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“Did you know certain foods can actually affect how your body responds to stress? These so-called super foods can also help shield the body from craving foods high in fat, salt and sugar. Think brain chemical boosters.
Serotonin, neuroepherine, all of these different neurotransmitters will affect how you feel…
Serotonin is a brain chemical thought to boost mood, curb cravings, even help you sleep better. To up this chemical dietitians recommend whole wheat bread or pasta, brown rice, and oatmeal. Also on the list: foods rich in B6 such as poultry, seafood, bananas, potatoes and leafy greens. Foods rich in Omega 3s can also help. Those include salmon, tuna, mackerel walnuts and canola oil.
Low levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine may cause depression irritability and moodiness. Experts say these neurotransmitters depend on adequate amounts of tyrosine to function. You can find this amino acid in almonds, avocados, bananas, dairy products and pumpkin seeds.
Acetyllcholine is another neurotransmitter associated with for good mental function and memory. Boost levels by eating wheat germ, eggs, beef, cauliflower, tofu and peanut butter.”
Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison have shown that nasal irrigation helps improve both smell and taste by getting rid of scent-blocking gunk inside your schnoz.
How to do it: Dissolve a quarter-teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water. Press your ear to your shoulder and, using a neti pot (amazon.com sells ’em for $12 a pop), pour the solution into your upper nostril then watch it stream out the lower one.
Germophobes, beware: Noxious fumes from sprays and scouring products can kill your sense of smell along with all that nasty bacteria. Instead, scrub down your tubs, basins, and countertops with vinegar-based or other “green” cleaning products, like Deidre Imus’s Greening the Cleaning spray ($5, lnt.com).
You know that a head cold can temporarily play havoc with your sense of smell. But did you also know that the more colds you get, the more you risk hurting your sniffer for good?
“If the receptor cells inside your nose become damaged by cold viruses, it can cause permanent injury,” according to R.I. Henkin, M.D., of the Taste and Smell Clinic in Washington, DC. So cold prevention is key.
Top on doctors’ lists: Keep your hands clean: Scrub up for at least 30 seconds each time you wash.
“Bamboo wind chimes. I could listen to them for hours.” –Dana Brady, Davenport, FL
“A train whistle in the distance. It gives me an incredible feeling of freedom.” –Tracy McGinty, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
“A beer being cracked open.” –Jennifer George, Wilson, NC
Chuck the standard-issue iPod earbuds and replace them with clamor-canceling headphones. “Blocking out background sound enables you to keep the volume lower,” says Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., executive director of the Better Hearing Institute in Washington, DC.
If you’re willing to drop some cash and don’t mind looking like a DJ, go top drawer: Bose QuietComfort 3 ($350,bose.com). Low on dough? The JVC HA-NCX77 Noise Canceling Earbuds ($45, circuitcity.com) leave you with cash for downloads.
When listening to a song, pay close attention to each instrument. Don’t concentrate on just the cowbell in “Don’t Fear the Reaper”; focus on the guitars, then the drums, then the lead singer’s pseudo-British pronunciations.
“By training your ears to single out individual sounds–which helps your brain recognize them more easily in the future–you can sharpen your hearing,” says William Luxford, M.D., an associate at the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles.
According to a recent study at the University of Rochester, playing video action games improves the spatial resolution of your vision. That means it’s easier to zero in on and pick something out of a crowd–like locating Waldo’s striped shirt.
That would be Bugs, not one of Hef’s babes. Lutein and beta-carotene, antioxidants found in carrots, have been shown to help stave off macular degeneration, a disease that causes a blurred or blind spot in the middle of your field of vision.
A recent National Institutes of Health study found that beta-carotene supplements don’t do bupkis, so get your nutrients at the dinner table. (Other rich sources of beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, apricots, and broccoli.)