Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Memory; remember when you had one?

Remember our last post, which was also our first post? Well that first post won't be our last, and here's the proof, yes I've actually remembered to write another one . . . you poor souls you! What are we going to discuss today......? Oh yes, how could I forget . . .

Speaking of memory, recently I discovered that a study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition had found that spikes in blood sugar can interfere with your short term memory. This may well surprise a few people, it did me, although I can't quite recall why? Never mind, let's move on, to start with I would like to take a quick look at:

How Blood Glucose Works

In simple terms, for the sake of our health, blood-glucose levels need to remain within certain levels. The body regulates these blood sugar levels using two mechanisms: hunger and insulin.

When blood-glucose levels fall, the brain causes us to feel hungry. Result? We eat food that is converted into glucose and our blood sugar levels rise. If we don't eat and blood-glucose levels fall too low, we trigger the condition known as hypoglycemia.

When our blood-glucose levels rise, the brain tells our pancreas to release insulin. The result? The insulin helps to disperse the glucose and our blood sugar levels fall. Without insulin to regulate a rise in blood-glucose, the amount of sugar in our bloodstream can become toxic, triggering the condition known as hyperglycemia.

Effect of Carbohydrate Foods on Blood Glucose Levels

When carbs are eaten and digested, they are converted to glucose and enter the bloodstream where they raise blood-glucose levels. How fast these carbs raise blood-sugar levels depends on their glycemic index value.

Individual carb-containing foods or (more commonly) carb-containing meals with a high glycemic index value cause a "spike" in blood-glucose levels. Meaning, our blood-sugar rises very fast, triggering an equally rapid response from the pancreatic gland which pumps out enough insulin to deal with the excess blood sugar. Result? Within an hour or so, the large secretion of insulin has dispersed all the excess blood glucose and then some. So we feel hungry again!!

Individual carb-containing foods or carb-containing meals with a low glycemic index value raise blood-glucose levels in a slower more sustained manner. So the pancreas responds by releasing a more moderate amount of insulin. Result? Hunger is kept at bay and we feel satisfied for longer.

Carbs and Blood Glucose Levels - Bottom Line

Not all carbohydrates cause a "spike" or rapid rise in blood sugar. Only carbs with a high glycemic value do this. Some diet "experts" imply that all carbs are bad for our blood-sugar levels. This is not proven to be true. Indeed, even the effect of higher glycemic index carbs can be mitigated by combining them with lower glycemic value foods.

Ready To Have Your Nutritional Cake And Eat It?

Obviously, natural sugars are best. The real problem nutritionally relates to all the unnatural sweet foods, drinks and those over refined carbs that the westernized world is so fond of. The good news is that there are some naturally sweet foods that are in fact very good for the memory. There is even a top ten chart of memory foods; I would tell you what they are, but I can't remem . . .

Sorry, I know, these memory puns are getting to be old hat now. Here is some more old hat for you to remember, which is also proof that Eskimo's have memory problems as much as we do:

Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, but when they lit a fire in the craft it sank.
This proves once and for all that you can't have your kayak and heat it, too.

This also proves that Eskimo's have forgotten what kayak's are made of, and that fire will, surprisingly, feed on it; I don't hold out much hope for their continued survival :-(

Back to the serious stuff, here are ten foods that may (sorry, I have to use the word may not will ;-) improve your memory, if you can remember to eat them. You might notice that many of the foods on this list are red or purple in color. That's because the phytochemical that colours them, anthocyanin, is the same phytochemical that's good for your brain.

The top ten memory foods are blueberries, apples, spinach, onions, broccoli, beetroot, grapes, cherries, aubergine and rosemary.

Let's you and I take a quick look at just one of these vital food types; blueberries.

Focus On Blueberries:

Blueberries have been shown in numerous studies to do wonderful things for memory and the brain in general. Blueberries are rich in Vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene as well as rich in the minerals potassium, manganese, magnesium. They are very high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. But this is just the tip of the nutritional iceberg, for recent studies tell us that of all fresh fruits and vegetables, blueberries provide the most health-protecting antioxidants, those valuable elements which prevent cancer-causing cell damage and may limit the changes wrought by age related diseases. Basically, blueberries are a vital food source, best we consume them, yes?

It has been said that we are what we eat, but if we are what we eat, then wouldn't we be what we drink as well? Our bodies are 60% water, and our brain is about 75% water, so it's obvious that water can impact our health. While there is no research to show that drinking water improves our memory, it has been shown that even a small amount of dehydration leads to confusion and problems with memory. In other words, don't wait to drink.

I start the day with a smoothie, which is like consuming a meal in a drink, and I'm going to share with you my favourite recipe, which includes two of the top ten memory foods, here goes:

Take one large banana, a good fist full of blueberries, a few grapes, a couple of table spoons of natural yogurt and add some natural fruit juice to the mix; cranberry, blueberry or grape are my preferred choice. Now, the grapes are optional, I happen to love them, you would never know, right? But some people find that the grape peel makes the smoothie less smooth, therefore choosing to leave grapes out. This is one tasty, energising recipe, so remember to store it to memory . . . and remember to store the ingredients! Will it produce a spike in your blood sugar levels? Sorry, I have absolutely no memory of that ever happening to me . . .

. . . I found my thrill on blueberry hill . . .

Warning: This is a blue video, it's fruity in the extreme, you should not watch it if you are happy to remain ignorant of the health benefits attributed to Blueberry Hill on the life of Louise Armstrong, who was a real smoothie if ever there was one! No rats were harmed in the making of this video, although they may well have been well fed.

Well there you go, that's another fruity post you've consumed, I hope it was delicious enough for you, and that you'll return for another serving of the fruit of Life in the near future.


PS. Oh yes, remember in our last post, which was not our last post because you've just been served a second helping, you were asked to consume 300 calories of humoUr, laughter and smiling each and every day? Well now you can add to that a minimum of half a cup, up to a whole cup, of blueberries each and every day of your life from now on; and don't you forget to remember to do that smooth(ie)ly now ;-)

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

How Funny Is Humour? Let's take a look at its fruit . . .

Hello Dear Reader,

 Ahhh, our first fruit based post together.There are many subjects we could begin with here, but we'll begin with just one, the number one issue in many people's lives, or so it seems; health.

Yawnnn, health, why health? I've chosen health for one good reason. Without sound health you're either dead or dieing, and neither, in my experience of life and living, are particularly enticing. OK, I know, none of us can escape death, and let's face it, those who do manage to defy the agent of death will face Grim Reaper-cussions (please don't groan so loudly,  if you do, well, I promise the puns will get worse, much worse ;-)

Hey, look, I don't mean to take the mickey about death, after all, it's no laughing matter, and on a more serious note, I'm no stranger to death myself.....

....well, not myself exactly, I'm still here writing this, but my mother and father are no longer with us (no, they've not gone away on holiday!), and many other wonderful people whom I love and cherish have also met with the reaper of souls....

....but life, yes life in its totality, still goes on.

So, tell me, are you going to die? By the way, the answer is 'Yes', it's simply a matter of when. Well then, you might as well die healthy!

Well there's no escape is there, physical death is on its way, but in the mean time why not enjoy life to the max? And don't answer that by saying its all pointless, that life is meaningless.....

....life is good, if you don't believe me just ask someone to put a pillow over your face for a couple of minutes and see how you react to that! You get my point? I take it that you do. So, breathe easy now, and let's you and I talk about enjoying the life we have here and now.

There is no healthier way to die than through natural causes, having lived a good old life. We only get 70-80 years on average, if we're lucky, and so we could do worse than making sure we eat good wholesome food and drink good wholesome drinks . . . even if we do enjoy a glass or two of wine once in a while.


Don't you just love them? I apologize if you're one of those folk who are allergic to them but many people do love nuts, I'm one of them, and in another post I'll be writing about nuts aplenty, but today we'll chat about the amazing health benefits of . . . humour and laughter!

Just how funny is humour? Well on a good day it can be very funny, on a bad day it can be very unfunny, and on an average day it can end up being pretty average. But never forget, it's you who is having the good, bad or just plain average day, not the joke. By the way, did you know that some people are as allergic to jokes as others are to nuts? I know, how nuts is that?

Look, if you're not getting the joke, well it isn't the jokes fault, no, it's yours! And always remember, one man's joke is often at another's expense, which is probably why you don't get it! So, if you aren't finding humour to be very funny, the best thing you can do is take a diversion off of the sense of humour by-pass! There are other routes you can take, and the good news is that you get to choose them! That reminds me, I have a question for you . . .

When was the wheel invented?
When someone eventually got a round to it.

You see, that was designed to make you laugh, snicker or groan, yes . . . groan. Adults will often groan at what is perceived as obvious forms of humour. Why? Because they have switched off. Children love this type of obvious humour and can laugh at it innocently.  Adults, on the other hand, are more likely to have a twinge of envy, and "why didn't I think of that?". It is this envy in adults that subconsciously causes them to groan. As time goes on, it can only be hoped that we adults will eventually learn to react more like a child and less like a groan-up!

Through observation it's easy to see that children love all forms of obvious humour, puns are a good example. They laugh because they are still innocent beings. They have not had their wonderful sense of humour obliterated through the conditioning process.

Also, children laugh much more often than adults do. On average the adult will only laugh ten times a day, but a child laughs about three hundred times a day. Yes, 300 laughs a day, that's how serious they are about not taking life too seriously; perhaps we adults could learn something from them, what do you think?

Let's give it a try, look, here are the main health benefits of re-discovering your sense of humour and learning to laugh at life once more:

Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Right, so we've looked at humour and laughter, what about smiling? Well smiling is almost as good, it's a very powerful way to live your life. You'll have noticed that serious people very rarely smile, why? Well they haven't got the time, they have so many things to worry about; until the doctor tells them they have six months to live, and then all their other worries miraculously ebb away . . .
. . . funny that, isn't it?

I am a smiler, I love the company of those who smile and reflect the simple joy of being, how about you? Who's company do you most enjoy keeping, those people who are deadly serious with no sense of humour, or someone who is relaxed, smiles and makes light of problems by looking for win-win solutions?

The answer was pretty obvious wasn't it, seriously now ;-)

OK, I'm going to suggest that you look for humour in your life. Instead of complaining about life's frustrations, try to laugh about them. If something is so frustrating or depressing it's ridiculous, realize that you could 'look back on it and laugh.' Think of how it will sound as a story you could tell to your friends, and then see if you can laugh about it now. With this approach, you may also find yourself being more lighthearted and silly, giving yourself and those around you more to smile or laugh about. Approach life in a more mirthful way and you'll find you're less stressed about negative events, and you'll achieve the health benefits of laughter.

There you go, lots of health benefits for you and ways for you to eventually die with a smile on your face having lived a good old life, yes? Humour, laughter and smiling are three of the fruits of life. You should make sure that you consume 300 calories of laughter a day, like our children do, the exercise you'll get from it will shed pounds of stress from your life and remove a great weight off of your shoulders in the process.

WARNING: In the video below there are people who are laughing and smiling, please don't watch it if you are of a serious disposition or if you are happy to remain unhappy till death do us part!

It's been great having you visit this blog, please make a comment, and if you'll follow mine, I promise to follow yours. All the best for now,


PS. You see, funny fruit is the best fruit of all, why? Because the fruit of laughter really is the best medicine, and it's almost herbal, isn't it?