6 Ways to Make Yourself Smarter

Think it’s too late to become a brainiac? Think again. Medical science used to think that you were stuck with the smarts you had once you reached adulthood, but modern wisdom says that our brains continue to grow and adapt at any age. Nurture your gray matter and you can make yourself smarter, healthier, and happier – here’s how.

1 Protect the smarts you have! Protect your brain from physical injury by wearing a helmet when you ride bikes, motorbikes, or go snowboarding, and avoid aggressive sports. “The brain is very soft,” says Dr. Daniel G. Amen, author of Making a Good Brain Great, “and the parts involved with memory, learning, and mood stability are especially vulnerable to trauma. Even a so-called ‘minor’ concussion can have long-term repercussions on your brain that may show themselves long after that impact occurred.”

2. Maintain a healthy sex life. “Orgasm is very helpful for the brain because there’s a lot of activity that goes on and then it calms down. It’s like resetting the brain in many wawys,” says Dr. Amen. Recent Australian research found that intercourse directly stimulates the production of new brain cells; however, to keep those cells you need to do something intellectually stimulating soon after, so reach for that Sudoku book or crossword puzzle once you partner starts snoring.

3. Stretch your brain. Learn new things makes you smarter. The more you exercise your gray matter, the more connections your brain makes. Studying new languages or learning a musical instrument can be excellent activities, but trying anything new has the same effect if you work on it continuously. We’re not talking about watching multiple episodes of Glee, though: The book tube is a brain-dead activity, so limit how much time you spend zoning out in front of the box.

4. Exercise your body. Increasing your blood flow through exercise will get plenty of oxygen to your brain cells. helping them function more efficiently. A study by the University of Illinois found that people who did 45 minutes of brisk walking a week improved their cognitive speed by 15%.

5. Get enough sleep. When you’re catching z’s, your brain rejuvenates. Recent research suggests that our brains grow during the sixth and eighth hour of sleep, and that those who get eight or nine hours of sleep are more mentally alert.

6. Don’t cut too many carbs. A balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetable is key. “You may lose weight on low-carb diets, but you’re not going to have that mental edge because your active brain needs a steady stream of energy fueled preferably by complex carbohydrates,” says Dr. Alan Logan, author of The Brain Diet. Eating fruits with dark red and purple pigments such as cherries and blueberries gives long-term brain protection. So eat up and look forward to a long, mentally healthy life.

8 Things Worth for Splurges

You’re completely and utterly burned-out, and it’s going to take more than an energy drink for you to re-attack your life with unbridled enthusiasm. It’s time to bring out the big ones: the A list of splurges. Here, a few over-the-top ways to pamper yourself. After one of these indulgences, you’ll be recharged in no time.

1 Book a session with a real fashion photographer. We’re not talking Sears portrait studio or cheesy mall glamour shots. Make fun splurges such as a session with a photographer who regularly shoots for fashion magazines will give you an afternoon of diversion and an album of hot pics. You’re never too old for dress-up, so don some daring fashion and work it like you’re competing for the top slot on America’s Next Top Model. If you’re chronically un-photogenic, fear not: A fashion photog worth his salt knows what to say to make even the stiffest of the camera-shy cover-worthy. To find a photographer near you, log on to Guru.com.

2 Hire a personal concierge. Tedious tasks typically suck up what little free time we have: picking up the dry-cleaning, scheduling dental appointments, stocking up on coffee and toilet paper, reorganizing kitchen cupboards. Take a vacation from tedium and leave the grunt work to a personal concierge (available on retainer or hourly fees; check out www.headconcierge.com for more information). Even just a few weeks of handing over your to-do list will give you the breathing room to catch up on your downtime.

3 Hit the hydrotherapy at a nearby spa. For thousands of years, the tired and the weary have turned to the water for rejuvenation; for today’s bogged-down career woman, urban day spas replace Roman baths as the oasis in a desert of stress. Submerge yourself in a giant hydrotherapy tub loaded up with rose petals and delicious scents (think almond, chocolate, champagne, or honey), or go rainforest with 30 minutes on a Vichy table, a row of showerheads raining warm water the length of your tired body. Tack a pedicure or facial onto your treatments for head-to-toe bliss.

4 Drink chocolate. If you think hot chocolate is what happens when artificially sweetened cocoa powder meets hot water in a Styrofoam cup, your life is about to change. The growing popularity of European drinking chocolate (real dark chocolate melted and combined with hot water or milk) has taken hot chocolate out of the ice rinks and into fine-dining establishments. Seek out a chocolate café in your city and savor the cocoa shivers running up and down your spine. Makes that “chocolate or sex” question even harder to answer.

5 Enjoy a weekend away in your own city.Take a vacation from your life for a couple days without venturing far from home. Check into an amenities-heavy boutique hotel in your city (a change of scene without the accompanying hefty travel bill) and dine on room service and cheesy flicks on pay-per-view. Drag a girlfriend or two along for city tours and prepubescent slumber-party antics.

6 Hire a chef. Hungry for a gourmet meal? Let someone else slave over your hot stove. Whether you’re craving down home comfort food or a culinary journey through the Far East, a professional chef will cater a meal to delight your taste buds. Haul out your neglected flatware and überchic dishes, invite friends you haven’t seen in ages, supply the bubbly and delectable conversation, and let the chef do all the rest. For a list of chefs in your area, log on to the American Personal and Private Chef Association.

7 Have a hot night out. It’s hard to believe you’re a sexy thang in the prime of your life when your Friday nights are characterized by spreadsheets, stale coffee, and number crunching. Strap on your strappiest heels and head out for fruity cocktails at your city’s hot-spot-of-the-moment. So out of touch that you’re not sure where you’re going? Pick up Us Weekly (no joke), ’cause it’s bound to be hot where the paparazzi are skulking.

8 Jump-start your gym routine. For some women, breaking a sweat is all the splurge they need to feel renewed. If your body is your temple and you’re in major need of renovation, consider Gyrotonic. Marrying the principles of dance, gymnastics, Pilates, and yoga, Gyrotonic (performed on a pricey pulley tower that unfortunately resembles an S&M unit) stretches and strengthens muscles in circular exercises that’ll leave you limber and rejuvenated. Seek out a Gyrotonic gym in your area and jump on this fab trend before it goes cliché.

Recovery from a Stroke

As if you need another reason to convince you to institute an exercise regime, it turns out that people who exercise regularly may be harmed less by a stroke than those who do not. According to a new study, stroke victims who exercise throughout their lives performed better on two important scales measuring resiliency after a first stroke.

One of the two scales used was the Barthel Index, a respected measure of ability to perform 20 daily activities such dressing or bathing. “The second measure, the Oxford Handicap Scale, takes a broader approach, such as speech and reading comprehension, and the ability to return to work. Study participants who reported having had regular exercise one to three times a week before their strokes functioned significantly better than those who had been sedentary, and those who reported having done aerobic physical activity four or more times a week appeared to do even better.

Medical experts say that the relationship makes sense; if you are physically fit before a stroke, you have more capacity to adjust or compensate after the stroke. They warn that the results, however, common sensical, are still preliminary.

Not within the scope of these study but also important, experts also say there is some evidence, still very sketchy, that exercise leads to reduced risk of stroke in the first place. This is especially true of those who do vigorous exercise from the teen years into their mid-50s. But even people who keep walking as little as 20 minutes a day right through their senior years also seem to see some reduction in stroke occurrences.

The Benefits of a Bath

The American way is the no-nonsense shower. Get wet, get clean, get it over with, get onto the next project. But there are many reasons why taking an occasional bath makes sense and can have mental and physical benefits. Here are 10 points, all supported by medical research and anecdotal evidence, to think about next time you’re singing in the shower.

Stress Reduction
Getting into the tub with some swirling water can help unwind the stress of the day and let your brain relax.

Better Sleep
Immersing yourself in hot water for 15 minutes before bedtime raises your body temperature and enhances your ability to fall asleep.

Hydrotherapy
Get relief for arthritis, aches and stiffness as warm water increases blood suppy to aching joint and inflamed areas of the body.

Oh Buoy
The buoyancy of water relaxes muscles and warm water decreases muscle tension for greater flexiblility.

Breathe Easier
Steam rising of hot water can open up nasal and bronchial passes, and aids in maintaining upper respiratory health.

Headache Relief
Some people find relief from headaches by soaking in a hot tub.

Heart Health
A recent Mayo Clinic studyfound that soaking in a hot tub provides some benefits of exercise, such as lowering blood pressure, without the strain.

Cover Your Back
Four of five Americans suffer from chronic back pain. Hot water alleviates lower back pain
as well as the common ailment of knee pain.

Skin Game
Soaking in a tub is an easy way to treat large areas of skin for itching, eczema, hives, dry or crusty skin, inflamed or chafed skin and poison ivy or oak.

Serenity and Peace
A hot tub can be a statement of taking control of your personal life and time, and locking out all the other demands. Aromatherapy, candles and music can rejuvenate you.

How to Reduce the Risk of Prostate Cancer

Men who get moderate amounts of exercise regularly may reduce their risk of prostate cancer. That according to a new study published in the November 2009 issue of Journal of Urology, which reports that prostate cancer was less likely to be diagnosed in men who got exercise regularly than those who led a sedentary lifestyle.

A team at the Duke University Prostate Center and the VA Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina analyzed data from 190 men who underwent biopsies for suspected prostate cancer and found the association. About half of the patients who exercised moderately, or those who engaged in three to six hours of walking each week, were two-thirds less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than their sedentary counterparts. Also of note: The researchers found that men who got exercise equivalent to one to three hours of walking each week were 86 percent less likely to develop an aggressive form of the cancer.

Is there a direct link between exercise and reduced risk? Not for certain. But the findings fit with the fact that exercise, or at least some degree of physical activity, is linked to reduced cancer risks in general. One possible theory for the lowered risk is that those who exercise also tend to have a healthy diet and lifestyle. Another possible reason is that exercise can lower the level of sexual hormones in the blood, like testosterone, that are known to promote prostate cancer growth. Yet a third explanation: exercise can boost the body’s anti-oxidation mechanisms which also helps reduce the odds of acquiring prostate cancer.

A second recent study, published in a British medical journal suggests the same statistical association, i.e., that being physically active may help reduce risk of prostate cancer. The study, done at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, found that those who walk, bike or have a physical occupation show lower risk than those who sit at a desk day after day.

Nearly 200,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year and, according to the National Cancer Institute, more than 27,000 will die of the disease.

Low Calorie Diets Extend Lifespan

A recently concluded 20-year study of Rhesus monkeys holds the promise that dramatically restricting calories —in this case a 30 percent cut—may add years to your life. The monkeys showed fewer signs and diseases of aging, lived longer than monkeys who ate more, and even looked better.

healthy eating

The findings provide support for a scientific movement, known commonly as Calorie Restriction or CR, which has long posited that a consistent ultra-low calorie diet may prolong life in humans. The theory has been around at least since the 1930s, and has spawned The Calorie Restriction Society, whose members believe that this daily regimen is “the only proven life-extension method known to modern science.”

Previous evidence about the link between eating less and living longer was based on studies of more primitive creatures like worms, flies, yeast, fish and rodents. The new study at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, is the first to include large mammals. In addition to living longer, the dieting monkeys showed less cancerous tumors, heart disease, diabetes, and brain shrinkage. Lead researcher, Rick Colman, Ph.D., an associate scientist at the Center, put it simply: “Monkeys in the calorie restricted group are more likely to live healthier, longer.”

Since calorie restriction, by its nature, involves the less intake of nutrients, food choices become critical. Fruits, vegetables, grains and lean protein tend to be favored over sugars or high carbohydrate items. On average, Americans consume between 2,000 and 3,000 calories a day; someone practicing calorie restriction would need to get this down to 1,500 to 2,000 daily calories.

Obviously, no one is yet sure if the findings can be generalized to human beings, and the research will go on. But experts extrapolate from the monkey study that if it works, people in their 30s who start the process could extend their lives by 8 to 10 years. Which raises the question: If you could prolong your life, but the price would be eating 30 percent fewer calories every single day, would it be worth it?

Green Tea: Prostate Cancer Silver Bullet?

Green Tea Prostate Cancer Silver Bullet 2

Drinking green tea has long been considered to have health benefits ranging from easing arthritis to lowering cholesterol to fighting infections to preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Now, researchers say that the active ingredients in green tea may indeed slow down the progression of prostate cancer. The disease is the second leading cause of cancer death among American men.

The study, conducted at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport and published in Cancer Prevention Research, an American Association for Cancer Research journal, found capsules made using green tea extracts called polyphenols lowered levels of proteins that tumors use to grow.

Twenty six already diagnosed prostate cancer patients, aged from 41 to 68, each took four capsules a day containing Polythenon E — equal to a dozen cups of green tea — for about a month before they had their prostates removed. The scientists found that levels of three proteins associated with the spread of prostate cancer fell. For some, the drop was as much as 30 percent.

Researchers warn that we are still in the early stages of discovery, that the LSU study is a small one, and that there is lots of work still to be done. Still, they say that green tea and other plant-derived substances are showing the potential for helping prevent certain cancers and for slowing the growth of certain cancers, if not actually being able to shrink tumors.

The American Cancer Society projects prostate cancer will be diagnosed this year in 192,280 men.

Impotency Treatment – Studies Show Watermelon Treats Erectile Dysfunction

More studies are surfacing on the health benefits of watermelon, especially the benefits watermelon can have on impotency.  ”While watermelon has traditionally been seen as a natural vasodilator and libido enhancer, the new study reaffirms its potential as a potency fruit [for erectile dysfunction],” reports 121doc.  This one study in particular even went so far as to compare the impact of eating watermelon to taking Viagra.

Watermelon can be a powerful natural remedy for impotency because it contains an abundance phyto-nutrients, which are essential for the overall well-being and health of the human body.  In watermelons, these include lycopene, beta carotene, among many other. What has recently been discovered is the benefits of one phyto-nutrient for erectile dysfunction in particular – citrulline.

Citrulline is known to dilate blood vessels, which can increase the flow of blood to the penis. Citrulline has the potential to improve cardiovascular health as well and boost immunity by converting itself to arginine. Arginine is an amino acid that can help resolve problems with penile blood flow, which is the common cause of impotency and erectile dysfunction.

“The citrulline-arginine relationship helps heart health, the immune system and may prove to be very helpful for those who suffer from obesity and type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Bhimu Patil. “Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it.”

These studies have also shown that deep red varieties of watermelon have displaced the tomato as the lycopene fruit. Almost 92 percent of watermelon is water, but the remaining 8 percent is loaded with lycopene, an anti-oxidant that protects the human heart, prostate and skin health. Lycopene, however, is fat-soluble, meaning that it needs certain fats in the blood for better absorption by the body. Try to eat watermelon with other oily vegetables, like avocado or spinach, in order to absorb as much lycopene possible.

 

Impotency And Diet

Impotency is a blood vessel issue, and diet has a lot to do with your blood vessels.  Eating a healthy, well balanced diet is vital to blood flow and can improve erectile dysfunction.  Below are a few tips and suggestions for maintaining a diet that can help with impotency.

The Best Diet For Impotency

Foods to Increase

  • Fresh Fruit – Not only are fruits healthy and free of any added junk, fruits are also known to increase libido. The best fruits to eat (and drink) in order to increase libido and sex drive include:
    • Pomegranate - pomegranate helps the body to produce (NO) or nitric oxide, which helps to open up blood vessels and increase blood flow, and consequently the libido.
    • Figs – figs contain high levels of amino acids. Amino acids play a vital role in normal sexual function and will help increase levels of nitric oxide in the body.
    • Avocados - Avocados contains high levels of folic acid to help metabolize proteins giving you an energy boost. Avocados also contain vitamin B6 which help fight stress and give you the energy to keep going and also help with the production of testosterone.
    • Bananas - boost your libido with the bromelain enzyme it contains. It has one of the highest levels of potassium to help regulate energy levels as well as B vitamins.
    • Dates - amino acids for sexual stamina as well as a good dose of fruity sugars which make them sweet and an amazing pickup.
  • Nuts – All types of nuts are good for erectile dysfunction, but here are a few in particular:
    • Pistachio nuts – pistachios are a very good source of the nonessential amino acid arginine, which seems to maintain flexible arteries and improve blood flow by enhancing the ability of nitric oxide to relax blood vessels.
  • Grains and vegetables
  • Special rejuvenative foods – whey, sour milk- particularly goat’s mailk, millet , garlic , honey, cold-pressed vegetable oils, and brewer’s yeast
Foods to Avoid
  • Caffeine – Coffee, tea, soda, restricts blood vessels
  • Fried Food
  • Animal Fats
  • Avoid processed, canned, denatured, and refined foods (e.g. white sugar and white flour).  This includes foods that are made with these ingredients as well.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol intake
  • Lower intake of animal products.  A vegetarian diet has been shown to improve impotence.

Yoga Poses for Impotency

I don’t want to rely on my medication, such as Viagra and Cialis, to cure my impotence condition.  There are many natural remedies and exercises that I have adopted in order to treat erectile dysfunction.  Yoga is a popular treatment for ED, and is therapeutic to the mind as well.  Below you will find several yoga poses for impotence that help to exercise and open your hip joints, restore sexual energy and desire, increase blood flow and strengthening the muscles in your genital area.

Yoga Poses for Impotency

Sun Salutations

  1. Stand with your feet together. Place the palms of your hands together in prayer position.
  2. Inhale and raise your arms upward. Slowly stretch your arms backwards over your head.
  3. Exhale and slowly bend forward, let your hands touch your feet or the ground.
  4. Inhale and move your right leg back into a lunge position. Keep your hands and feet firmly on the ground and head looking up.
  5. Exhaling and bring your left foot back towards the right into the plank position.
  6. Continue to exhale as you slowly lower your body to the floor until your feet, knees, and hands are touching the floor.
  7. Inhale and stretch forward and up, using your arms to lift your torso into the cobra position.
  8. Exhale and lift from the hips pushing back and up into downward dog.
  9. Inhale and step your right foot forward into the lunge position.
  10. Exhale and bring your feet together trying to bring your head to your knees.
  11. Inhale and rise one vertebrae at a time. Keep your arms extended as you raise them above your head. Lean slightly back.
  12. Exhale and slowly let your arms drop your sides. Bring your hands back into prayer position.
  13. Repeat this sequence starting with your left foot.
  1. Lie flat on your back in the shava-asana pose.
  2. Inhale and bend your right knee, pulling it into your torso with both hands interlocking your fingers below your knee. Keep your left leg flat on the floor.
  3. Hold the inhaled breath for a few seconds then slowly exhale, lifting your back, shoulders and head off of the food and touching your knee to your forehead.
  4. Hold the exhaled breath then slowly inhale, returning your back, shoulder and head to the floor.  Remain holding your right knee.
  5. Exhale and bring your right leg to the floor.
  6. Lie flat on your back in shava-asana before repeating the sequence with your left leg.
  1. Lie on the back with the feet on the floor with knees bent, or stand.
  2. Inhale, pause, and as you begin to exhale, contract the genital and anal region.
  3. Pull it in tightly, pause, and release as you exhale.
  4. Do this five times twice a day.
  1. First Method – While standing with your feet about a foot apart and your knees slightly bent, lean forwards a little from the waist and place your hands just above your knees.  Inhale deeply by pushing your abdomen forwards, and then exhale by pushing your stomach in. Don’t take another breath; instead, push in your stomach even more, so that it becomes hollow, and hold your breath for about ten seconds.
  2. Second Method – Do the same as above but, instead of holding your Stomach in after exhaling, rapidly push your stomach in and out ten times without taking another breath.
  1. Lie on your stomach, spreading your hands on the floor underneath your shoulders.  Hug your elbows up and back towards your body.
  2. Press the tops of the feet and thighs and the pubis firmly into the floor.
  3. Inhale and straighten your arms, lifting your chest off the floor.  Lift only to the point that you are maintaining a connection through your pubis to your legs.
  4. Firm the shoulder blades against the back, puffing the side ribs forward.
  5. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily.
  6. Exhale and release back to the floor.
  1. Lie down with your back on a Yoga Mat.
  2. Lift your legs up to a 90 degree angle with your torso. Your shoulders and head should lie flay on the mat.
  3. Lift your hips off the floor and bring your legs over your head.
  4. Lift your entire back, bringing your legs farther over your head so that they touch the floor behind you.
  5. Place your arms against your upper back and try to place your hands as near as possible to the shoulder blades. Try to place your elbows at shoulder-width.
  6. Push your back upwards with your hands. You will get a force upwards coming from the seventh neck-vertebra.Use your hands to push the back forward with the result that it gets narrower and straighter and there is an increased pressure on your shoulders. At the same time, this requires more power of the muscles of the lower back. Rest your weight on the back side of the shoulders. See to it that you do not bend the upper back and the chest.
  7. Lift up your legs, one at a time, and see to it that the pelvis is placed straight over your back and your hands. Your legs are placed a little forward. Divide the weight of your legs between the hands and the shoulders. Build up strength in the upper lower back and give space to your chest and shoulder muscles.A slight bending of the legs sees to it that the back remains straight and that the dynamism from the sacrum and the hip is maintained.Wait until your shoulders start to relax more. Try to increase the right dynamism through the angle of the legs and via the hands.
  1. From shoulder stand, exhale and bend from the hips, slowly lower your toes to the floor above and beyond your head. Try to keep your torso perpendicular to the floor and your legs fully extended.
  2. With your toes on the floor, lift your thighs and tailbone toward the ceiling and draw your inner groins deep into the pelvis. Draw your chin away from your sternum.
  3. You can continue to press your hands against the back torso, pushing the back up toward the ceiling as you press the backs of the upper arms down, onto your support. Or you can release your hands away from your back and stretch the arms out behind you on the floor, opposite the legs. Clasp the hands and press the arms actively down on the support as you lift the thighs toward the ceiling.
  4. Hold this position for 1 to 5 minutes. Then exhale and lift back into a shoulder stand.  Roll down onto your back on an exhalation.
  1. From shoulder stand, fold both legs in the knees, then the waist.  Press the thighs against the stomach.
  2. Contract and expands the anus muscles while continue to breath normally.
  3. Hold this position for 1 to 5 minutes.  Exhale and lift back into a shoulder stand.  Roll down onto your back on an exhalation.
THUNDERBOLT ATTITUDE
  1. Sit erect in either Padmasana or Sidhasana so that the spine is straight.
  2. Inhale slowly, focusing on the muscles near the pubic bone.
  3. With the air retained, contract the abdomen and pull it towards the spine.
  4. Now gradually contract and release
  5. When you start feeling that you cannot retain the breath, gradually exhale with release of the muscle and release the abdomen also.

KHANDASANA (Advanced Yogis)

  1. Sit on the floor with the legs stretched straight in front. Bend the knees, widen the thighs, bring the feet towards the trunk until the heels are close to the perineum and keep the knees on the floor. The position is similar to Baddhakonasana.

  2. Hold the right foot with the right palm and the left foot with the left palm.

  3. With the help of the hands, draw the feet up towards the trunk, invert the ankle, pull the knees and thighs, and place the heels and the outer sides of the feet against the navel and chest. To start with the feet are likely to slip down. Practice the pose for a few weeks, holding the feet firmly against the chest.

  4. Release the hands, and either stretch the arms straight and rest the back of the hands on the knees or join the palms in front of the chest. Keep the back erect and stay I n the pose for about 30 seconds with deep breathing.

  5. Advanced pupils may raise the hands, palms together, above the head. Then try to join the palms behind the back and balance: this is the most difficult part of the asana.

  6. Hold the feet with the hands, lower them to the floor and rest.

  7. As the pelvic and other joints of the legs are rotated it takes a long time to master the pose.