Be nice to your brain: Move your body.  What kind of brain do you want five years from now?  Research shows that we have much control over brain health!  I hear too many people say, “Oh well.  My brain is just not working well anymore,” as if it is just something they have to accept.  Not true!  These comments have inspired me to dive into the deep end and report to you ways that you can change the trajectory of your memory and thinking skills.  Today we are exploring the incredible benefits of exercise.

You don’t have to be afraid of memory and learning decline.  Movement protects the brain on multiple fronts.  Aim for 120 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week and go from there.  Work up slowly.  Here are four benefits that you will reap:

  1. Since it increases the heart rate, it pumps more oxygen to the brain.
  2. Exercise stimulates “neuroplasticity” which means that it increases the growth of new brain-cell connections.
  3. It has an antidepressant effect because it is associated with a drop in stress hormones.
  4. Movement has a “rebooting” effect on your brain when you are mentally exhausted.  Taking the stairs or doing a few jumping jacks can have immediate mental benefits.  

Generally, any activity that is good for your heart is also good for your brain.  Regular exercise actually changes the architecture of the brain to improve thinking and memory skills.  Since it helps the body in a myriad of other ways such as sleep improvement, blood sugar balancing, and decreasing chronic inflammation, movement has lots of indirect benefits on our thinking center.

So what is your START SOMEWHERE?  It is easy to get stalled by thinking that an elaborate plan is necessary or that you need to spend money to get started.  That is hogwash!  We were created to move.  Much of the research confirms that ordinary walking is an excellent way to improve your brain fitness.  Activities like dancing, gardening, or household chores get your blood pumping enough to stimulate a light sweat.  The key is to get started today to be nice to your brain by moving your body.  When you are nice to your body, you are helping your brain!  You can do it.  I will help you!  

#AskDrDebbie: “What natural solutions for acne do you suggest?” – Kelsey G.

Hi Kelsey!  This is such an interesting and personal area for me.  I really wish this information had been available when I was younger because I felt plagued with acne and it was so embarrassing!  The key to remember is that the skin is a reflection of the internal health.  I had no idea.  In fact, my dermatologist told me that it had nothing to do with what I was eating.  

Here are six simple areas to START SOMEWHERE treating acne from the inside out:

  • Make sure you are eating six to eight servings of fresh vegetables each day, with ½ cup being one serving.  I may sound like a lot, so work up to it.  This will provide your body with a symphony of nutrients that work together for your health and will provide healthy fiber to help your gut.
  • Eat a probiotic-rich diet or take a quality pharmaceutical-grade probiotic daily.  Health starts in the gut because that is the major site of immune health and of serotonin production.  Foods like kefir and kimchi are naturally rich in probiotics.
  • Get plenty of “beauty sleep!”  Lack of sleep causes stress and the hormones of stress increase acne.  Japanese scientists found a strong correlation between sleep and acne, and it really makes sense!  Sleep is essential for healthy immunity.
  • Drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated.  This helps remove toxins from the body in general, moisturizes the skin, and indirectly can benefit acne.   
  • Minimize foods that make your blood sugar spike such as simple carbohydrates like sweets, pasta, white rice, and breads.  These stimulate excess insulin production which triggers the growth of cells that clog pores.  Foods that are high on the glycemic scale promote inflammation.  
  • Exercise to decrease stress and increase oxygen-rich blood to your skin in order to carry away waste products.

Best wishes for healthy, beautiful skin, Kelsey — from the inside out!  

No Added Sugar Cinnamon Spice Raisin Cookies (Avocado A Day Nutrition)  

You will need:

  • 2 cups California golden raisins
  • 3 cups almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter or cashew butter
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon cloves
  • Large pinch of salt

Here’s the drill:

  1. In a medium bowl, warm 3-4 cups of water in the microwave for 3 minutes.  Add golden raisins and let them plump for about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Drain the raisins and transfer to a food processor.  Blend until pureed, about 2 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and process until fully combined and blended, scraping down sides as needed.
  3. Using a spoon, scoop spoonfuls of batter and form balls.  The batter is very sticky, so wet hands are helpful.  Place them 2 inches apart on a well-greased cookie sheet.  Flatten with the back of a spatula.
  4. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden.  The bottoms have the tendency to brown, so you may want to check after about 15 minutes.
  5. Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheet, transfer to a wire rack to cool fully.  Will keep in a covered container at room temperature for a few days, or store in the refrigerator for a week or so.

One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Peter 1:3 — “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.  We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”  (NLT)

Be Nice To Your Brain: Move Your Body

Be Nice To Your Brain: Move Your Body