Nutrition Health Review

FALL 2017

Nutrition Health Review provides consumers updates on the latest medical research, news, trends, and products in nutrition and healthy living.

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18 N u t r i t i o n H e a l t h Rev i ew • • • Puzzle games can improve mental flexibility, study shows. Have you ever heard of the popular video game Cut the Rope? If you haven't, it's a fun game for all ages that can be downloaded onto your phone through your phone's applicaƟon store. Cut the Rope is a complex puzzle game, with the objecƟve being to get a piece of candy into the mouth of a liƩle cartoon monster. The candy is aƩached to a series of ropes, and players must cut these ropes in a strategic manner in order to swing the piece of candy around obstacles and into the monster's mouth. During the study, conducted at Nanyang Technological University and published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior in 2014, students played either Cut the Rope or another designated game for one hour a day for four weeks. Upon compleƟon, cogniƟve tests showed that players of Cut the Rope saw improvement in mental flexibility and ability to adapt and focus. ParƟcipants selected to play games other than Cut the Rope did not see these same effects. BOOKS ON THE BRAIN: READING FOR ENHANCED COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE A study from 2013 published in the Journal of the American Academy of Neurology suggests that sustaining a habit of reading throughout one's life can significantly decrease mental decline in old age. For this study, 294 elderly people were given thinking and memory tests every year for six years. In addiƟon, the parƟcipants completed surveys that determined how oŌen they parƟcipated in mentally sƟmulaƟng acƟviƟes, such as reading and wriƟng, throughout their lives and in the present day. AŌer parƟcipants died, their brains were examined for evidence of the physical signs of demenƟa, such as lesions, brain plaques, and tangles. The study found that the rate of decline was reduced by 32 percent in people with frequent mental acƟvity in late life, compared to average mental acƟvity, while the rate of decline of those with infrequent acƟvity was 48-percent faster than those with average acƟvity. This is great news for everyone reading this issue. Keep it up! It's good for your brain. Eigh ings You Ca o Prevent a Stroke A ccording to Harvard Health, advancing in age and/or having a relative that has suffered a stroke increase the likelihood of a stroke; however, they provide eight lifestyle changes that can help prevent strokes. 1. Lower blood pressure. Reduce salt and cholesterol in your diet 2. Eat well. Aim for 4 to 5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day, 2 to 3 servings of fish per week, and daily servings of whole grains and low-fat dairy 3. Exercise. Achieve at least 30 minutes of exercise each day (aim for more if possible). 4. Quit smoking! As if there weren't enough reasons to quit, smoking accelerates clot formation by thickening your blood and increasing the amount of plaque buildup in the arteries. 5. Mind your weight. Obesity, along with comorbidities such as diabetes and high blood pressure, increase your chance of stroke. If your body mass index (BMI) classifies you as overweight, losing as little as 10 pounds can have a significant impact on your risk of stroke. 6. Cut back on alcohol. Drink in moderation— aim for no more than one alcoholic beverage per day. Your best choice is a 5-ounce glass of red wine, which contains resveratrol, thought to protect both your heart and brain. 7. Treat atrial fibrillation. This condition is a form of irregular heartbeat that causes clots to form in the heart. These clots can travel to the brain, causing a stroke. Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include heart palpitations and shortness of breath. 8. Treat diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar and follow treatment guidelines recommended by your doctor in order to keep blood sugar under control and reduce stroke risk. Source: 7 Things You Can Do To Prevent a Stroke. Nov 2017. Harvard Health. you-can-do-to-prevent-a-stroke

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