrants.

7. Pick up pumpkin seeds

Just a handful of pumpkin seeds a day is all you need to get your recommended daily amount of zinc, vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills.

8. Bet on broccoli

A great source of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower.

9. Sprinkle on sage

Sage has long had a reputation for improving memory and although most studies focus on sage as an essential oil, it could be worth adding fresh sage to your diet too.

10. Go nuts

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that a good intake of vitamin E might help to prevent cognitive decline, particularly in the elderly. Nuts are a great source of vitamin E along with leafy green vegetables, asparagus, olives, seeds, eggs, brown rice and wholegrains.

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