Listening to Music can Help and Hinder Learning – Infographic

When I was younger I always had music playing no matter what I was doing. Now that I am an old man, I still love music, but I don’t play it when I am writing blog posts or doing things that require concentration.

It’s nice to know that it lowers blood pressure and reduces stress.

How about you?



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The Lighter Side of Weight Loss

I am no longer putting a number on these. If you are a new reader, I have done several of these before and you can find them by using the SEARCH function at the right. I have expanded the purview somewhat to include aging as I believe healthy eating is healthy aging.

As always, the laugh’s on me.





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Green Tea May Enhance Working Memory – Tufts

At the risk or repeating myself, I am committed to learning everything I can about my brain and keeping said brain functioning well into my senior years. At the age of 75 I consider myself to be there now.  Additionally, I am also a green tea drinker and I support your consuming it. At the end of this post I will list some links to connect with previous green tea posts.


A small clinical trial suggests that green tea could improve the connectivity between parts of the brain involved in tasks of “working memory.” You might think of working memory as the brain’s sticky notes, where bits of information are temporarily held for manipulation before forgetting or transferring to long-term memory.

Previous studies have linked green tea – especially a polyphenol compound found in green tea called EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) – to structural benefits against the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Green tea may also benefit neuronal plasticity – the brain’s ability to adapt to new inputs – and repair injuries to the brain’s neurons associated with aging.

Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Antioxidants Research Laboratory, notes, “These findings are consistent with results from a similar clinical trial previously conducted by the same group, and also with basic research which indicates that EGCG can promote biochemical pathways in brain neurons that reduce oxidative stress and promote cell survival.”
All forms of tea have been associated with health benefits. But because green tea is minimally processed, from un-oxidized tea leaves, it is rich in certain types of antioxidant compounds.

YOUR BRAIN ON TEA: In the latest study, Swiss researchers tested the effects of a milk whey-based soft drink containing 27.5 grams of green tea extract (equivalent to about two cups of brewed green tea) against a placebo. The healthy young male volunteers were then faced with a battery of working-memory tasks. While they tackled the tasks, the men’s brains were monitored using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Participants who had been given the beverage containing green-tea extract showed increased connectivity between the brain’s right superior parietal lobe and the frontal cortex. This effect on connectivity within the brain coincided with improvements in actual cognitive performance on the working-memory exercises.

“Our findings suggest that green tea might increase the short-term synaptic plasticity of the brain,” said Stefan Borgwardt, MD, PhD, of the University of Basel. The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Psychopharmacology, added that the findings provide insights into the mechanism of how green tea might affect working-memory processing.

For more information on maintaining cognitive function, download Guide to Eating Right to Avoid Cognitive Decline from Tufts’ Health & Nutrition Letter.

Following are previous posts I have written on Green Tea:

Green Tea Boosts Your Brain

Green Tea Helps to Fight Flu

Green Tea for St. Patrick’s Day and Every day

Dr. Oz and Chia Seeds and Green Tea.


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Brain Game May Help Older Adults

As regular readers know, I have both Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family history. As a result, I am keenly interested in everything having to do with keeping the brain functioning throughout life. So far my research has taught me that is is very difficult to find anything that equals the benefit of cardiovascular exercise for sending oxygen molecules to the brain and creating new neurotransmitters. Please check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits) for more.
brainMost ‘brain games’ like crosswords and sudoku build skills in those specific games, but do not strengthen working memory.

Having said that, I am nonetheless passing on this information from the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences on a ‘brain game’ that is said to help seniors.

An international team of scientists has demonstrated that just one month of training on a “Virtual Week” computer brain game helps older adults significantly strengthen prospective memory – a type of memory that is crucial for planning, everyday functioning and independent living.

Seniors who played the cognitive-training game “more than doubled” the number of prospective memory tasks performed correctly compared to control groups that performed other activities such as music classes.

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More Fruits, Veggies in Youth Linked to Healthy Heart Decades Later – AHA

•    Young adults who ate more than five daily servings of fruits and vegetables were less likely to have developed plaque deposits in their coronary arteries 20 years later.
    •    This study’s findings reinforce the importance of increasing fruit and vegetable intake as part of a healthy eating pattern in early adult life.

Eating more fruits and vegetables as a young adult may keep your arteries free of heart disease 20 years later, according to research in the American Heart Association (AHA) journal Circulation.

Healthy-Heart-For-Kidsvs2_1024x1024Researchers found that eating more fruits and vegetables as young adults was associated with less calcified coronary artery plaque 20 years later. Coronary artery calcium can be measured by a CT scan to detect the presence and amount of atherosclerosis, a disease that hardens arteries and underlies many types of heart disease.

The researchers divided data from 2,506 study participants into three groups, based on their daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. Women in the top third ate an average of nearly nine servings of daily fruits and vegetables and men averaged more than seven daily servings. In the bottom third, women consumed an average 3.3 daily servings and men 2.6 daily servings. All servings were based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.
Researchers found that people who ate the most fruit and vegetables at the study’s start had 26 percent lower odds of developing calcified plaque 20 years later, compared to those who ate the least amount of fruits and vegetables.

Previous studies have shown a strong association between eating more fruits and vegetables and reduction in heart disease risk among middle-age adults. However, this is the first study to examine whether eating more fruits and vegetables as young adults could produce a measurable improvement in the health of their heart and blood vessels years later.
“People shouldn’t assume that they can wait until they’re older to eat healthy—our study suggests that what you eat as a young adult may be as important as what you eat as an older adult, ” said lead author Michael D. Miedema, M.D., senior consulting cardiologist and clinical investigator at the Minneapolis Heart Institute, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Continue reading

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Six Strength Training Tips from Harvard

While I am a bike rider – purely aerobic exercise – I fully appreciate the need for strengtrh training, too. I have included a list of other posts on the subject at the bottom of this post.

Harvard HEALTHbeat had the following to say about it: “Strength training isn’t just for bodybuilders. Like aerobic exercise, it’s important for everybody, and it should be a part of any comprehensive exercise program. Of course, if you’ve never trained with weights before, it can seem a little daunting. But as long as you ease into it gradually and take the proper precautions, strength training is safe for most people.


“Use the six tips below to help you get the most from your strength workouts.

1. Focus on form, not weight. Good form means aligning your body correctly and moving smoothly through an exercise. Poor form can prompt injuries and slow gains. “I often start people with very light weights because I want them to get their alignment and form right,” says master trainer Josie Gardiner. Concentrate on performing slow, smooth lifts and equally controlled descents whenever you learn a new exercise. You can always add weight to challenge your muscles once you know how to move with good form.

2. Tempo, tempo. Control is very important. Tempo helps you stay in control rather than undercut gains through momentum. Sometimes switching speed — for example, taking three counts to lower a weight and one count to lift it, instead of lifting for two and lowering for two — is a useful technique for enhancing power.

3. Breathe. Blood pressure rises if you hold your breath while performing strength exercises. Exhale as you work against gravity by lifting, pushing, or pulling the weight; inhale as you release.

4. Keep challenging muscles. The “right” weight differs depending on the exercise. Choose a weight that tires the targeted muscles by the last two repetitions while still allowing you to maintain good form. If you can’t do the last two reps, choose a lighter weight. When it feels too easy to complete all the reps, challenge your muscles again by adding weight (roughly 1 to 2 pounds for arms, 2 to 5 pounds for legs); adding a set to your workout (up to three sets per exercise); or working out additional days per week (as long as you rest each muscle group for 48 hours before exercising it again).

5. Practice regularly. Performing a complete upper- and lower-body strength workout two or three times a week is ideal.

6. Give muscles time off. Strenuous exercise, like strength training, causes tiny tears in muscle tissue. Muscles grow stronger as the tears knit up. Always allow at least 48 hours between sessions for muscles to recover. For example, if you’re doing split strength workouts, you might do upper body on Monday, lower body on Tuesday, upper body on Wednesday, lower body on Thursday, etc.

For additional advice and tips to help you get the most from your workouts, purchase the Workout Workbook, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

Here are posts I have created on weight work:

Strength Training Coupled with Aerobics Boosts Weight Loss

Practice Strength Training for Bones as well as Muscles – Harvard

Weight Training Techniques for Seniors

You are Never Too Old to Start Weight Training – ACSM


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Heart Health and Brain Health Linked – AA

Regular readers know that I am strongly concerned about my health, both physical and mental. At least two of my family members have suffered from Alzheimer’s and dementia. So, I was thrilled to learn that the Alzheimer’s Association thinks there are links between heart health and brain health.

IMG_7718“Growing evidence suggests a close link between the health of the heart and the health of the brain. The brain is nourished by one of the body’s richest networks of blood vessels. With every beat, the heart pumps about 20 to 25 percent of the blood to the head, where brain cells use at least 20 percent of the food and oxygen carried by the blood in order to function normally. As a result, many factors that damage the heart or blood vessels may also damage the brain – and may increase the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias”, according to the Alzheimer’s Association (AA).

“Some autopsy studies show that as many as 80 percent of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease also have cardiovascular disease. This may be a key to understanding why some people who develop plaques and tangles on the brain – the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease – do not develop the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Autopsy studies suggest that plaques and tangles may be present in the brain without causing symptoms of cognitive decline unless the brain also shows evidence of vascular disease.”

Some of the factors for which there may be a heart-brain health connection include:
Smoking: There is fairly strong evidence that current smoking increases the risk of cognitive decline and possibly also dementia, and that quitting smoking may reduce the associated risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked.
Diabetes: Diabetes is associated with lower cognitive performance, and there appears to be strong, 
but not conclusive, evidence for an association between diabetes and dementia.
Obesity: Mid-life obesity increases the risk of cognitive decline and may also be associated with an 
increased risk of dementia.
High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure, or hypertension, especially in midlife, has been shown 
to be associated with a higher risk of cognitive decline. Some evidence has also shown that medi- cine for treating high blood pressure may be effective in reducing the risk of decline.

“What’s good for your heart may in fact be good for your brain, too. Physical activity is one such factor that not only protects the heart but improves cognitive function and may also protect against dementia. And, some emerging evidence suggests that consuming a heart-healthy diet may also protect the brain.

“Many cardiovascular disease risk factors are modifiable – that is, they can be changed to decrease the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease. Many experts believe that controlling cardiovascular risk factors may be the most cost-effective and helpful approach to protecting brain health. In fact, some researchers have suggested that the improved cardiovascular health of the population in the last 25 years has had a spillover effect by also reducing the incidence of dementia. Thus, reducing the burden of diabetes, cardio- vascular disease, and obesity may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. By including brain health promotion messages in existing heart-health campaigns, the public health community may help reduce both the incidence of chronic cardiovascular conditions and future cognitive decline.”

To read further on this check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise).


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What About Eating When You Are Sick? Infographic

I thought there was some good info here. Although I have enjoyed robust good health for the past nearly six years of writing this blog, anything I can do to reduce sick time is on my radar. With cold and flu season approaching – it couldn’t hurt.



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Eventually Something Will Give


I like this simple analogy. If folks were as scrupulous about maintaining their bodies as they are about their cars, we might not have the horrible healthcare situation we do with 60 per cent overweight, 30 per cent obese and teenagers coming down with adult onset diabetes.

Check out my post – What Have You Done For Me Lately? – for more details.

Eat less; move more; live longer.


Originally posted on Dream Big, Dream Often:

Eventually something will give.  I often think about this when I see a car that is obviously being neglected.  Smoking out the tail pipe, bald tires and in need of a tune up.  Why does the owner continue to drive their car into the ground?  Do they realize that the short-term cost of maintenance far outweighs the devastation of long-term neglect?  Also, driving the car in a neglected state can put their life and families’ lives in danger.

credit: credit:

Obviously they have never considered these dangers, because it makes no sense to be aware of the danger, yet continue to subject their families to the risk.

And so it is with our health.  We only have one body in which we live.  I am not saying to completely eliminate donuts and lattes.  After all I have been very honest about my love affair with Burger King.  What I am saying is…

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My New Bike Helmet – The Torch 2

And now for something new and completely different. Monty Python.

I know that not all of my readers are bike riders, but this post isn’t meant to be only for cyclists. I think you will find some useful info here whether you ride a bike or not.

torch-t2As far as the new and completely different quote goes, the Torch 2 helmet is a product that I backed on Indiegogo, one of the crowdfunding sites. It is a helmet that integrates lights into it. To my knowledge this is new and completely different. It runs off rechargeable batteries. As you can see from the photo it has 360 degree visibility.

In case you aren’t familiar with it Investopedia defines crowdfunding as “The use of small amounts of capital from a large number of individuals to finance a new business venture. Crowdfunding makes use of the easy accessibility of vast networks of friends, family and colleagues through social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to get the word out about a new business and attract investors. Crowdfunding has the potential to increase entrepreneurship by expanding the pool of investors from whom funds can be raised beyond the traditional circle of owners, relatives and venture capitalists.”

Backing a new product sounds like big time venture capital stuff, but the fact is I invested $130 in the project. Not so big time. For my investment I received one Torch 2 helmet when they were finally produced some months later. For the record I am a totally market oriented person. I spent 20 years writing about markets for Reuters and understand that the law of supply and demand is second only to the law of gravity. Markets work. Certainly this crowdfunding one does. Kickstarter is another one that I frequent. I recommend that you check out Indiegogo and Kickstarter. They have fascinating projects of every kind imaginable, books, music, playing cards, you name it.

As you can see from the picture, the Torch 2 is not an ordinary helmet. It has lights built in to the front and the back. For folks who don’t ride, the relevance of this is that cycling lights are primarily to allow the bike rider to be seen, not to illuminate the road like a car. I think this Torch 2 solves that problem perfectly.

Additionally, lights on a bike are very vulnerable to theft when you park it. And removing them every time you park can be a nuisance.The Torch 2 solves that problem also.

I have been using the lights on my Torch 2 helmet for several pre-sunrise rides now and am enjoying it. Maybe it is only my imagination, but I feel that the cars are more aware of me with the lights flashing.

You can learn more about it at the website of Torch.



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The Science of Weight Loss – Infographic

Although this says “weight loss” in the headline, the first illustration makes clear that integrating exercise and intelligent eating – lifestyle change – is the most effective method. If you get yourself into living a healthy life you won’t have to even think about weight loss.


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10 Reasons to Include Buckwheat In Your Diet Plans


I am as new to buckwheat as you are. I always thought it was the stuff they put into airplane neck pillows. This post shows how wrong I can be.


Originally posted on Buckwheat for your health:

bowl of buckwheat seeds

  1. Buckwheat is high in fiber; good for those with constipation.
  2. The protein in buckwheat has all 9 essential amino acids (that the body cannot manufacture), making it closer to being a “complete” protein.
  3. Buckwheat is high in the amino acid lysine, which is used for tissue growth and repair.
  4. Buckwheat is gluten-free so this makes it suitable for those with wheat allergies.
  5. Buckwheat is rich in calcium, iron, vitamin E, and B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, zinc and copper.
  6. The magnesium in buckwheat, helps relaxes blood vessels; helps improve circulation, decrease blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
  7. Buckwheat helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Due to the slower breakdown and absorption of the carbohydrates in buckwheat, this helps to raise our blood sugar levels more evenly. This especially good for those suffering with diabetes by helping to control their blood sugar levels.
  8. Buckwheat is low in calories

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The Lighter Side of Weight Loss – Number 16

As I said previously, in my web wanderings, I come across all kinds of items, some serious and some not so. I have put out a number of posts previously on diet, health and fitness funnies. Humor is a wonderful elixir of good health. I hope you enjoy this one.

The laugh’s on me.

8b9bedae79f5642bc084b705ecbf4789I know the one is an oldie, but I love it.


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What are the Health Benefits of Edible Seeds? – Infographic

I think one of the main reasons folks have a problem with their weight is the American Diet that includes a lot of meat and potatoes, not to mention junky fast foods. So, this Guide to edible seeds may be very handy. Seeds provide a lot of nutritional value in the form of useful fiber, fats  and protein. Some people object to the calorie count, but that seems a small price to pay for good nutrition. Remember, good health requires intelligent eating and regular exercise. You can burn off extra calories.

I eat regularly and have posted on chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds.


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4 Ways to Beat Stress, Lose Your Guilt, and Be Happier


Stress is a killer. No doubt about it. There are some useful ways to handle it here. You can find further valuable tips in my post – Super Tools for Handling Stress.



Originally posted on Our Better Health:

Research-based strength training for your emotions.

Jul 30, 2013

Frustrated because you can’t get what you want? Has someone turned you down for a date, a work request, or just a favor? It can be annoying to be blocked from one of your goals. Fortunately, by applying some evidence-based tools of emotional strength training, you can turn down your stress meter and make the best of bad situations.

The cornerstone of emotional strength training is cognitive therapy, in which individuals seeking to overcome depression, anxiety, or problems in relationships build mental toughness by recognizing their triggers and then turning off the switch that might normally lead to a meltdown. One doesn’t need to have a diagnosable condition, however, in order to apply some of these basic principles to improve one’s ability to tolerate life’s setbacks and annoyances.

In cognitive therapy, individuals learn to read and change the dysfunctional inner patterns…

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Plank it Up!


I thought this would interest most readers. Doesn’t require a lot of time. Does a lot of good.


Originally posted on :

You ready to devote an ounce of your life to change your Life? 5-10 minutes a day, every day, can help you stay fit, healthy and strong! How?  Start doing plank exercises every day and make it part of your life, because it makes a huge difference!

First thing’s First:


7 reasons Planks can change your Life?

1. You’ll improve core definition and performance

2.You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

5. You’ll improve overall balance

6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

7. You’ll witness mental benefits

For more details, check out 7 Things That Will Happen When You Start Doing Planks Every Day

To read more, Mens Fitness 

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