The BrainReady Brain Health Blog

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VEGF - No, it's not a new vegetable.


Depression is a terrible thing. 

Whilst many of us may not understand it, I’m sure we all know someone who suffers from it. In fact, I’ve seen reports that show more than one in 20 Americans over age 12 suffer from depression, with higher rates among women, blacks and baby boomers aged 40 to 59.

It is of course much more than someone’s inability to accept his or her circumstances – there is a biological reason. Studies have shown a link between the likes of depression and bipolar disorder with the size of one particular region in the brain, the…

Don't Let Depressing Lead to Depression


The current financial crisis is of course dominating the news headlines -- and thus for many of us, dominating our minds. It's painful to watch our investments dwindling, making those home mortgages ever more daunting, putting home ownership at risk.

It’s all we read about these days, and it is no secret that this information overload can leave us with a serious sense of anxiety and a lack of control. The World Health Organisation has already predicted that by 2020 mental depression in Western countries will become the second highest global…

Binaural Beats to Help Meditate

As well as the Brainflex exercises and improving our eating habits to include the right foods and supplements, reducing stress is another key component for getting your brain functioning in peak performance.

In previous blogs we’ve touched on the benefits of music and some aspects of meditation – now let’s look at a combination of the two. Meditation can stop the stress response and slow your heart rate, calm your breathing and reduce cortisol levels.

However many people find meditation difficult to grasp at first. 

This is because our minds…

Sharpen your listening skills

Are you listening……?


Like everyone else, the Brainready team often gets accused of not listening. It’s not that we don’t try; we just have so many thoughts running through our head and can’t focus on everything.

So how can we all avoid distractions, get rid of the brain fog and stop getting lost in our own thoughts?

Attentive listening is not only a skill, but also a process that can actually help focus your thoughts and stop your mind wandering.

Like your parents used to say – “pay attention’.

Attention is the cognitive process of selectively…

Is Pizza Seasoning the New Superfood?


Is Pizza Seasoning the New Superfood?

Just when you thought there couldn’t be any further breakthrough news about the common herbs and spices often used in cooking, something like this comes out of nowhere.  

How about an herb that has 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges
and 4 times more than blueberries?

Surely this must be some rare, exotic herb found only in the impassable upper reaches of the Himalayas, right? 

Try your household spice rack instead.

Yes, in addition to making…

Yerba Mate vs. Coffee: Which is Healthier?


At BrainReady, we've covered the brain health and longevity-related benefits of just about every natural drink one could think of; from Matcha green tea to cocoa to the differences between espresso and regular coffee, the list of health-fueling natural choices can be almost overwhelming if you're trying to pick the right one for you.

But we'd be remiss if we didn't add Yerba Mate (pronounced "yair-ba mah-tay") to the list, particularly with so many BrainReady readers asking us how it stacks up against the surprisingly nutrient-rich coffee -- in…

Cinnamon - the new brain & health food?

BrainReady Best Brain Supplements, Part 2: PS


The BrainReady Guide to the Best Brain Supplements, Part 2: PS 

Our second entry in the BrainReady Best Brain Supplements series (be sure to see our first post on vinpocetine) is Phosphatidylserine, the hard-to-pronounce-and-spell natural supplement more commonly referred to as 'PS'. 

Phosphatidylserine is a naturally occurring molecule known as a phospholipid, and has been shown to be important for the integrity and maintenance of the brain cell membranes. Because it is depleted by stress hormones such as cortisol, it is often deficient in…

Prepare for the REAL Matcha Revolution...

We've all heard the hype about green tea being good for us, which also helps explain the unprecedented recent explosion of green tea drinks, foods, supplements, even deserts.

But don't be fooled by clever back-of-bottle marketing such as, "Now with EGCG!" or the overused, "Contains green tea antioxidants!"....which makes it sounds like literally anything containing a microscopic amount of low-grade green tea extract is going to give you the kind of health benefits that true high-quality, whole-leaf, shade-grown, fresh Tencha-grade green tea…

Will You Need to Work at Age 86?


Will you be working at age 86? Probably. What about 94? 102?

Ah, the mid-life crisis.  

Many of us have experienced them, particularly those in the rapidly expanding baby-boomer age range, yet even those in their late 30's and early 40's are increasingly showing the signs. From "what should I do with the rest of my life?" musings all the way to terrifying realizations that you're nowhere near on track for a retirement, ever, the importance of planning for a happy fulfilling future has never been more critical. 

But there's far more to the coming…

Rooibos for Brain, Body and More?


Before you think, "wait...yet ANOTHER tea I should be drinking?", stay with us --  this one is truly different. 

And happens to be caffeine-free, unlike the other teas we've been discussing here on the BrainReady Health Blog. Yes, this is one you can drink anytime, including right before bed as a calming, settling way to wind down your day while fueling your brain and body with a truly mind-blowing array of nutritional elements that surprisingly few people still know about. 

But that's about to change, as the word is finally getting out about

Less Coffee, More Espresso?


Should you skip the coffee, and "make it a double" instead?

By now you've undoubtedly heard that most of the scientific community has come
around on coffee: yes, coffee has been shown to have significant beneficial health
effects when consumed in moderation, which means two to three servings a
day for most people (obviously anyone with caffeine sensitivities or any contraindications should consult their doctor before consuming). 

From lowering your risk of Parkinson's Disease, Diabetes and colon cancer to boosting mental performance and brain…

Move Over, Brown Rice - Go Wild!


You may already know that choosing brown rice over white rice is among the possible brain-healthy, body-friendly dietary choices you can make to help reduce your overall intake of blood sugar-raising, high simple carbohydrate foods -- the foods (and drinks) which provide little nutrition while promoting the sugar-high rollercoaster process causing everything from obesity, fatigue, emotional crashes, even increasing risk of dementia. 

While white rice is certainly among the lesser of the modern dietary evils, particularly compared to the likes…

No More Milk In Your Tea? Here's why...


With all of the press coverage about the wonderful health benefits of tea in all its myriad forms, including the many discussions regarding the specific brain health & anti-aging benefits that we've covered here at BrainReady, more and more people around the world are adding some form of tea into their daily diet. 

From black teas to green teas to Matcha green tea powder Ooolong to white teas and the many in between, there's been something of a worldwide tea Renaissance in recent years, with some people looking for a caffeinated alternative to…

Hemp – The Perfect Brain Health Food?


Few natural food sources have withered as much confusion, controversy and misinformation (and lack of information) as hemp – which is unfortunate, and even ironic, given that it is one of the world’s most perfect foods. 

Actually, it goes far beyond food, as this super-plant has also been used for centuries as a wonderful source of fibers for clothing and accessories, soaps and oils, and much more. It's even rumored to be the world's "oldest food" consumed by modern man.

But even despite the recent hemp boom which has hit the nutrition &…

B Vitamins, Bioavailability, and Your Brain


(Before reading the following article, we'd like to introduce Dr. Carl Hansen, Jr., M.D., and his wonderful example: a doctor with a deep passion for and knowledge of brain health, how vitamins and nutrients play a truly vital role in keeping one's brain healthy and even reversing decline, and frustration about the fact that most other supplement products on the market used either cheap versions of key nutrients in forms that our bodies can't make use of, or uninformed combinations and dosages of vitamins that negated their possible benefits,…

Ginkgo is Back – Memory, Alzheimer’s & more?


Of all the ‘brain herbs” out there, Ginkgo Biloba has experienced more of a rollercoaster in popularity than any other.

From an initial surge of excitement as the brain-enhancing supplement of choice, followed by over-saturation of available products on the shelves, to being eclipsed by other natural brain tonics (and back and forth again more than once since then), this venerable ancient Chinese herb may have good reason to be back in favor again…this time for good. 

And for those suffering from the all-too-common, “the word I’m trying to think…

7 Easy Ways to Get Your Brain Back Into Shape in '08


Whether it's those earnest New Year's resolutions or an upcoming feared birthday that will put you into that next age bracket, many people find themselves reaching the, "Okay, that's I really need to start doing X, stop doing Y, and exercise Z times per week and eat more vegetables in 2008!"

These personal inflection points are often, if not always, focused on improving one's physical body and health -- the things that people see when looking at us, image-related and often fueled in part by the bombardment of media & advertising. 

Salmon and your brain: before you buy salmon again...

Curry On Your Mind...


We wrote about the health benefits of turmeric in our earlier BrainReady Blog piece, "The Ultimate Anti-Aging Spice?", and now there's even more reason to choose that Indian restaurant instead of the steak house.

One of the compounds in turmeric (the yellow spice that gives Indian curry its yellow color), "may help stimulate immune system cells that gobble up the brain-clogging proteins that mark Alzheimer's disease", according to exciting new research by the University of California Los Angeles.

In fact, this isolated compound appears to,

Do Different - for Mental Health?


How many of us find ourselves sticking to our daily and weekly routines: going through the same basic actions, tasks, places and times most days of the week?

Or are those routines more like ruts, albeit comfortable and familiar ones? Ah, but routines are GOOD we think: they’re derived out of long-learned efficiencies, what we like and don’t like, what seems to work best and not work best. Why mess around and take a risk on doing things differently when there’s a chance that we won’t like it, or derive benefit from it?

Well, there’s a very…

Aromatherapy: Real or Bunk?


You've seen it on everything from shampoo bottles to skin lotions, teas and throat lozenges, candles, salons and spas, and now even gum: Aromatherapy, a term which has often been associated with helping to treat and heal a variety of human ailments, from mild to severe -- yet for most people conjures vague notions of relaxing in nice-smelling bathtub with candles. 

But Aromatherapy is actually a very serious area of practice, a fusion of holistic medicine and art, for the many worldwide proponents who believe that it should be considered with…

Mind Mapping: Preparing to be Brain-Ready


Mind Mapping: Preparing to be Brain-Ready...

By special guest contributor Dr. Stephen Lundin, Ph.D

Readers of are well aware of the benefits of a brain-healthy lifestyle.  And many of you, like me, are particularly interested in making sure your memory functions as well as it can, now and as you get older. As you read this article, try to adopt a different perspective on your memory:  rather than focusing on "getting things out of your memory banks", I'd like you to consider how you put things into your memory…

The Best Natural Brain Supplements, Part 1: Memory Loss? Vinpocetine can help...

French Madiran Wine Best for Longer Life?


Should you dump that glass of Pinot and switch to French Madiran wine?

By now you've probably heard the news that moderate consumption of red wine has been shown across numerous studies to provide a variety of health benefits, with much of the recent focus on one particular component present in red wine, Resveratrol. 

But unfortunately, despite the excitement around the findings about Resveratrol (as we've covered in our past Blog piece, "Red Wine, but Which Kind?") which showed impressive longevity benefits when comparatively…

Buddhism and Your Brain Health?


When Buddhism, neuroscience and brain training collide, wonderful things can you? 

The ongoing march of scientific progress is commonly viewed as separate, or at least distinct, from such areas as philosophy and religion, particularly in the West. And for many, trying to apply new learning or research findings to our everyday, practical busy lives is difficult at best; we hear a nugget there, we read a snippet there, but seldom do we encounter truly life-changing, mind-shaping new knowledge. Particularly knowledge that combine the…

Take Up Video Games, To Keep Your Brain Healthy?


When many of us hear the word, "video games", instant visions of spikey-haired, pizza-chomping, pierced teenagers with faces glowing from large screens may be among the first thoughts to arise. 

Or perhaps more innocent memories of PacMac, Pong, Space Invaders or Asteroids set in dark noisy rooms at the local shopping mall or corner pizza restaurant. Whatever your reaction, the popular notion for decades (yes, video games have been around that long now) has been that video games are somehow bad for you, brain-draining, and somehow far worse…

Sage Advice

Eat Your Chocolate...and Walnuts? (updated)

More Reason To Exercise Your Brain!


Yes, now there's even more reason to take brain exercise seriously: a new widely-acclaimed study by Rush University Medical Center involving over 700 Americans showed that mental stimulation -- including brain exercises, going to the museum or theater, reading and other mentally stimulating activities -- helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

The study participants averaged 80 years of age at the start of the study, and underwent yearly cognitive testing for up to five years. During the study, 90 people developed Alzheimer's disease, 102…

Music For Your Brain Health?


One of the most frequent questions that people have been emailing us about here at BrainReady recently is, "What about music as brain health booster?". 

With all of the focus on foods, drinks, dietary changes and exercise that we've (rightly) covered here given the significant impact that these things can have on one's brain health and brainpower, it's easy to overlook the larger topic of music (or the meta-topic of sound in general) as applied to cognitive enhancement. 

Most of us have already heard the loose rumor that "classical music is good…

Cut Diabetes Risk to Prevent Alzheimer’s?

Cut Diabetes Risk to Prevent Alzheimer's? (by BrainReady special guest contributor Dr. Susan Parsons, MD)

In my last article for BrainReady ("Avoid the Dreaded 'D'"), I discussed the nature of both Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.  I explained the disabling symptoms, the underlying pathology, and some of the risk factors associated with these diseases.

The bad news about Alzheimer’s disease?  Genetics and age increase your risk.  Obviously you can’t change your genes or the passage of time.

The good news?   You can cut your risk of dementia…

Is Your Brain Plastic?

Actually, plastic is far too simple of a substance to serve as a metaphor for what your brain is really like -- the truth is far more exotic, practically bordering on science fiction. We're talking about brain plasticity, more formally known in science circles as neuroplasticity, and it's perhaps the single most exciting area of brain-related research in recent years (you've probably seen that word in the press or heard it on the news).

So what is brain plasticity and why is it relevant to me? At its most basic definition, neuroplasticity is…

Avoid The Dreaded 'D'


Avoid The Dreaded D - Dementia (by BrainReady special guest contributor Dr. Susan Parsons, MD)

Most of us fear the loss of brain function as we get older.  In fact, that may be why you are here at BrainReady.  Maybe Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia have affected your parents, grandparents, or other loved ones. 

Is there anything you can do to prevent or forestall this malady?  I’m happy to report:  Yes, there are things you can do now. 

How you live right now may affect the quality of your life as you grow older.  You can improve…

Walk Your Brain to Health?


Wait a minute...WALKING?!

It's no secret that physical exercise is good for your body: cardiovascular health, muscle tone, flexibility, the works.

But as you've probably recently heard, it's also good for keeping your brain healthy, which is of course dandy news if you're already a runner, biker, swimmer or gym rat -- but what about regular people? What about those who just can't take the time, physical demands, or (often annoying, crowded) gym environments?

Good news for you and your brain: the simple activity of walking has recently been shown…

The Top 5 Brain Health Foods

top5The BrainReady Top 5 Brain Health Foods

Many of you have asked us for a simple list of the very best, proven natural foods & drinks for optimum brain (and body) health.

Ah, everyone loves lists these days, it seems. So while there are numerous natural foods, drinks, herbs and supplemental products that possess brain & body-enhancing properties, we've done the research for you and created a list of five all-natural, widely-available foods that we believe represent the BrainReady Top 5 Brain Health Foods in the world.

How did we pick? Our list is…

Folate - Take 5 Years off your Brain Age?

folateThat sounds almost too good to be true: a food or supplement that can take 5 years off your brain's age?

That's right, folic acid isn't just for pregnant mothers anymore. A landmark research study  at the University of Wageningen, Netherlands and published in The Lancet, showed that high-dose folic acid supplements take over a long period slows the effects of aging on the brain, and "tests showed performance on memory and speed of thinking tasks was comparable to that of people five years younger".


The 818 study participants, aged 50 to…

Nine Lives of Innovation

catsCATS: The Nine Lives of Innovation

By Dr. Stephen C. Lundin, Ph.D (BrainReady Special Guest contributor)

I am presently on a four-week speaking tour in Australia and New Zealand and have been pondering how to put your amazing brain to work on something that has kept the world clothed, fed, housed and entertained since the time we first stood upright.  That would of course be innovation.  And would you believe your brain has a love-hate relationship with innovation? It's true.

CATS: The Nine Lives of Innovation, to be published in Australia this…

Fish Oil Supplements, or Not?


By now you've surely heard about the benefits of "essential fatty acids" (EFA's) -- those good-for-you fats rich in Omega-3/EPA/DHA -- the brain-friendly, heart-friendly, longevity-friendly fatty acids found primarily in cold-water fish such as wild salmon, mackerel and sardines, as well as in walnuts, Acai berries, flax seeds, olive oil, and some other foods.

Those of you who've read our BrainReady Blog feature on wild salmon versus farm-raised salmon know that wild-caught fish, and wild salmon in particular, are one of the best sources of…

Acai - For Real?


Ah, Acai. You've probably seen that word, proudly listed on many of the newer health-focused juices available, or perhaps appearing in pill form at health food and vitamin stores. Yet how many of us actually know what Acai really is, where it comes from, what form is best to take, and most importantly WHY we should even consider taking it in the first place?

And that's a good thing to ask such questions, as just because a product may say it has Acai in it, that actually means very little about whether you'll actually be getting any of the…

Brain Tips for Busy People (Pt.2)

peoplewalkingWe're back with more tips for you to help squeeze some active brain exercises into your already busy daily routine.  If you haven't read Part 1 of our 'Brain Tips for Busy People' series, be sure to give it a quick read... as you'll learn about how to turn one of the most mundane, routine things you probably do everyday into an incredibly productive anti-aging opportunity (among other tips).

If you recall from Part 1, we referenced some free foreign language podcasts to help you re-awaken those old foreign language skills and activate your…

Brain Tips for Busy People (Pt.1)


One of the appeals of brain-boosting foods & supplements is that we can usually manage to squeeze them into our already-busy lives: we already need to eat, we take a multivitamin, we make time for these things. So it's not a stretch to add more foods and supplements that have added benefits.

But when it comes to making brain exercises a routine, daily activity, it can be hard to find the time to fit it in, or even to remember to do it (ah, the paradox...).

Chances are, you're not only taking care of your own life, but you're also caring for…

Memorize 22,514 Numbers?

synes2_textmediumBy Dr. Stephen Lundin, Ph.D

For my third BrainReady guest Blog contribution, I'd like to follow up on the topic of Association that we discussed in my last piece, expanding to the fascinating area of Synesthesia.

Many of you hopefully gasped in awe if you saw the recent story on the television show 60 Minutes, when Daniel Tammet recited the first 22,514 digits of pi in a five-hour demonstration of his memory capabilities.  No, he made no mistakes. Not one digit was out of sequence or forgotten during his continuous five-hour recitation of his…

The Truth About Sleep and Your Brain


Let's face it: a good night's sleep seems to be harder and harder to come by these days.

With "always-on" connections and media such as mobile phones, email, text messages, on-demand TV, new music/shows/magazines/updates, and obsessive web site checking -- there are more elements constantly begging for our attention than at any time in history.

And then there's the explosion of caffeinated beverage consumption, some of which have dietary health benefits as we've discussed in previous BrainReady features, but on the flip side may not be doing…

The Ultimate Anti-Aging Spice?


Walk in to any health food shop or even grocery store these days and you'll bottles upon bottles of herbal pills, ranging from the familiar-sounding ones all the way to the exotic and bizarre.

Which ones are good, which ones do I need to take, should I be taking ALL of these, or do I need any at all?

While we won't get into the complex and highly debatable area of herbal medicine in this article, there is one very popular and time-honored food-based spice (that also happens to taste incredibly great) that just might qualify as the ultimate

The #1 Brain Tip: Association


By Dr. Stephen Lundin, Ph.D

For my second BrainReady guest Blog contribution, I'd like to talk about something that is central to understanding how your brain works: Association.

If you were allowed to know only one thing about your brain, my vote would be for the following central concept: Your brain functions according to the laws of association, not the laws of linearity.

You don’t remember things based on the order they were learned, your remember things based on their associations.

If you seek to get the most from your brain, there isn’t…

A User's Manual for your Brain


BrainReady is thrilled to feature our first special guest Blog contributor, Dr. Stephen C. Lundin, Ph.D, who many of you may already be familiar with (and a fan of) from the hit book series "FISH!" (over 6 million sold worldwide), the new , and his numerous public speaking appearances around the globe over the last decade.

We are honored that "Dr. Tuna", as he is sometimes affectionately known, has partnered with BrainReady to share his knowledge and wisdom on the human with all of us...

The Hilarious Wonder Drug

Stay blue all winter long?

Try this and amaze yourself (and friends)!

Easiest Way to Boost Mental Performance?

Red Wine, but Which Kind?

2 + 5 = more brainpower, less mental decline

Brain foods and more...

blueberries2The Power of Blue, and You
You’ve probably heard that blueberries are good for you. But there's more to that purplish-blue color than meets the eye, particularly where you brain is concerned. And we're not just talking high antioxidant levels! 

Would you believe that eating this tasty, low-glycemic superfood  every day was found by the USDA and Tufts University to slow and even REVERSE age-related brain decline, as well as improve short-term memory loss and help reverse age-related loss of balance?! Blueberries are a truly a Superfood for…

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