8 ways a detox can boost your brain power 0 1225

Many individuals regularly implement detoxes to help them lose weight, improve endurance, rid the body of harmful toxins, and to boost athletic and physical performance. It’s no secret that these detox programs can greatly benefit and improve physical health when executed properly, but the mental health and cognitive performance benefits of doing a detox go largely unnoticed.

Despite the lack of attention these mental health and cognitive performance benefits receive, they can be just as significant, if not more so, than the physical benefits of detoxing.

In recent years, trends show a steady rise in mental health incidences including anxiety disorders, eating disorders, depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. With the help of a proper detox, the risk of being diagnosed with mental illnesses can be reduced significantly, not to mention individuals report a noticeable improvement in brain functioning as shown in their productivity and performance. Furthermore, detoxing can drastically boost mood and disposition, which could have a positive impact on one’s self-image and interpersonal relationships as well.

Listed below are 8 evidence-based ways a detox program can help boost brain power and bolster mental health:

1. A detox can promote the growth of new brain cells.

Since most detox diets are naturally low in calories, implementing a detox may help boost Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This is a chemical signal that’s released in the brain and promotes the growth of new cells. (1)

As a result, it may lead to a number of mental health benefits which are discussed in further detail below. These include improved brain health and functioning, as well as helping stave off mental illnesses. Those who may be wondering how they can obtain mental benefits from a detox should further review more detailed studies on BDNF. (2)

2. A detox can help boost focus and improve attention span.

Another benefit one can attain from slightly restricting calories during a detox is the increase in focus. This is thought to come from a mechanism known as “food-seeking behavior.”

The mechanism involved has to do with a rise in hormones like dopamine, adrenaline, and cortisol, which boost focus and reduce distractions. (3) Along with helping you block out distractions, a detox can also help keep your mind focused on tasks. This can help boost productivity in an academic setting or in the workplace, as well as helping to accomplish tasks at home that require efficiency and critical thinking. Additionally, it also may help improve focus and intensity during sports and other physical activities.

Also, certain supplements called nootropics help boost brain function even further by promoting increased blood circulation, stimulation of the central nervous system, and stimulating new pathways in the brain for creativity.

3. A detox can help promote blood flow to the brain.

Another indicator that detox diets can boost brain power is through the PGC-1-alpha (Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha). This multi-faceted signal is used by the body to assist in a wide range of body functions including blood flow to the brain. (4) Improved blood circulation ensures that the different body systems are well-supplied with nutrients and oxygen, which can promote healthy body functioning.

This effect, along with the increase in chemical signals for cell growth, means a detox may be very beneficial to cognitive health.

4. A detox can help boost mood and feelings of well-being.

The perks mentioned above will do more than just improve brain function. It can also help to improve mood and feelings of well-being. The high level of vitamins and minerals consumed in certain detox therapies can boost mood and feelings of well-being through the production of serotonin and dopamine. (5)

A diet that is filled with processed foods, refined sugar, and other food-like products may cause mood swings, feelings of lethargy, energy crashes, and other unpleasant symptoms that may or may not be attributed to malnutrition. With detoxes, these nutrient deficiencies are addressed in an effort to promote overall healthy body function.

5. A detox can help improve cognitive function and problem-solving skills.

This should come as no surprise, but the high nutrient content and lower calories that most detoxes entail can greatly improve cognitive function. This is due to the elimination of ‘brain fog’ caused by nutrient-deficient food, as well the increase in nutrient uptake from the detox itself. (6) Individuals report clearer thought processes and faster decision-making skills almost immediately after commencing a detox.

6. A detox can improve brain signaling.

Another well-known benefit to a detox is the increase in water intake and improved hydration. This can benefit more than your physical well-being, as greater hydration levels also lead to improved signaling in the brain. (7)

It goes without saying that water is important for all living things, and it’s especially true for living organisms that are made up of 90 percent water. In the human body, 73 percent of the heart and brain are made up of water, which is why dehydration has been shown to have a direct effect on cognitive performance.

7. A detox can help prevent mental illness.

Aside from boosting mood and feelings of well-being, assisting in the growth of new brain cells, and improving cognitive performance, a detox can also help prevent mental illness. While the promotion of brain matter growth can help prevent illnesses like depression or bipolar disorder from developing, the increase in nutrients can help reduce anger and may help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. (8) With the rise in incidences of these mental illnesses in recent years, it’s vital to undergo a detox from time to time to mitigate or even eliminate any potential risks.

8. A detox can help prevent cell breakdown.

A detox diet can help reduce inflammation in the body. (9) This helps to prevent cell breakdown and promotes the proliferation of healthy cells, which can then lead to better overall health. This is true for all the body’s cells, including those in the brain. Implementing a regular detox may not only help promote the growth of new brain cells, but it also helps to protect the cells you already have, which can preserve and further boost brain function.

 

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What are nootropics? 0 70455

Nootropics, according to Corneliu E. Giurgea, the father of nootropics, are drugs that simultaneously enhance learning and memory, protect the brain, increase the efficacy of brain-related control mechanisms, should lack the pharmacologic structure of psychotropic drugs, and be devoid of side effects. Over time, the description has been expanded to include other non-drug substances.

Whether or not drugs are involved, the idea of nootropics is that they boost mental capacity, allowing you to accomplish goals that would be quite strenuous without them. They are used by various individuals, ranging from students wanting to get more studying done or turning in a paper on time, to engineers trying to figure out a problem.

What are nootropics made of?

Nootropics are traditionally made of naturally-occurring substances like ginseng, or synthetic substances in the form of chemicals not uncommon in drugs (like L-Theanine). Even though Corneliu Giurgea’s description referred to drugs, nootropics have evolved to include non-synthetic substances that can give similar outputs. Nootropics are sometimes called “smart drugs”.

Various nootropics

The large range of nootropics make it difficult to describe them with a blanket sentence other than “they boost brain performance”. So, instead of a generalization, here is a short list of popular nootropics, as well as their specific actions, and possible side effects.

1. Caffeine: Caffeine is without-a-doubt the most popular nootropic, being present in most nootropic substances available on the market. It’s effective in wakefulness, improved concentration, increased motivation, alertness, and focus.

The side effects of caffeine are as well-known as its usefulness. Excessive consumption of caffeine causes insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, tachycardia (elevated heart rate), and even muscle tremors.

2. L-Theanine: Unlike Guarana, L-Theanine is an amino acid that can be found in many tea leaves and herbs. It’s known to aid stress relief and reduce anxiety. Even though is also taken to increase focus and attention, stress relief is its most evidence-based function.

Its side effects may include nausea and irritability.

3. CPD Choline: CPD Choline is naturally-occurring in humans and animals and is an intermediate substance in a common biochemical process that involves converting Choline to Phosphaatidylcholine. Studies show that CPD protects the brain, especially in times of low oxygen supply. In addition, it also increases alertness and consciousness.

Being a natural substance in the body, CPD has no negative effects, except when it is taken in excess, where it can cause stomachaches and diarrhea.

4. Modafinil: As far as performance-boosting drugs go, Modafinil tops the list, having been shown to increase fatigue resistance, improve mood, as well as increase motivation and vigilance. It really is a wonder drug, often rumored to be used by sleep-deprived doctors.

Its side effects are abuse-induced, which means you may suffer things like chronic headaches, if you use it all the time to fight fatigue, without getting enough sleep.

5. Guarana: Guarana, also called Guaranine, is a plant with well-researched and documented effects of improved mental focus and alertness. It is also taken for various other purposes from weight loss to exercise tolerance, but these have not been proven.

Being a naturally-occurring fruit, it does not have severe side effects. However, users have been known to experience insomnia and fatigue when taken in high doses.

6. Panax Ginseng: Certain herbs are sometimes assumed to have positive, even performance-enhancing effects. One of the most popular is Ginseng. Common in East Asia and North America, the plant does not have any nootropic effects backed by strong scientific evidence. However, it has been said to increase energy levels and activity.

Ginseng does not have any known side effects.

7.Ginkgo Biloba: Also a leaf extract, it is wildly known as a cognitive enhancer, with weak scientific evidence to support it.

8. Vitamin B12: The controversy surrounding vitamin B12 is that it may not be a nootropic, as it does not have any noticeable, quick-onset effects. It is considered more of supplement and nutritional requirement than a nootropic. However, it’s on this list because some people still consider it a smart drug.

Nootropic tolerance

Overuse of many nootropics can lead to your body building tolerance, and needing more and more of the substance to get the same effect. It’s a little like what happens with regular alcohol drinkers. They often need more and more alcohol to feel its effects.

Things to remember about nootropics

Many individuals have their definition of nootropics, thus making it a controversial topic. The situation is made worse by substances that are claimed to boost productivity but have not yet been proven. Amongst all these controversies, here are some points for you to keep in mind about nootropics:

  1. They are performance-boosting substances and are often used to get an extra edge.
  2. They should be free of side effects, and should have low toxicity.
  3. They contain naturally-occurring substances.
  4. They work by interacting with receptors in the brain.
  5. Even though they are supposed to be side effect free, some supposed nootropics do have side effects.
  6. Some substances considered nootropics work, and some don’t.
  7. The adverse effects of nootropics can sometimes be avoided by keeping dosage low and cycling between usage and abstinence.

5 Yoga moves to add to your daily stretching today 0 53386

Introduction

It’s no surprise that the practice of yoga has grown in popularity over the last couple of decades. It has several benefits like core strengthening and improved flexibility. However, yoga has several poses and positions that can get a little confusing when choosing what poses to do to achieve your goals. Whether you are just starting out, or are looking to raise the bar during your yoga, this is the post for you.

A brief history on the origin of yoga

Modern yoga as we know it is a combination of different poses and forms, evolved over centuries and modified by different practitioners. Take the first ever recorded instance of yoga, which dates as far back as the 2nd century which, although it was not clearly described as yoga, involved a sitting posture described to require a steady form and comfort. The form was assumed for meditation, not unlike what we have today. In about the 11th century, there was a description of a non-seated pose in which the practitioner balances on the hands. As the centuries passed, yoga became more evolved, and more adapted to modern cultures like ours.

Simple forms

Even though yoga has changed over the years, there are simple poses that have remained relatively constant through the ages, retaining their simplicity and form.

Here are 5 of those simple forms that can be incorporated into your daily routine

  1. Lotus Position: The lotus is one of the most fundamental positions in yoga, with a long history like we discussed. The lotus has a special position among all the stretches and positions not just because it is the oldest, but also because it is key to meditation, which is a big part of yoga.

To enter the sitting position:

  • Sit on the mat with your legs and your back straight
  • Fold your legs so that your feet now rest under your thigh as you relax and let your feet rest comfortably on the floor.
  1. Cow position: The cow position is also a relatively easy position to attain. It is especially good for stretching and relaxing the back muscles as it involves stretching the vertebrae (back bone) and the spinal muscles.

To perform the cow position,

  • Start by kneeling on all fours (hands directly beneath shoulders, and knees directly beneath the hips)
  • Breath in and turn your head upwards as if to look at the ceiling, forming an upward facing curve with your back (the hollow facing upwards)
  • Breath out and return to the neutral position
  • Repeat as necessary
  1. Child Position: The child pose is different from the cow position, only because it stretches the back in the opposite direction, as well as the neck, arms, and legs. It also tones and strengthens the core muscles, giving a mild general body stretch. The child pose is especially good in situations where you don’t have a lot of time during the session. It is a great pose for stretching a lot of areas at once.

To enter the child position:

  • Kneel on all fours like in the cow position
  • Lower your hips so your thighs touch your calves
  • Lean forward, and extend your arms so your elbow and hands touch the mat
  • Maintain the position for the desired length of time
  • Repeat
  1. Bridge pose: So named because of the way the body resembles a bridge when done correctly. The bridge position can be considered the opposite of the child’s pose because here, the back is active and extended, with the hips and knees flexed and bearing most of the body’s weight. The bridge is good for stretching the abdominal muscles and the thighs.

To enter the bridge position:

  • Lie flat on your back and bend your knees
  • With your bent knees, elevate your body so your buttocks and lower back lift off the mat
  • Bring your arms forward so they are positioned directly beneath your body
  • Be sure to keep your upper back and head on the mat during the pose
  • Hold for as long as necessary and repeat as desired
  • Repeat
  1. Locust Position: The locust position is an intermediate level position, because of the core strength it requires to execute. It is very similar to the “superman” in resistance training. While the superman is for strength building, the locust is for stretching and relaxation. It concentrates on the arms, legs and upper back.

To enter the locust position:

  • Lie on your chest with your arms and legs stretched out on the mat
  • Lift your legs from the hip off the mat, while simultaneously lifting your head, arms, and upper chest
  • Maintain the position for the desired length of time
  • Repeat

Incorporate these stretches and positions into your daily routine to increase strength, flexibility, and improve inner-peace. Let us know what you think!

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