Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Doctors Reveal 15 Things You Should Never Do If You Want to Avoid Getting Cancer

More than 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States. Close to 600,000 die yearly from the disease. Although factors like environment and genetics can play a role in cancer, there are also a lot of factors that are within our control. Experts suggest these are the things you should never do if you want to reduce your cancer risk as much as possible.

Don’t sweat the small things 

If you let your stress levels get too high, you risk lowering your body’s ability to fight off certain infections or diseases, such as cancer. Your immune system needs to be at its strongest in order to compete with cancer cells. Make sure to practice mindfulness if you’re stressed at work, and remember not to sweat the small things. 

Don’t forget to eat your veggies 

Certain vegetables have great cancer-fighting abilities. Cruciferous veggies, such as kale or broccoli, contain cancer-preventing properties. But broccoli contains a significant amount of sulforaphane. This compound boosts the body’s production of Phase 2 enzymes, which are responsible for neutralizing the processes of disease. Next time you’re hit with hunger pangs, try incorporating some broccoli into your next meal. 

Don’t have that second brownie 

Sweet treats are essential, but they need to be consumed in moderation. Too much sugar can cause fats to build up throughout your body and increase the cancer potential for certain organs. (If too much fat builds up around your liver, it can lead to liver cancer.) Plus, cancer cells need sugar to grow. It’s always okay to enjoy a brownie, but only take one, and try not to make it a daily occurrence. 

Don’t forget to pay attention to your body’s changes 

Self-examinations are imperative. For women, giving yourself a monthly breast exam will help you quickly detect any concerning changes. But keeping track of moles on your body and watching for any change in color or size can also help you nip cancer in the bud if it does try to move in. Always check for any unfamiliar lumps or swollen lymph nodes, too. 

Don’t forego vaccinations  

Certain vaccinations are out there to help prevent diseases that can lead to cancer. For example, Gardasil is a popular vaccination recommended for adolescents that prevents againt human papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV is responsible for most cervical cancers but can lead to other cancers, too. Plus, hepatitis B and C can also lead to liver cancer, so ask your doctor about those vaccines. 

Don’t splurge on fast food 

Fast food might be a quick and easy meal option, but it could also be an easy way to increase your cancer risk. Researchers recently found that foods high in sodium, such as fast food, can lead to an increased risk of stomach cancer. Studies have shown that too much salt can damage the stomach lining, leading to cancer-developing lesions. You’re much better off packing your own lunch than stopping at McDonald’s on your break. 

Don’t let your weight get out of control 

Adding a few pound as you age is normal. But don’t completely let yourself go. Studies have shown that obesity is linked to many different cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, obesity is linked to at least 8% of all cancers and about 7% of cancer deaths. Breast, colon, and pancreatic cancers are among the most common cancers related to obesity. 

Don’t forget to apply sunscreen 

When you’re out in the sun, it only takes minutes for skin-damaging radiation to affect the body. The use of sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 is recommended to block most harmful rays. The darker you get, the less likely you are to burn, but don’t be fooled; your skin is still receiving harmful doses of radiation every time you lounge in the sun without sunscreen. 

Don’t skip your morning walk 

Exercise has a slew of benefits, and preventing cancer is no exception. When you get up and take a walk, you’re burning calories to reduce your risk of obesity. You’re also clearing your mind; walking has been shown to reduce stress. Exercise downplays these cancer-causing factors, giving it a two-birds-with-one-stone advantage in reducing your cancer risk. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week, so taking a daily, 30-minute walk can have excellent effects on your health. 

Don’t ever smoke 

This may seem like a no brainer, but some people think that as long as they’re not chain smoking (smoking continuously), they’re fine. However, even smoking one cigarette per day can tremendously increase your risk of getting lung cancer. Cigarettes are responsible for 87% of lung cancers, and people who smoke are 15 to 30 times’ more likely to get lung cancer. 

Don’t drink too much 

Alcohol in moderation can have excellent benefits, but too much alcohol can increase your cancer risk. Over time, too much alcohol can play a role in developing mouth and breast cancers. Heavy drinking can harm your white blood cells. White blood cells are supposed to attack the “bad things” in your body, such as bacteria and cancer cells, so too much drinking can inhibit your body from being able to fight off those cancer cells. 

Don’t eat too much processed meat 

Processed meats have raised health concerns over the years. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified processed meats as a carcinogen. Meats like bacon, hot dogs, and deli meats are highly treated to preserve them. Salting, curing, or fermenting the meats can cause them to become carcinogenic. Experts found that eating at least 50 grams of processed meats per day (equivalent to one hot dog) increased one’s risk of certain cancers by 18%. 

Don’t forget to treat yourself 

… Not necessarily with food, but do things that bring you joy. When your life revolves around work and taking care of your family, it’s easy to forget about yourself. Set aside some time to do something you love; learn an instrument or take a cooking class. It will improve your mood and also reduce stress, both of which can help your immune system. Your body will be less likely to develop cancer if you’re taking care of your mind. 

Don’t spend all of your time indoors 

Make sure to get outside and get exposure to your environment. The outdoors is not only relaxing but can also help prevent cancer. Being outside promotes physical activity and mental wellness. Plus, exposure to the sun (with the proper SPF protection) increases your body’s vitamin D levels, which has shown to decrease your likelihood of getting colorectal cancer. 

Don’t drink unfiltered water 

You should never drink unfiltered water for any reason, but even giving your tap water an extra filter could reduce your cancer risk. Sometimes, trace carcinogens leak into tap water and wind up in your body. Also, recent studies have shown that bottled water is no safer than tap water. Save yourself some money — and help the environment — by attaching a filter to your sink and sticking with tap water. 

25 Brain-Boosting Foods That Will Keep You Sharp


It's time to stop skipping celery because it tastes like, well, nothing. (Here are five delicious soup recipesto get you started.) Because what celery lacks in taste it more than makes up for in brain power! It's a rich source of luteolin, a plant compound believed to reduce inflammation in the brain, thereby protecting it from the aging process. A 2010 study found that luteolin slowed cognitive decline in older mice. You don't have to chomp down a huge stick of celery to reap it's benefits: Try chopping some up and adding it to your tuna salad, or tossing a bunch into the next soup you make.  

Dark chocolate 

Great news for dark chocolate lovers! Several studies demonstrate its brain-boosting powers, including enhanced cognitive function, a reduced risk of dementia, and improved performance on challenging brain teasers—along with a slew of other health benefits of dark chocolate. For example, researchers in 2013 found that the flavanols that get absorbed when you consume chocolate penetrate and accumulate in the brain regions involved in learning and memory, especially the hippocampus. Another test, carried out in 2011, found that even single doses of high-flavanol dark chocolate can improve performance on cognitive tests, including memory test, in healthy adults. Chocolate has even been found to improve depression and anxiety symptoms and help enhance feelings of calmness and contentedness, thanks to its mood-enhancing flavanols and methylxanthines.


All nuts are good for brain health, but walnuts are at the top of the list—and here are 10 meals to make with walnuts that will help you get more. Thanks to their high concentration of DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid (one quarter cup of walnuts provides almost 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of DHA), the nuts have been linked to brain health in newborns and improved cognitive performance in adults, and prevent or ameliorate age-related cognitive decline. A 2012 study found that walnut consumption may increase inferential reasoning in young adults.


Substances called free radicals float through the bloodstream and try to break down the brain cells, which can lead to memory loss as you age. However, antioxidants merge with free radicals and make them harmless—and carrots are loaded with them, which is why they offer so many surprising health benefits. Carrots can also protect against other types of cognitive decline, according to a study from 2000, thanks to their ability to lower the oxidative stress in the brain that can weaken nerve signaling capacity. 

Oily fish 

The brain needs plenty of omega-3 fats to stay healthy, and the best natural source is in oily fish, such as salmon, mackarel, trout, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers. (Don't like fish? Here are seven more foods loaded with omega-3 fatty acids.) Oily fish contains the active form of EPA and DHA in ready-made form, meaning the body can use it easily. Having healthy levels of both EPA and DHA is thought to help up manage stress and boost levels of the "happy" brain chemical, serotonin. Recent research carried out in the United States found a possible link between high omega-3 levels and the prevention of Alzheimer's disease.


Another great brain power food you should try to eat every day is tomatoes. Don't like the mushy supermarket variety? Why not try growing organic tomatoes at home? This fruit contains the powerful antioxidant lycopene, which is believed to help protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia. Tomatoes also contain other compounds that can protect the brain's health and functionality. Research carried out in 2013 suggests that the vitamin B group nutrient choline improves short-term memory, aids in learning, and regulates sleep. Additionally, the alpha-lipoic acid in tomatoes helps preserve brain tissue, and may even delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease.


One of the biggest nutrition bangs for your buck, the humble egg is also endlessly versatile—get cooking inspiration from these 55 delicious ways to have eggs. According to Finnish researchers, eating eggs can boost brain power—and it's all down to choline again. The diets of around 2,500 men in Finland were monitored for a period of up to 22 years and it was found that those who ate roughly the equivalent of one egg a day did not have a higher risk of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. In fact, the opposite turned out to be true. These actually performed better on certain cognitive tests in later life than men who ate eggs less often.

Pumpkin seeds 

Seeds are great for the brain, and pumpkin seeds among the best. These little delights are packed with omega-3 fatty acids to improve mental health, help maintain memory and support brain development, and they also contain high levels of magnesium, which is believed to have a calming effect on the brain, and zinc, which increases brain power by enhancing focus and memory. One handful of pumpkin seeds provides you with 50 percent of the recommended levels of zinc (8-11mg per day). Research carried out in 2011 found that zinc played a "critical" role in regulating communication between the brain in respect of memory and cognition. 


Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli contain sulforaphane compounds, which can stimulate the renewal and repair of nerve tissue in the brain. In a recent Chinese study, researchers found that sulforaphane may have significant ameliorative properties against underlying pathological disturbances found in common neurodegenerative diseases, including increased inflammation, disconcerted calcium homeostasis, oxidative stress, and neuronal death. Broccoli also contains vitamin K, which helps strengthen cognitive abilities and may even have Alzheimer's-fighting properties. A 2008 study assessed the dietary intakes of patients with early stage Alzheimer's and found that the diagnosed patients consumed considerably less vitamin K than the control group, supporting the case for further research into the effects of vitamin K on brain health.


It's no longer simply an old wives' tale: sage really does sharpen the mind. That's according to clinical trials carried out in 2003 which found that healthy adults who had taken sage oil capsules performed significantly better in memory tests. Researchers split 45 individuals into two groups; one group received a placebo while others received sage essential oil at dosages between 50 and 150 microls. Then, each participant took a memory test. Even those who took the smallest quantity of sage oil demonstrated significant memory improvements.  


Your evening glass of wine might make you feel relaxed, but it's actually giving you a great workout—in your brain, at least. (In fact, you can find wines for every health need.) Neuroscientist Dr. Gordon Shepherd from the Yale School of Medicine claims that drinking wine engages more working parts of the brain than any other human activity. Shepherd says it all comes down to taste, and believes that the process of swirling a glass of wine in our mouths, and the tongue muscles and taste receptors that this triggers, engages more of the brain than listening to music or even solving a math problem.


Some scientists have hailed turmeric a "wonder spice" due to its seemingly endless list of health benefits—including relief from digestive issues such as heartburn and gas. In terms of brain health, a 2014 study found that turmeric may contribute to the regeneration of a "damaged brain" and help with neurological disorders. Another study, also published in 2014, found that turmeric can prevent and even reverse damage from exposure to toxic fluoride. An easy way to incorporate turmeric into your meals is to saute it in about half a teaspoon of oil in a saucepan then add it to whatever you're cooking. 

Coconut oil 

You may be able to use coconut for your hair, skin, teeth, and even as a household cleaning product. Now it looks like it may also be good for your brain. The main reason coconut oil is considered a brain food is its high concentration of MCTs (medium chain triglycerides). The brain is usually fueled by glucose, but in coconut oil the MCTs get broken down into ketones, which feed the brain directly (without the metabolic process glucose goes through). Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, includes coconut oil as part of his "anti-Alzheimer's trio," along with avocados and omega-3 rich grass-fed beef. Perlmutter's belief is backed up by 2014 research that found coconut oil reduces the beta-amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease. In another study, adults with mild cognitive impairment showed significant improvement in memory recall within 90 minutes of taking a single dose of MCT oil.

Sea vegetables 

If your local sushi restaurant is your favorite haunt, you're feeding your brain as well as your belly. (New to sushi? Check out these sushi eating tips for nori novices.) Sea vegetables like nori, the seaweed sheets used to wrap sushi, is a great source of vitamin B12, which is essential for brain health. Sea vegetables also contain iodine, which isn't found in many other foods. In fact, iodine is such a rare dietary source it's added to table salt to prevent widespread deficiency. When it was added to table salt in the United States in the 1920s, there was a noticeable increase in average IQ. Nori also contains taurine, an amino acid that stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), sometimes called "nature's valium" because it helps us feel relaxed and happy.


 Kale is having such a moment, it even has its own day (National Kale Day is October 3). One of the most nutrition-dense vegetables in the world, kale is packed with the antioxidants beta carotene, flavonoids, and polyphenols. One cup of kale also contains nearly as much vitamin C (a natural antidepressant) as an orange. Kale is also a great source of B vitamins, which are believed to prevent memory loss and keep the brain young and healthy. It has even been linked to Alzheimer's prevention: A study published in 2013 found that folic acid, B6 and B12 work reduce brain atrophy, improve brain function, and dramatically reduce brain shrinkage in the part of the brain most affected by Alzheimer's disease.


Beets contain high levels of dietary nitrates, which help open blood vessels in the body, increasing blood flow and oxygen to places that need it—including the brain. A recent study found that drinking beet juice improved mental performance in hypertensive aging adults. Specifically, drinking a beet root juice supplement before exercise resulted in brain connectivity that closely resembled what would be expected in younger adults. This built on the findings of a 2010 study, the first to link beet consumption and blood flow to the brain. Here are more things you might not know about beets

Olive oil  

A Mediterranean-style diet is often hailed for its health benefits, including better brain function. Recent research found that the consumption of extra-virgin olive oil (an integral part of the Mediterranean diet) protects memory and learning ability and reduces the formation of amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (classic markers of Alzheimer's disease) in the brain. Previous research, published in 2013, found that the polyphenols in olives increase levels of important proteins in the brain nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)—both of which are key players in the development, growth, and survival of brain cells. 

Bone broth 

There's a lot of hype about bone broth, and much of it is warranted. Instead of commercial broth, which is made only with the skin of the animal, homemade bone broth is full of collagen (which forms 30 percent of our bodies' protein). When collagen is cooked it turns into another protein, gelatin, which is loaded with antioxidant-rich, gut-health-promoting, metabolism-boosting amino acids like proline, glycine, arginine and glutamine. Gelatin helps heal the lining of the gut by improving gastric acid secretion and restoring a healthy mucosal lining in the stomach. According to clinical nutritionist Josh Axe, DMC, the gut and brain are directly connected, meaning a healthier gut can lead to a healthier brain.


Beans are a great source of complex carbohydrates and protein, which helps maintain healthy brain function throughout the day. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids to support brain growth and function. (Go for kidney and pinto beans for the biggest omega-3 fix.) Beans also provide a constant supply of glucose to the brain, which helps keep it energized. Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, are one of the best dietary sources of magnesium, which keeps brain cell receptors working as they should and relaxes blood vessels to increase blood flow to the brain.  


Tea is often credited with boosting metabolism and helping to prevent cancer, but many scientists believe this hot drink is just as beneficial for the brain—and your mood: Check out our list of the best teas for every mood. Tea obviously contains caffeine, an instant brain-booster, but it also delivers the more calming amino acid L-Theanine, which relaxes without causing drowsiness. A 2008 studyfound that tea's unique combination of caffeine and L-Theanine (in extract form) helps reduce mental fatigue while increasing reaction time and working memory. Preliminary evidence suggests that drinking tea can lower the risk of dementia, such as a 2004 study testing the effect of green tea catechins on mice, which found that they can prevent cognitive dysfunction, improve working memory, and prevent negative changes in the brains of at-risk mice. 


2004 study found that women with healthy iron levels performed better on mental tasks and completed them faster than women with lower iron levels. Iron is vital for brain health because it is the center of our red blood cells, which allow oxygen to be carried throughout the body and into the brain. Beef also contains B vitamins, which produce neurotransmitters and replace nerve cells. If you don't eat meat, high-iron foods for vegetarians include wheat bran, cocoa powder, spinach, parsley, radishes, peas, leeks, sesame seeds, pistachio nuts, dried coconut, cashew nuts, muesli, oatmeal, and brown rice.

Yerba mate 

In South America, yerba mate is just as common as coffee is in the United States. Brewed out of the leaves of the South American holly tree, this hot drink is believed to have a stimulant effect, which enhances short-term brain power. According to yerba mate manufacturer Guayaki, this plant's leaves contain 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, and an abundance of antioxidants. Besides caffeine, yerba mate contains two related compounds, theobromine and theophylline, which work together to provide unique, mild stimulant effects, similar to that of green tea.  

Whole-grain oats 

For a brain-boosting breakfast, you can't go wrong with whole-grain oats, as they have a high carbohydrate content. (Carbs produce glucose, the primary fuel for your brain.) Yet oats have the advantage over other carbohydrates by being low on the glycemic index, meaning oats won't jack up your blood sugar. The carbs in whole-grain oats are broken down very slowly by the body, and your brain will reap the benefits for hours! Oats also contain essential B vitamins, vitamin E, selenium and manganese.  


Make lentils a staple in your soups and salads and your brain will thank you for it! Lentils are packed with folate, a B vitamin shown to help boost brain power and play a role in decreasing levels of amino acids that can impair brain functioning as we age. Lentils also contain thiamin and vitamin B6, which increase focus and energy, iron, which is important for cognitive functioning in women during childbearing years, and zinc, which is believed to be a memory booster.  

Ground flaxseed 

A top source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), flaxseed is the perfect way for vegetarians and vegans to add healthy fats to their diet. The only trick is figuring out how to work the seeds in—try one of these eight fruit smoothie recipes for a quick, easy, healthy breakfast. According to WebMD, ALA, which is also abundant in soybean oil, canola oil, and walnuts, improves the workings of the cerebral cortex, the area of the brain that processes sensory information like touch and taste. Sprinkle a tablespoon over salad, hot or cold cereal, or in a smoothie to get your daily flaxseed fix.

20 Everyday Things That Are Making Us Dumber

Your super-efficient digital assistant 

There's a reason so many people joke that their smartphones are their "brain"—because it kind of is becoming your brain. Google, Alexa, Siri, and other digital assistants have taken the burden of remembering details off your mind, meaning that your brain misses out on making those connections. Case in point: What's your mom's phone number? Heck, millions of people don't even know their own phone number. By acting as a personal memory bank, these services are making you smarter at knowing how to get information but dumber when it comes to remembering the actual information itself, according to a study published in Science.  

That late-night Netflix binge 

We're all chronically sleep deprived these days, and one of the first things to suffer when you lose zzz's is your brain—and it doesn't take much sleep loss to start impairing your mental abilities. "Study after study has shown that even an hour or two less sleep each night for just a few consecutive nights can have negative effects on the brain," says Vernon Williams, MD, sports neurologist and director of the Center for Sports Neurology & Pain Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute. "From delayed reaction times that can put you in danger while driving to mental fatigue and depression, burning the midnight oil can have serious brain repercussions."

Your secret junk food stash 

Candy, soda, fast food, and other modern inventions are one of the most common (albeit delicious) ways to drain your brain, Dr. Williams says. "One Australian study found that just five days of eating junk food could impair memory function, attention, speed, and mood," he says. "The idea is that poor diet leads to inflammation in the brain, which can damage its structures."  

That gym class you keep meaning to hit 

You may think all you're hurting is your waistline, but not getting enough exercise can damage your brain, Dr. Williams says. "Exercise has so many brain-boosting benefits, including a better mood, sharper mental performance, improved memory, and less pain," he says.  

All that romantic mood lighting 

Keeping the lights low may increase the feeling of ambiance (and make it harder to see the dirt on the floors!), but it won't help your brain, according to a study done by Michigan State. Researchers found that spending too much time in dimly lit rooms and offices may actually change the brain's structure and hurt your ability to remember and learn, especially when it comes to spatial tasks.  

Your multitasking lifestyle 

Think that you're an excellent multitasker and that doing several things at once makes you smarter? It's likely having the exact opposite effect, says Joe Bates, MD, a psychiatrist and author of Making Your Brain Hum: 12 Weeks to a Smarter You. "Jumping from one thing to another without completing a task is training your brain to not focus on one thing, making you literally scatterbrained," he says, adding that this leads to making bad decisions, feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, and forgetting important things.  

The constant notifications on your smartphone 

Instead of using our phones as a handy tool we use to help us, many of us are letting technology control us, Dr. Bates says. The constant barrage of texts, emails, voicemails, games, and other alerts is a never-ending distraction, making it impossible to focus and think, he says. "This can turn into an actual addiction by programming the brain to want to keep checking your phone, as it gives you immediate gratification," he explains. "Smartphones keep getting smarter and demanding our attention in even bigger ways, so for the sake of your brain health, you need to discipline yourself to engage thoughtfully and thoroughly and mindfully on projects throughout the day." Not to mention that turning your phone off for a few hours is one of the 50 tiny changes that will make you instantly happier.

That glass (or three) of wine with dinner 

Anyone who's ever had a "deep" conversation with someone who's had a few too many drinks knows how quickly booze can dumb you down. But did you know that overindulging in alcohol also has long-term harmful effects on your brain? "In addition to the possibility of impaired brain function as you age, drinking puts people at a higher risk for liver disease, strokes, depression, and many other diseases that also impair brain function," says Mary Ellen Moore, DO, a family medicine physician with Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Put down that third glass and have one of these brain-boosting foods instead. 

Your 9 to 5... or 7 to 9 

There is some truth to the old adage "work smarter, not harder." When it comes to maximizing your mental abilities, working too much can have the opposite effect, making you a less creative and less accurate thinker, says Kate Martino, a physician's assistant and weight-loss coach. Just like any other body part, your brain doesn't do well with a lot of stress, and it needs to rest sometimes. "Stress can impact your memory, make you feel moody, make it hard to focus, and the longer you're stressed out, the less brain clarity you'll have," Martino says. 

Your workspace at the local coffee shop 

You may think that being able to work anytime anywhere is a major job perk, but setting up shop in a noisy environment, such as a coffee shop or airport terminal, could make it harder for you to work. Being surrounded by constant noise impairs the brain's ability to learn new things and hurts your memory, according to a studypublished in Frontiers of Psychology.  

Your morning bowl of cereal 

Sugar-packed cereals are no better for you than eating a doughnut, and even "healthy" cereals may be hurting your brain health, Dr. Moore says. "Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is a preservative commonly found in cereal and food packaging that interferes with the signals from your brain," she explains. This includes the satiety signals that tell you you're full, making you not just dumber but also more prone to weight gain, she says.  

Your fear of flying (or getting fired or being dumped or ...) 

A little angst keeps you alert and moving, but feeling a constant barrage of fear or worry can seriously impact your mental health and your ability to think clearly, says Farah Harris, a licensed clinical professional counselor. "When we are fearful, it is like our brain has been hijacked and we are unable to think rationally, see things clearly, be objective, and recall details," she says. "By training your brain to try new things and face your fears, you can increase your alertness, improve memory, better manage stress, make better decisions, develop emotional intelligence, and increase your capacity and confidence."  

Your deep dislike of fish 

What you eat has a huge impact on how you think, starting with the types of fats you consume, says Rob Cole, licensed mental health counselor and registered dietitian, Clinical Director of Mental Health Services at Banyan Treatment Center. Eating foods high in trans fats, commonly found in processed snacks and fast food, hurts your brain health and has been linked in research to cognitive decline, he says. On the other hand, healthy fats, like those in wild salmon (and also nuts, chia seeds, and avocados), have been shown to protect brain cells and make your brain more efficient, he adds.  

Your empty water bottle  

Want to know the fastest way to drain your brain? Drain your body of water. Even mild dehydration can have profound effects on your mental capabilities, Cole says. "Drinking enough water is critical to ensure chemical balance in the brain," he explains. Resist the temptation to substitute juice, soda, coffee, or other liquids, as the extra sugar can also impair your brain. Make sure you're drinking plenty of pure, clean H2O on the regular. 

Those reheated leftovers 

Plastic dishes are so convenient! Unfortunately, they are also not doing your brain any favors. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a common industrial chemical added to plastics to make them more durable, but the chemical also interferes with brain function by killing neurons, which can lead to mood problems and an impaired memory, according to a study published by the National Academy of Science. To avoid BPA and other similar chemicals, ditch plastic food containers, or at least stop microwaving food in plastic dishes.  

Your pasty white skin 

Feeling confused, depressed, and indecisive? A walk in the fresh air and sunshine may be the best remedy. A 2014 study conducted by The American Academy of Neurology found that people with extremely low blood levels of vitamin D were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia than those with normal levels, says Lauren Zimmerman Cook, CEO of AEC Living.  

Those pesticides you just sprayed on your grass 

Call it a side effect of modern living, but we are surrounded by toxins in our air, in our water, and in our food. Unfortunately, these can take a major toll on brain health, particularly as they accumulate over time, says psychotherapist Toni Coleman. Pollution can interfere with how your neurotransmitters function, both in your brain and in your gut's microbiome, which regulate mood, thinking, memory, and cognition, she adds. 

That office lunch you always skip 

"Social isolation leads to loneliness, which can have a dramatic impact on your brain," says Bryan Bruno, MD, depression specialist and medical director at Mid City TMS. "Without daily social engagement, the brain loses its ability to stay sharp and experiences a much higher chance of developing dementia. Those suffering from isolation show less neural activity in the brain's ventral striatum, which is part of the brain's reward center and plays an important role in learning." Bottom line: Even if you're an introvert, you still need other people.  

Your raging sweet tooth 

Any foods with added sugar, including "healthy" foods like juice and smoothies, can lead to poor cognitive function in the short term, and Alzheimer's disease or dementia in the long term, says MaryAnhthu Do, MD, a neurologist with the Neurosciences Institute at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois. It's OK to have a treat sometimes, just make sure it's a treat and not a staple, she says.  

The tablet propped up on your lap 

Whether you're constantly on your laptop, refuse to leave without your tablet, or are attached at the hip (literally) to your smartphone, all that tech is taking a toll on your brain, says Michelle Robin, DC, wellness practitioner and chiropractor. "Instead of having downtime and letting our minds wander, we reach for our phone as soon as we have to stand in line, when we do something as simple as walk down the hall, and while we are waiting for a meeting to start," she says. Depending on devices to distract and entertain you keeps you from thinking deeply, being creative, working through problems, and connecting with the people around you, she adds. 

Top 8 Natural Remedies to Help Fibromyalgia

If you’re suffering from the pain and achiness of fibromyalgia, you may be feeling frustrated with typical drug options, most of which have minimal effectiveness for the condition. Fortunately, there are many natural approaches to the disorder.
Fibromyalgia is a type of arthritis. Doctors classify it as a syndrome, which means that it is a collection of seemingly unconnected symptoms, with the main one being unaccountable pain in the muscles (myo means muscle and algia means pain). The cause of syndromes is uncertain, but in the case of fibromyalgia, it often starts after an illness, injury or trauma. In addition to pain, there are often many other symptoms.
Here are the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia (however you should get a diagnosis from your physician to rule out any other possible conditions):
-widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body lasting for at least three months
-tenderness in at least eleven of the eighteen specified tender points implicated in fibromyalgia  
-generalized aches or stiffness of at least three anatomic sites for at least three months
-exclusion of other disorders that are known to cause similar symptoms
Here are some of the best natural ways to address fibromyalgia:

Eliminate Possible Food Sensitivities

Stay clear of foods you may be sensitive to. The most common ones include wheat and gluten-containing grains such as barley, spelt, oats, rye, kamut, amaranth and millet. Avoid milk and dairy products, sugar (in any form since it depletes the immune system—use the herbal extract stevia instead), artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, alcoholic beverages, caffeinated foods and beverages, soft drinks, food additives, colors and preservatives, and peanuts (since the aflatoxins that grow on peanuts worsens symptoms—opt for almond butter instead.) Most of these foods cause or aggravate inflammation in the body.

Use Tarragon in Your Diet

Research in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology found that tarragon has significant analgesic effects. Additionally, it is also a natural anti-inflammatory remedy, which makes it a great choice for fibromyalgia. It is available in extracts as well, which are ideal for getting medicinal doses of tarragon on a daily basis. Follow package directions for the product you select. 

Eat a Plant-Based Diet

The lymphatic system of people with fibromyalgia is often congested. The lymphatic system is involved with removing waste matter from the muscles and other soft tissues of the body but it can become overburdened with our typical diet high in meat, dairy, sugar and other inflammatory foods. Fruits, vegetables and sprouts are among the best foods to cleanse the lymphatic system.

Supplement with Magnesium and Malic Acid

Deficiencies in malic acid and magnesium are common among fibromyalgia sufferers. They support the muscular system and energy production at the cellular level. Some nutritional formulations combine the nutrients, making them ideal for using with fibromyalgia. Follow package directions for the product you choose.

Take Ginger to Alleviate the Pain

Use 1 to 5 grams of gingerroot daily to increase circulation to the muscles and to reduce pain. Do not use with blood-thinning drugs as ginger may thin the blood as well.

Drink More Water

Drink eight to ten cups of pure, filtered water or freshly-made vegetable and fruit juices every day.

Add an Enzyme Supplement

Most people with fibromyalgia suffer from poor digestion, which makes nutritional deficiencies common with the disease. After all, if you can’t digest food properly you won’t be able to extract the many essential nutrients out of the food. These nutrients form the building blocks of every cell in your body. Choose a high-quality full-spectrum enzyme supplement and take with every meal to support digestion and nutrient absorption. Follow package directions for the product you select.

Take Bromelain to Ease Inflammation and Pain

Extracted from pineapples, this enzyme normally works on digesting the natural proteins found in the fruit; however, when it is taken on an empty stomach it works on pain and inflammation in the body. Three to 5 capsules of a 5000 MCU potency of bromelain twice daily on an empty stomach is a typical dose for fibromyalgia.