Archive for March, 2017

Boosting Your Brain Power

The old theory that DNA could not be changed and that you would be stuck with what you were born with has now been disproved. Researchers found that your DNA actually changes continuously based on your experiences, emotions, and environment.

Our views of the brain have also altered in a similar way as our views of DNA. Science has now provided more and more evidence that your brain is malleable and adapts continuously in response to your lifestyle, physiology, and environment. This concept is called neuroplasticity or brain plasticity, meaning you are literally reforming your brain with each passing day. Your brain possesses the remarkable ability to reorganize pathways, create new connections, as well as neurons (nerve cells) throughout your entire lifetime.

For example, your brain has the ability to move functions from a damaged area to undamaged areas. It also has the ability to change its physical structure as a result of learning. When you acquire a new skill, the more you focus and practice it, the better you become. This is the result of new neural pathways that form in response to your learning efforts.

In the meantime, your brain also undergoes “synaptic pruning”, the elimination of pathways that you no longer use. This phenomenon even applies to emotional states. For instance, if you have a history of anxiety, your neural pathways will become wired for anxiety. However, if you develop tools to feel calm, relaxed, and peaceful, those anxiety pathways will be pruned away from lack of activity.

Consequently, you can see that your brain’s plasticity is highly affected by your way of life. The foods you eat, how much physical activity you have, your emotional states, and sleep patterns all have an influence over how your brain functions. Therefore, there is much that you can do to preserve or even boost your brain power. The following are key factors that will greatly affect your brain’s performance:

1. Link Between Gut Inflammation And Brain Inflammation

The fundamental mechanism that underlies chronic diseases, including the ones related to the brain like autism, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, depression, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s, is the process of inflammation. Current science is strongly supporting that this process of inflammation actually begins in the gastrointestinal tract, which subsequently spreads to affect the brain.

What are the instigators behind gut inflammation? To the surprise of many, it is predominantly dietary –

The mistake of eating too many carbs resulting in chronic high blood sugar levels. Blood sugar elevation raises the binding of glucose to protein. This process, known as glycation profoundly increases the amount of inflammation in the body.
Opting for a low-fat diet, eating the wrong types of processed, rancid fats, or too few healthy fats.
Insufficient intake of antioxidants, which are mostly found in fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Consuming too much foods loaded with irritants and toxins, such as chemicals, preservatives, pesticides, GMOs, and heavy metals.
Having undiagnosed sensitivity to gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley) and other foods such as dairy, eggs, and corn.
Candida yeast overgrowth, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and intestinal parasites all trigger the immune response and lead to gut inflammation.
Inflammation is the body’s natural defense against something it believes to be potentially harmful. For instance, if you sprain your ankle, the body will sense some kind of stress going on. The natural response is to create swelling and pain to reduce movement and promote healing. These are the hallmarks of the inflammatory process; in small doses, it is not a negative thing.

It only turns bad when inflammation gets out of control and becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation is typically low-grade, silent, and produce no symptoms. When the body is constantly under assault, the inflammation response stays on and it spreads to every part of the body through the bloodstream. The brain is particularly susceptible as it is also connected to the gut via the vagus nerve.

Unchecked inflammation results in the production of a variety of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines which are toxic to the cells. The cytokines travel throughout the body causing oxidative stress, leading to a reduction of cellular function and even cellular destruction, and resulting in actual loss of function in the body. Studies using new imaging technology showed dramatic elevation of inflammatory cytokines in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and individuals with other brain disorders. Hence, to prevent brain inflammation, the foremost is to maintain a healthy gut.

2. Foods That Feed The Gut And The Brain

The reason why inflammation is so rampant in western civilization is the modern diet. It is high in foods that provoke inflammation, such as refined flour, excess sugar, oxidized or rancid fats, trans fats, plus a wide range of chemicals and preservatives. And it is low in foods that reduce inflammation, like long-chain omega-3 fats, fermented foods, and fermentable fiber.

The following are some foods that are particularly beneficial to the gut and the brain:

Avocados
Beets
Blueberries
Bone broth (used for healing the gut lining damaged by inflammation)
Broccoli
Coconut oil (used as an alternative fuel for the brain, other than glucose)
Celery
Chocolate, dark only
Egg Yolks
Fermented foods (rich in beneficial bacteria to keep the gut healthy, e.g. kimchee, sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, yogurt, and fermented drinks like kefir and kombucha)
Fermentable fiber (used as food for the good gut bacteria, e.g. asparagus, artichokes, garlic, jicama leeks, and onions)
Olive oil, extra virgin
Green, leafy vegetables
Rosemary (anti-inflammatory)
Wild caught Alaskan salmon
Sardines
Turmeric (anti-inflammatory)
3. Exercise To Reduce Inflammation

While bouts of exercise tend to promote acute inflammation, when done regularly over the long term, it actually decreases chronic inflammation. The oxidative stress from the exercise forces your body to build up your antioxidant defenses. This is indicated in studies showing extended exercise programs help reduce inflammatory markers, such as insulin resistance (a risk factor for diabetes) and high sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (an indicator of cardiovascular disease).

However, some people tend to over exercise and it is extremely important to allow for sufficient recovery, especially when doing High Intensity Interval Training (repeated sprints interspersed by recovery). If you over-train, as in marathons, you may do more harm than good since your body needs to recuperate from the damage (acute inflammation) incurred during your workout.

The average American adult spends about 10 hours each day sitting. Research shows that this level of inactivity cannot even be counteracted with a 60-minute workout at the end of each day. So, what do you do if you have a desk job?

Know that the body needs near-continuous movement throughout the day. At the bare minimum, you should get out of the chair every 50 minutes or so and walk around.
One way to increase activity is to simply walk more. It is recommended that you aim for 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day. A fitness tracker will be a useful tool to help you meet your daily goal.
4. Lack Of Sleep Impairs Brain Function

Sleep deprivation is really bad for brain function. Many studies show that sleep loss impairs various cognitive functions and behavior, including arousal, attention, cognitive speed, memory, emotional intelligence, and decision making.

Using brain imaging technology, like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), scientists compared the brain of someone who was sleep-deprived to the brain of someone who had slept normally. They found reduced metabolism and blood flow in multiple brain regions which indicated impaired cognitive function and behavior.

Several nights of poor sleep or one night of no sleep will start to disrupt your hormonal balance. According to a study from Stanford University, your body’s ghrelin levels, which stimulate feelings of hunger, can jump nearly 15 percent. It also lowers your levels of leptin, a hormone that regulates energy balance, which explains why you tend to feel sluggish when you are sleep-deprived.

Your brain also struggles to curate and sort new memories. You are able to absorb new information but your brain has problems accessing that information and putting it to good use. You may feel distracted, while your reaction time plummets. This makes tasks like driving more difficult and dangerous.

A CDC survey shows that half of Americans (48%) do not get enough sleep. So if you want your brain to stay at tip-top shape, you need to place sleep high on your priority list. In the event that you just cannot get enough nocturnal sleep, a 30-minute nap at lunch time is still helpful although it cannot fully eliminate the negative consequences of sleep deprivation.

5. Vitamin D May Save Your Brain

Much has been learned about the health benefits of vitamin D over the past decade. While it has long been recognized that vitamin D supports strong and healthy bones, its role in brain-related disorders is becoming increasingly evident.

A new study that collaborated multiple highly respected institutions around the world found a profound correlation of low vitamin D level and increased risk of developing dementia. Even having a moderate deficiency of vitamin D was associated with a 53% increased risk of dementia. Those who were severely deficient had a 122% increased risk!

Many people are not aware that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased inflammation. There are about 30,000 genes in the body, and vitamin D affects nearly 3,000 of them. Your brain has vitamin D receptors too. Therefore, unless you get 20 minutes of sun exposure daily (without using sunscreen on face, arms, and legs), you may want to consider supplementation.

Most people need around 5,000 I.U. a day to reach the optimal level of 50-70 ng/ml as determined by a blood test. If you supplement, opt for vitamin D3, which is the natural form, and take it with vitamin K2, with at least 100 mcg of menaquinone-7 (MK-7). The combination of D3 and K2 will make sure that calcium is deposited in the bones instead of the arteries.

6. Think Positive And Stimulate Your Brain

Stress and anxiety kill existing brain neurons and stop new neurons from being created. Research has shown that positive thinking speeds up the formation of cells and dramatically reduces stress and anxiety. Hence, catch yourself when your negative thoughts surface, discard them, and replace them with positive ones.

When you learn or do new things, new neural pathways are developed. As a result, you want to stimulate your brain on a continuous basis. Remember the phrase – use it or lose it?

Carol Chuang is a Certified Nutrition Specialist and a Metabolic Typing Advisor. She has a Masters degree in Nutrition and is the founder of CC Health Counseling, LLC. Her passion in life is to stay healthy and to help others become healthy. She believes that a key ingredient to optimal health is to eat a diet that is right for one’s specific body type. Eating organic or eating healthy is not enough to guarantee good health. The truth is that there is no one diet that is right for everyone. Our metabolisms are different, so should our diets. Carol specializes in Metabolic Typing, helping her clients find the right diet for their Metabolic Type.

Brainstorming To Start A Small Business – Questions To Answer

Hello readers and potential future entrepreneurs. I understand the feeling; desire to create, operate, and succeed. Throughout my professional career, I have learned that there are numerous steps that must be taken in order to organize opening and operating a small business. I have put together a few questions which aspiring entrepreneurs should, at the very least, consider reading over. There are many questions that may arise with opening a small business, and I will address a few of those questions briefly in the following list of questions one may ask while brainstorming.

What type of business do you want to open? There are various business endeavors an entrepreneur could involve themselves in. It all comes down to what knowledge one has, or is willing to obtain. Are you a restaurateur? Repairman? Plumber? Home health / assistance? Do you have experience managing or working at such establishments? Do you need formal education from an institution? Will you work as a sole proprietor, or a partner / member? Research limited liability corporations (LLCs) in addition to sole proprietorships and partnerships. S corporations are another option, but they are for business with stockholders, and may not be right for your particular business application.

What kinds of licensing and/or permits are required? Each business will have different licensing requirements; it all comes down to what the entrepreneur ultimately chooses to do. A restaurant would need food safety licensing in addition to basic business licensing, and if alcohol is on the menu – there is another permit the entrepreneur would need to legally sell alcohol on the premises. Repair oriented businesses would need at least the business license to repair, but if they sell parts as well, they would need to have “retail” listed on their business license in addition to “repair”. Health care services require at least formal education and licensing as an LPN, RN, or one of several other health care related licenses. Be sure to check your state’s laws to ensure what is necessary to operate your type of business.

What training / education / certifications are required to legally run this business? We touched upon this in licensing / permits, however there is much more involved than the required licensing. For example, one cannot operate a vehicle collision repair business without the knowledge of performing those types of repairs. There are schools that can be attended to learn what must be learned to effectively operate nearly any kind of business. However, there are also businesses where experience is enough to operate effectively without needing any formal education (lawn care, house cleaning just to name a couple). Also, there are certifications for training in nearly, if not all, care industries.

Does this business require a storefront? Retail establishments will undoubtedly need a storefront. Bear in mind, retail business will have a much larger initial investment than a service based operation. That initial investment is inventory. Some service businesses may not need a storefront to operate, as much of the service performed could very well be on-site. If a storefront is necessary, be sure to consider delivery or on-site service if it is feasible for your operation.

How much will it cost? This number will vary wildly based on the type and size of business you are planning. For smaller businesses, this number could be as low as $200 for a license and/or permit, or as high as a million dollars or more. Obviously, inventory is very expensive, and so are specialized tools for performing extremely precise work. Calculate the expected opening and operating expenses. Determine what size storefront is needed (if applicable), and research local commercial realty properties, locations, and prices. It is absolutely cheaper to rent in the short-term, although the thought of owning property that is paid off is very tempting. Prices on most things will vary based on your location. Employees are another cost, if your business warrants employees. When employees come into the equation as opposed to sole proprietors or partnerships, one must add extra insurance for the business (unemployment insurance comes to mind). Check with your selected insurance company for which types of additional coverage are required, and if offering health insurance can be done reasonably. Those employees will also need to have taxes paid on their wages – part from the employee’s paycheck and part from the company. Another potential cost is repayment of loans, if you don’t already have the capital needed to open your business. Basic operating expenses are not to be forgotten, as heating/cooling, Internet connectivity, and utilities will be regular expenditures for any storefront. On-site service operations cost very little when compared to a physical storefront.

How can an individual pay for this? If you do not have the funds available, which is very common, applying for loans is a way to attain funding. Be sure to have a business plan with projected expenses and revenues. There are other ways to gain funds for a business. Look into grants. While they are not very common, they are a potential source for assistance nonetheless. If many people believe in your dream, one could possibly acquire donations from those individuals.

What about accounting? Bookkeeping is a necessity – research which accounting/bookkeeping software would work best for the type of business you are planning. Point-of-sale (POS) systems are needed for “ringing up” and selling inventory or goods to the customer. POS systems keep track of sales, sales taxes, employee labor dollars spent, and many other items. If you are apt at creating spreadsheets, you may be able to keep track of your own inventory depending on your particular business model.

I hope this brief listing of questions and potential answers has been of assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs. Although there are countless successful entrepreneurs who have little or no formal education in business, it is never a bad idea to research courses regarding administration and management. Be sure to take a look at the Small Business Administration’s website at http://www.SBA.gov for more helpful information.

The author, Johnathan Baker, is an educated entrepreneur, with over ten years of experience in small business administration and management. Opening any type of business is no simple task, as many things must be considered. With experience opening, operating, and managing small businesses, the author aims to help aspiring entrepreneurs in realizing their dreams. While the questions are not all inclusive, they are, at the very least, a good bit of information to consider throughout the beginning processes of opening a small business. Take the information provided and begin or continue working on your business plan on the road to entrepreneurship.

Preparing Your Car for Winter

The Canadian winter season can considerably influence driving conditions. In situations like this, drivers are more prone to accidents. It’s critical to focus on cautious driving to protect yourself and keep your family. Safe driving also helps minimize your insurance rates while reducing wear and tear on your vehicle.

Here are a few checks that you can perform to ensure that you, your family and your vehicle remain safe over the winter months:

Take your auto in for a tune up before the first snow fall. Having the peace of mind of a well maintained vehicle all year is an excellent idea, but it’s particularly essential during the winter when driving conditions are impaired.

Ensure you have the right oil for your vehicle. In general, thinner oil like 5W30 works better in cold winter conditions than 10W30 or 10W40, which are thicker. Thinner oils circulate easier, which makes lubrication of your engine easier in cold temperatures. To find the right oil for your specific vehicle, check your owner’s manual.

Keep your gas tank full. A full gas tank lowers the chances of running out of gas and being stranded. In addition, it brings down the possibility that your gas lines will freeze up because of condensation or water vapor buildup in extremely icy climates.

Ensure your battery is in great condition. Being stuck in remote areas and being unable to start your car is dangerous. Check that your battery’s connections are corrosion free and for batteries older than 3 years, consider testing its capacity to hold a charge.

Ensure you keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. A well thought out kit can be a lifeline in the event that you are stranded in the middle of nowhere, or on a highway. A high-quality winter kit for your car should include:
No less than one warm blanket.
A flashlight.
A shovel, in case you need to dig out of deep snow.
Additional warm garments, including boots, gloves and caps.
A well stocked first aid kit.
A bag of salt or sand to give you extra traction if you get stuck.
Food and drinking water. Foods with high sugar content are excellent choices.
Jumper cables.
A flare.
Spare windshield wipers.
Extra windshield washer fluid.

Test your tire pressure. Because of the colder air, your tire pressure tends to drop a small amount in the winter. Keeping your tires at the maker’s prescribed pressure makes your vehicle simpler to handle, making you more secure on the road and will even improve fuel economy which will save you money!

Check that your anti-freeze mixture is correct. Your coolant should have a 50-50 mix of anti-freeze and water. If you’re uncertain, you can purchase a reasonably priced anti-freeze analyzer at most automotive part stores. Keep your anti-freeze levels above 50% to prevent leaving your engine susceptible to freezing up.

Think about snow tires. If you tend to get heavy snowfall in your area, it might be worth getting snow tires for your vehicle throughout the winter months. The deeper grooves on snow tires provide substantially more traction on snow covered surfaces, which makes them able to stop your vehicle up to 40% more rapidly than all season tires. As well, snow tires are constructed with a specific type of rubber which lets them to preserve their flexibility even in coldest winter conditions.

Consider replacing your windshield wipers if they are not in good condition. Defective windshield wipers can essentially debilitate your capacity to see in wet and icy climate conditions. If your windshield wipers are not making good contact with the windshield and are not clearing it properly, they should be replaced.

Check your brakes. On the off chance that it’s been over six months since your last brake check, have them checked again before the winter driving season. With the dangerous conditions that winter brings, having the capacity to stop quickly is much more critical than in warmer climates.

Performing these checks before the ice and snow can keep your vehicle running safely and easily all winter season. This will give you one less thing to stress over when you’re driving and help to keep your auto insurance premiums low.

How Using Social Media Can Affect Your MLM Business

Almost everyone has some form of social media whether it be for business or fun, people can pretty much find anyone they want to find and check them out. In this article, you are going to learn how using social media can affect your MLM business.

Social media can be a great asset to you and help you attract more team members and customers or social media can make people run from you like you have a disease. Before you post something on social media, just remember that unless you have a certain privacy setting on your content, anyone will be able to see it. The truth is that if you post it on the internet, people that you might not want to see it can probably get to it anyway.

When you are serious about building an MLM business, you have to run a great media company. You need to be able to show people who you are in a good light so they will be proud to work with you. Would you partner in business with someone if you weren’t proud to work with them? Probably not.

Clean It Up

I can’t tell you how many times I go to people’s social page just to find out that I cannot find one picture of them on their timeline. Many times their profile picture is a dog, cat or one of their kids. Since I have no idea who this person is or why they want to be friends, I just ignore the invite.

If you want to have people accept your friend requests or request to be friends with you then you want to have a clean social profile so that people know what who is behind the profile.

Controversy

If you want to build a strong social presence then you don’t want to be arguing with people back and forth over controversial topics. Save that for your close friends because no one wins an internet back and forth.

Now you know how social media can affect your MLM business. I hope you clean it up and are using social media in a way that can help your business and not hurt your business.

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