9 Top Foods To Boost Your Brainpower

By Dr. Mercola

If you could protect your brain against degeneration, nourish your neurons and even boost the production of neurotransmitters just by eating more delicious whole foods… would you do it?

There’s good news for those of you who said yes… you certainly can boost your brainpower with the foods you eat. And if you’re wondering which foods are best for your brain, check out the top nine below.

Eat More of These Top 9 Foods for Brainpower

1. Curry

Curry contains turmeric, a spice that in turn contains the anti-inflammatory antioxidant curcumin. Curcumin is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, which is one reason why it holds promise as a neuroprotective agent in a wide range of neurological disorders.

Research has shown that curcumin may help inhibit the accumulation of destructive beta amyloids in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, as well as break up existing plaques.1 Curcumin has even been shown to boost memory and stimulate the production of new brain cells, a process known as neurogenesis.

A word to the wise… some curry powders may contain very little curcumin compared to straight turmeric powder, so choose the latter for the best health benefits.

2. Celery

Celery is a rich source of luteolin, a plant compounds that may calm inflammation in your brain, which is a primary cause of neurodegeneration. Luteolin has also been linked with lower rates of age-related memory loss in mice.2 In addition to celery, peppers and carrots are also good sources of luteolin.

3. Broccoli and Cauliflower

Broccoli and cauliflower are good sources of choline, a B vitamin known for its role in brain development. Choline intake during pregnancy “super-charged” the brain activity of animals in utero, indicating that it may boost cognitive function, improve learning and memory,
Click here to read on.

 

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Mounting Evidence Suggests Coffee May Actually Have Therapeutic Health Benefits

By Dr. Mercola

For years, physicians have been warning about the negative health effects of drinking coffee. You may have been told that coffee will raise your blood pressure, lead to heart disease, give you an ulcer or make you diabetic. But studies continue to roll in that caste doubt on this “common wisdom.”

Certainly, like anything, coffee should not be used in excess. However, study after study has failed to prove that moderate coffee consumption increases your risk for cardiovascular disease or any other serious illness.

In fact, it’s beginning to look like coffee—at least in moderation—may have a number of unrecognized health-promoting properties. As a result of the rather impressive list of therapeutic benefits, I’ve changed my recommendations about coffee.

One of the latest studies, published in April 2012 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition1, confirms earlier studies that coffee may actually reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Regardless of traditionally ominous warnings that coffee should be avoided, it’s being consumed in massive quantities worldwide. Although it’s inarguable now that coffee does have therapeutic benefits, if you are dousing your cup of Joe in creamer, sugar, and other sweeteners and flavorings, you are missing out on the therapeutic benefits and potentially harming your health.  Click here to read more.

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How Agricultural Chemicals and Hospital Stays Contribute to Alzheimer’s

By Dr. Mercola

It is projected that Alzheimer’s will affect one in four Americans in the next two decades, rivaling the current prevalence of obesity and diabetes. At present, the disease afflicts about 5.4 million Americans.

One of the potential reasons for the skyrocketing increase in Alzheimer’s may be related to rising glyphosate residues in our food supply. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, used in ever-increasing amounts on genetically engineered (GE) crops.

Glyphosate is a potent mineral chelator, binding up minerals like zinc and manganese from being used by the plant, or anyone who eats the plant since it is impossible to wash off glyphosate as it becomes integrated into all the plant cells. Zinc deficiency in turn, is thought to contribute to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

There is still no known cure for Alzheimer’s, and very few treatments. Alzheimer’s drugs are often of little to no benefit, which underscores the importance of prevention. Fortunately, there’s compelling research showing that your brain has great plasticity and capacity for regeneration, which you control through your diet and lifestyle choices.

Avoiding gluten appears to be of critical importance, as is making sure you’re getting plenty of healthful fats (including demonized saturated fats). Fasting also has a remarkably beneficial influence on your brain health. At the end of this article, I share my best tips for avoiding this devastating brain disorder. Click here to read the rest of the article.

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Medicare and Affordable Care Act

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com

If you’re a Medicare recipient and living in retirement, you don’t have to worry too much about the troubled Affordable Care Act, the health care law often referred to as “Obamacare.”

Here are five key points about the law and Medicare from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health care research organization that has been providing reliable information about health insurance reform:

  • People with Medicare can’t sign up for health care plans sold in the Obamacare exchanges or marketplaces. Insurers are prevented from selling marketplace plans to people known to have Medicare.
  • The Affordable Care Act tax penalty that takes effect next year for people who don’t have health insurance does not apply to people covered by Medicare.
  • People on Medicare are not eligible for premium tax credits, the Obamacare subsidies that cut the cost of health insurance. These credits can be used only to purchase insurance plans in the exchanges.
  • Medicare is not sold through the marketplaces. Medicare participants should enroll through Medicare.gov, by calling 1-800-Medicare, or by talking to an insurer who sells Medicare Advantage or Medigap plans.
  • Medicare open enrollment does not coincide with the Affordable Care Act enrollment period. Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7 for current enrollees who want to change their plans. Otherwise, you can enroll in Medicare within three months of your 65th birthday. Factor that schedule into your retirement planning.

Obamacare Medicare enhancements

Health reform has resulted in some improvements to Medicare. The Kaiser Family Foundation points out that the law: Click here to read the rest of the article.

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10 Ways Living with Alzheimer’s Disease Is Like Training for a Marathon

Below is a wonderful blog posting from the website The Dementia Queen.  This blog has a tremendous amount of useful information for those who are struggling with the issue of dementia. Please forward this blog posting and website to anyone you may know who is experiencing this fight.

I have been running for most of my adult life.  For all the physical benefits that come with pounding the pavement several hours a week, I find that the ability to push beyond my perceived limits is the most valuable element inherent in distance running.  In order to go the distance, my mental determination and focus need to be at least as durable as my physical strength.  In some cases, more so.

When I talk to my friends living with Alzheimer’s disease, I find myself repeating idioms and axioms prolific in the running world.  I repeat words of encouragement, about digging deep, about never giving up.  I remind myself of a coach, hoping to instill enough motivation to see the person through another challenge, up a big hill, or over another hurdle.  I remind them that this disease will require sustained effort to manage, and will deplete their reserves unless they are routinely replenished.

Some of my favorite running quotes that I sometimes share with my Alzheimer’s friends:

”Ask yourself:  ’Can I give more?’.  The answer is usually: ‘Yes’.”  – Paul Tergat, a professional marathoner from Kenya

“I had as many doubts as anyone else.  Standing on the starting line, we’re all cowards.”    -Alberto Salazar, three-time winner of the NYC marathon

“Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like the muscles of the body.”
-Lynn Jennings

One caveat worth mentioning: For the 10 similarities listed below, there are thousands of ways that distance running and the Alzheimer’s journey differ- the most glaringly obvious being that marathon training is a choice.

No one ever chooses Alzheimer’s.

Here are 10 ways that the Alzheimer’s battle resembles marathon training: Click here to read the rest of the blog.

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Home Sharing Becomes an Option for Seniors

By Vikki Ortiz Healy of the Chicago Tribune

The roommates share bathrooms and have each other’s shower times memorized. They fold each other’s laundry when someone leaves it in the dryer too long. They play cards together in the afternoon and watch “Dancing With the Stars” together at night.

And they ride along in the ambulance when one takes a bad fall.

It’s a living arrangement none of the seniors imagined for themselves when they were young, married and raising families in their own suburban homes. But time, age and circumstances led the five roommates — two men, three women ranging from 64 to 98 years old — to the red brick house in suburban Lombard, Ill.

There, next door to a young family with a swing set, and across the street from a high school, the seniors share a sprawling ranch as part of a Wheaton, Ill., non-profit organization’s mission to bring a unique housing option to the Chicago area’s elderly population, which is expected to double by 2040, officials said.

The number of people who are growing old in U.S. cities continues to rise. By 2030, one in five residents in the Atlanta region will be over 60, experts say. And according to the 2010 census, people ages 45 to 64 make up the fastest-growing segment in the region, showing the greatest percentage increase between 2000 and 2010.

For the last three decades, Wheaton-based Senior Home Sharing has placed seniors who are self-sufficient, but in search of company, into homes nestled on typical residential neighborhoods. What began as a one-house experiment in Lombard, Ill., has grown to include houses in Naperville, Downers Grove and Elmhurst, Ill., where the seniors get three prepared meals a day and medicine reminders from a live-in house manager. Click here to read on.

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Can Diet Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

By Kristen Stewart from everydayhealth.com

Experts are studying how diet may affect the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Learn the latest research into this memory-robbing disease.

Little in life is as scary as the idea of forgetting our loved ones, our histories, and ourselves. Yet that is exactly what is happening to the more than 5 million people in North America suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Mild forgetfulness in the early years of the disease slowly expands to include serious problems with memory, language, and abstract reasoning until eventually this brain disorder robs its victims of the ability to function.

Despite extensive research, both cause and cure for Alzheimer’s disease remain elusive. Experts theorize that a complicated combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors result in cognitive decline, though they are still working on exactly how it happens and what can be done to prevent it.

One logical area of exploration is diet. While there have been no definitive breakthroughs yet, there are certain foods that are being carefully studied for their specific relationship to Alzheimer’s.

Diet and Alzheimer’s Disease: Omega-3 Fatty Acids and B Vitamins

“A few studies found a correlation between high dietary fish with omega-3 fatty acid intake and a decrease in developing Alzheimer’s,” says Tara Harwood, registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “However, more studies must be conducted before any conclusions can be drawn.”

High levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood, have been associated with the risk of dementia. One avenue being examined is whether increasing intake of folate and vitamins B6 and B12, which break down homocysteine, can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. “Neither vitamin B6 or B12 supplementation has been proven effective,” says Harwood, “but data from one study found a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s for individuals with the highest folate intake.”  Click here to read on.

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Social Security rising 1.5%

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com

Social Security confirmed today that the average cost of living adjustment, or COLA, will be 1.5 percent in 2014 — one of the lowest increases since the program was first adjusted for inflation in 1975.

To put this in perspective: In 1987 and 1999, the COLA was only 1.3 percent. There was no adjustment in either 2010 or 2011. The largest adjustment was in July 1980, when inflation drove up benefits 14.3 percent.

The average Social Security payment for an individual will rise $19 a month from $1,275 to $1,294. The average couple will get $31 more, their benefit rising from $2,080 to $2,111.

In some years, the Social Security increase brought about by the COLA was eaten up by an increase in Medicare Part B, which automatically is subtracted from most people’s Social Security payments. In 2014, Medicare Part B, which covers doctor’s office visits, won’t rise from its current level of $104.90. That’s good retirement planning news.

If you are strictly on the paying end of this and not yet ready for retirement, maximum taxable earnings on which Social Security payroll taxes are levied will rise in 2014 to $117,000, up from $113,700 in 2013. To qualify for Social Security, you must work a total of 40 quarters, earning at least $1,200 a quarter in 2014, up from $1,160 in 2013.

If you are between 62 and full retirement age — 66 for people turning 62 in 2014 — and you continue to work while claiming, you will have to pay back a portion of your Social Security payments if you earn more than $15,480 in 2014. That’s up from $15,120 a year in 2013. The year that you reach full retirement age, you can earn as much as $41,400 without penalty, an increase of $1,320 from 2013.

The COLA also affects benefits for federal government retirees, disabled veterans and people who get Supplemental Security Income, the disability program for the poor. Click her to read on.

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Global study: World not ready for aging population

The world is aging so fast that most countries are not prepared to support their swelling numbers of elderly people, according to a global study being issued Tuesday by the United Nations and an elder rights group.

The report ranks the social and economic well-being of elders in 91 countries, with Sweden coming out on top and Afghanistan at the bottom. It reflects what advocates for the old have been warning, with increasing urgency, for years: Nations are simply not working quickly enough to cope with a population graying faster than ever before. By the year 2050, for the first time in history, seniors older than 60 will outnumber children younger than 15.

Truong Tien Thao, who runs a small tea shop on the sidewalk near his home in Hanoi, Vietnam, is 65 and acutely aware that he, like millions of others, is plunging into old age without a safety net. He wishes he could retire, but he and his 61-year-old wife depend on the $50 a month they earn from the shop. And so every day, Thao rises early to open the stall at 6 a.m. and works until 2 p.m., when his wife takes over until closing.

“People at my age should have a rest, but I still have to work to make our ends meet,” he says, while waiting for customers at the shop, which sells green tea, cigarettes and chewing gum. “My wife and I have no pension, no health insurance. I’m scared of thinking of being sick — I don’t know how I can pay for the medical care.”

Thao’s story reflects a key point in the report, which was released early to The Associated Press: Aging is an issue across the world. Perhaps surprisingly, the report shows that the fastest aging countries are developing ones, such as Jordan, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Vietnam, where the number of older people will more than triple by 2050. All ranked in the bottom half of the index.
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In this Thursday, Sept, 26, 2013 photo, Abdul Wasay, …
In this Thursday, Sept, 26, 2013 photo, Abdul Wasay, 75, sells toothbrushes and toothpaste on a busy …

The Global AgeWatch Index (www.globalagewatch.org) was created by elder advocacy group HelpAge International and the U.N. Population Fund in part to address a lack of international data on the extent and impact of global aging. The index, released on the U.N.’s International Day of Older Persons, compiles data from the U.N., World Health Organization, World Bank and other global agencies, and analyzes income, health, education, employment and age-friendly environment in each country.

The index was welcomed by elder rights advocates, who have long complained that a lack of data has thwarted their attempts to raise the issue on government agendas.

“Unless you measure something, it doesn’t really exist in the minds of decision-makers,” said John Beard, Director of Ageing and Life Course for the World Health Organization. “One of the challenges for population aging is that we don’t even collect the data, let alone start to analyze it. … For example, we’ve been talking about how people are living longer, but I can’t tell you people are living longer and sicker, or longer in good health.”

The report fits into an increasingly complex picture of aging and what it means to the world. On the one hand, the fact that people are living longer is a testament to advances in health care and nutrition, and advocates emphasize that the elderly should be seen not as a burden but as a resource. On the other, many countries still lack a basic social protection floor that provides income, health care and housing for their senior citizens.

Afghanistan, for example, offers no pension to those not in the government. Life expectancy is 59 years for men and 61 for women, compared to a global average of 68 for men and 72 for women, according to U.N. data.
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In this Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013 photo, an elderly man …
In this Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013 photo, an elderly man listens to a speaker at a political rally in Ne …

That leaves Abdul Wasay struggling to survive. At 75, the former cook and blacksmith spends most of his day trying to sell toothbrushes and toothpaste on a busy street corner in Kabul’s main market. The job nets him just $6 a day — barely enough to support his wife. He can only afford to buy meat twice a month; the family relies mainly on potatoes and curried vegetables.

“It’s difficult because my knees are weak and I can’t really stand for a long time,” he says. “But what can I do? It’s even harder in winter, but I can’t afford treatment.”

Although government hospitals are free, Wasay complains that they provide little treatment and hardly any medicine. He wants to stop working in three years, but is not sure his children can support him. He says many older people cannot find work because they are not strong enough to do day labor, and some resort to begging.

“You have to keep working no matter how old you are — no one is rich enough to stop,” he says. “Life is very difficult.”

Many governments have resisted tackling the issue partly because it is viewed as hugely complicated, negative and costly — which is not necessarily true, says Silvia Stefanoni, chief executive of HelpAge International. Japan and Germany, she says, have among the highest proportions of elders in the world, but also boast steady economies.  Click here to read on.

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Alzheimer’s caregiver shares her family’s story

At some point, many caregivers speak of their lives entering a “new normal.” I believe what they’re referring to is entering a time when normal refers to uncertainty, unpredictably and transitions — lots of them.

Transitions are developments triggered by change — a change that must then be incorporated into one’s life. For caregivers, this transition might be the addition of a new responsibility, loss of personal time and independence, or a change in a relationship that once offered security.

Carol is a beautiful woman I know. She’s creative, intelligent and ambitious. She’s a passionate advocate for enhancing the lives of Minnesota families impacted by Alzheimer’s. During a recent conversation, Carol shared with me that the most difficult thing about being a caregiver to her husband with young-onset Alzheimer’s is all of the transitions you go through.

“Even though you can be mentally prepared and realize that the change is coming, you’re never emotionally prepared when it happens. Every time a big transition occurs I cry, mourn the loss, and then roll up my sleeves and figure out what changes I need to make for the new normal,” Carol said.

She described how some transitions are predictable, while others are unforeseen and likely to go unnoticed by those not directly walking this journey. What follows are some of the transitions Carol experienced. If you’re a caregiver, I suspect a couple of these will resonate deeply with you.

The changes before the diagnosis
It’s not very often that we think of a momentous transition happening before a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is made. Click here to read the rest of the story.

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