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How taking breaks helps your brain learn new skills

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Share on PinterestNew brain study highlights a key component in learning new skills. SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

  • Exercise units with exercise rounds that are interrupted by breaks improve the learning of motor skills more effectively than continuous units.
  • A new study used brain scans to investigate how taking breaks from an exercise session can improve motor performance.
  • The study found that the regions of the brain involved in performing the motor task are reactivated during rest, but at a much faster rate.
  • Such repetitions of brain activity patterns occurred several times during the break between exercises, and their frequency was associated with improved motor performance.

The importance of practicing in learning and perfecting new skills, from simple everyday activities to playing an instrument or sport, has stuck in our minds from childhood.

However, periods of rest between these activities or learning units also play a decisive role in increasing performance.

The improvement in skill performance during the rest period results from memory consolidation, which means that the memories formed during the exercise session are strengthened.

Scientists previously believed that the memory consolidation necessary for skill learning occurred during rest, hours or days after the exercise session, especially during sleep.

However, recent studies show that an improvement in motor skills can already occur during a single exercise unit with exercise units that are interrupted by periods of rest. This improvement is mainly due to the memory consolidation that occurs during the periods of rest known as micro offline learning, rather than during the practice fights.

Learning a complex skill, like playing a song on the piano, involves building memories that incorporate several simple actions like pressing a particular key in a particular sequence.

Until recently, scientists did not fully understand the mechanism underlying the waking formation and consolidation of memories involved in learning complex motor skills.

It is known that memory consolidation occurs during sleep through neural reproduction. Neural replay involves strengthening memory by activating the resting regions of the brain in the same order needed to perform the activity or learn a skill.

Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institute of Health, have shown that neural replay events occur during rest periods between exercise sessions and are associated with an increase in skill-learning performance.

The lead author Dr. Leonardo G. Cohen emphasizes the importance of the study: “This is the first demonstration of the waking neural reproduction of a newly learned skill that is evoked by practice in humans.”

“This study is also the first to show that wakeful replay predicts a rapid consolidation of the skills responsible for early learning.”

The results of the study appear in the journal Cell Reports.

The scientists recruited 33 right-handed participants and instructed them to repeat a novel writing skill with their left hand. This included typing the sequence “41324” as often as possible over several 10-second practice fights on a computer screen.

The training session lasted 12 minutes and included 36 10-second practice fights, each separated by a 10-second break.

The scientists used magnetic encephalography (MEG), a highly sensitive brain scanning technique, to record the participants’ brain activity throughout the training session. They also recorded brain activity 5 minutes before and after the training session.

The researchers found that most of the improvements in typing occurred at the end of the first 11 rounds of practice. This improvement was mainly due to micro offline gains observed during the 10 second rest intervals rather than in the practice fights.

During these rest intervals, the brain scans showed neural replay events in a specific brain network that includes the mediotemporal and sensorimotor cortex.

The mediotemporal cortex includes the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, which help encode memories of abstract information.

The sensorimotor cortex comprises regions of the brain that are involved in processing sensory information and planning and executing movements.

The authors speculate that neural replay events affecting the hippocampus and sensorimotor cortex might help solidify the memory of a complex skill by integrating memories related to abstract knowledge and the planning and execution of a motor task.

“The strong involvement of the hippocampal and mediotemporal activity [the] The rendering of procedural motor memory was surprising as it is assumed that this type of memory often does not require hippocampal contributions, ”notes the study’s lead author, Dr. Ethan’s book.

The reactivation of these brain regions occurred 20 times faster than their activation during the actual execution of the typing task.

In addition, these neural repetitions occurred more frequently in the rest intervals of the training session than in the 5 minutes before and after training. The frequency of these neural repetitive events during the rest intervals correlated with the degree of improvement in task performance.

The authors conclude that the rapid and recurring neural repetition events could enhance coordination between the brain regions involved while practicing the skill, resulting in a consolidation of memories and improved motor performance.

The authors acknowledge that their study did not demonstrate causality. They warn that “while the correlation between repetition of the trained sequence and micro-offline learning is heavily dependent on a direct contribution to the [the] When consolidating skills, causality does not have to be proven in animals or humans. “

In subsequent studies, the authors intend to investigate the causal role of neural replay events in enhancing motor learning by using non-invasive brain stimulation techniques to amplify or disrupt neural replay events.

Ultimately, understanding the repetitive wake characteristics that are important for skill learning could lead to the optimization of therapy plans or the identification of better brain stimulation strategies aimed at improving rehabilitation outcomes after brain lesions such as a stroke, says Dr. Cohen.

Whole Grain Benefits

10 Easy Tips for Lowering Your Processed Food Intake

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Processed foods are any foods that have been canned, cooked, frozen, pasteurized, or packaged.

As part of a healthy diet, you can enjoy many processed foods, including canned vegetables, frozen fruits, and pasteurized dairy products. However, some highly processed products are loaded with salt, sugar, additives, and preservatives that can be harmful to your health.

Reducing your intake of these highly processed foods is one of the most effective ways to improve your health and improve the quality of your diet.

When people ask me for nutritional advice, one of the first things I recommend is avoiding processed foods.

Here are 10 simple, sustainable, and realistic strategies to help you eat less processed foods.

If you’re running out of time, grabbing a pre-packaged snack on the way out can be tempting.

However, if you stock your kitchen with plenty of portable, nutritious snacks, you can make healthy choices much easier on the go.

Some of my favorite healthy snacks are fresh fruit, mixed nuts, edamame, and vegetables with hummus.

If you have more time, you can also prepare some simple snacks in advance. Hard-boiled eggs, turkey roll-ups, homemade kale chips, and overnight oats are some great goodies that you can make quick and have on hand for later.

One of the easiest ways to cut down on your processed foods is to trade them in for healthier whole foods.

Specifically, you can swap refined grains like white pasta, rice, bread, and tortillas for whole grain alternatives like brown rice and whole wheat pasta, bread, and tortillas.

Whole grains not only contain higher levels of important nutrients such as fiber, but have also been shown to protect against diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer (1).

If you’re feeling adventurous, give your favorite processed foods a healthy touch by recreating them in your kitchen. This gives you complete control over what to put on your plate while experimenting with interesting new ingredients.

For example, you can make vegetable chips by mixing potato, zucchini, beet, or carrot slices with a little olive oil and salt and then baking them until crispy.

Other healthy processed food alternatives that you can make at home include chia pudding, air-popped popcorn, granola bars, and fruit leather.

Personally, I love to cook meals from my favorite restaurants at home instead of ordering take-away. Not only does this save money, but it also makes it easier to eat more whole foods by topping up ingredients like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Sugary drinks like lemonade, sweet tea, fruit juice, and sports drinks are high in sugar and calories but low in essential nutrients.

Gradually swapping these drinks for water throughout the day is a great way to reduce your processed food intake and improve your overall nutritional quality.

Sparkling or flavored water are two great options if plain water isn’t your favorite beverage. Alternatively, you can infuse water with fresh fruits or herbs for an extra taste explosion.

Preparing meals in bulk once or twice a week will ensure that you have plenty of nutritious meals ready in your refrigerator, even if you are too busy to cook.

It can also be less tempting to drive through the driveway on the way home or to pounce on frozen ready meals when you are short of time.

To start off, choose a few recipes to prepare each week and set a specific time to prepare your meals.

I also prefer to find a few recipes with similar ingredients so I can go through multiple meals during the week to avoid repetition.

When preparing meals at home, add at least one serving of vegetables to increase your intake of healthy, unprocessed foods.

This can be as simple as adding spinach to your scrambled eggs, frying broccoli for an easy side dish, or tossing carrots or cauliflower into soups or casseroles.

Vegetables are very nutritious and good sources of fiber that will keep you feeling full between meals to help reduce your appetite and curb food cravings (2, 3).

It’s much easier to limit your processed food intake when you don’t have one on hand.

The next time you hit the grocery store, fill your shopping cart with healthy, minimally processed ingredients like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

You can also try to stick to the perimeter of the store and avoid the middle aisles where processed snacks and junk food are usually found.

When shopping, be sure to read the labels on your favorite products. If possible, avoid foods high in sodium, trans fats, or added sugars.

There are tons of healthy swaps out there for many processed products. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Swap your sugary breakfast cereal for a bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit.
  • Place popcorn on the stove instead of microwave popcorn.
  • Whip a homemade vinaigrette with olive oil and vinegar to drizzle over salads in place of processed dressings.
  • Make trail mix from nuts, seeds, and dried fruits as a healthy alternative to store-bought varieties.
  • Top your salads with nuts or seeds instead of croutons.

Processed meats like bacon, sausage, lunchtime meat, and hot dogs have several disadvantages and are even classified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (4).

You’ll be happy to hear that there are plenty of easy ways to cut down on processed meats.

For starters, you can simply swap these foods out for less processed meats like fresh chicken, salmon, or turkey. You can also replace prepackaged lunch meats with other sandwich fillings, including tuna salad, chicken breast, or hard-boiled eggs.

Alternatively, you can eat more plant-based proteins like beans, lentils, tofu, or tempeh.

There is no need to completely cut processed foods from your diet at once.

In fact, making changes slowly is often more effective and sustainable in the long run. Some research suggests that minor lifestyle changes help develop lasting habits and make actions that are difficult at first much easier over time (5).

Every week, try experimenting with one or two of the strategies listed above, then gradually implement more.

Remember, as part of a healthy, balanced diet, you may still be happy to eat out or eat processed foods in moderation.

Processed foods are any foods that have been cooked, canned, frozen, or packaged.

While you can eat numerous processed foods as part of a healthy diet, you should limit those high in sodium, sugar, additives, and preservatives.

Try some of the tips outlined in this article to find out what works for you, and remember to make changes slowly for the best results.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Amazing Health Benefits Of Whole Grain Foods

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Whole grains have long been part of the human diet. But proponents of many modern diets like the Paleo diet claim that grain intake is bad for your health. While high consumption of refined grains leads to obesity, inflammation and various metabolic activities.

Nutrient-rich grains

Whole grain products with nutrients include proteins, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants and trace elements (iron, zinc, copper and magnesium). Ingesting whole grains is valuable for various health purposes as it reduces the risk of diabetes and is a supplement to the treatment of heart disease, high blood pressure, and weight loss.

The whole grain consists of three parts: bran, germ and endosperm. Every part of the grain provides health-promoting nutrients. The endosperm is the inner layer of grain that contains carbohydrates, protein, and small amounts of some B vitamins and minerals. The germ is the center of the seed in which growth takes place; This part is filled with vitamin E, healthy fats, vitamin B, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. The bran is the outer layer that is rich in fiber, which provides B vitamins, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals play a prominent role in disease prevention and are natural chemical compounds found in plants that were found in the past.

Nutrients in 100 grams of wheat grains

The nutrients in 100 grams of whole wheat flour contain about 340 calories, 11% water, 13.2 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fats, 10.7 grams of fiber, and 0.4 grams of sugar. In addition to this, whole grain wheat is also a source of several other vitamins and minerals, including selenium, manganese, phosphorus, copper and folate, etc.

Here are the few amazing health benefits of whole grains for those as follows:

Saves against cardiovascular diseases

Consuming whole grains instead of refined grains helps lower cholesterol, lipoprotein cholesterol, insulin rates, and triglycerides, all of which can reduce the risk of fatal heart disease. Whilst whole wheat and the other whole grains even promote intestinal health. In addition, they reduce the risk of colon cancer along with heart disease.

Decrease Your Risk of Obesity

Consuming whole grain foods will help keep you full and prevent new food intake. For this reason, the consumption of high fiber diets is preferred for weight loss. The whole grains are more filled than refined grains and cause a lower risk of obesity. On the other hand, taking three servings of whole grains regularly helps to lower the BMI and to have less belly fat. The whole grain cereal with the addition of bran is associated to cautiously reduce the risk of obesity.

Few grains control diabetes

Few grains control diabetes

Like all whole grains, wheat is mostly made up of carbohydrates and a certain amount of protein. Starch is predominant in carbohydrates, so it affects digestibility, which determines its effect on blood sugar levels. Due to its high digestibility, it leaves behind unhealthy blood sugar peaks, which are particularly harmful to health in diabetics. Likewise, few of the processed wheat products like pasta are digested less well. Therefore, they do not make blood sugar rise to the same extent.

Best for digestive health

The fiber in whole grains helps prevent constipation, a common problem. A high fiber intake is beneficial to avoid diverticulosis (diverticulosis), which reduces the severity of the intestines. Some grains have the naturally occurring protein gluten, while gluten can cause side effects in some people, especially those with celiac disease. Such a disease can damage the small intestine and reduce the absorption of nutrients. Many of the others have eaten gluten all their lives but never caused any side effects to them. So eating whole grains contributes to a healthy diet without causing side effects.

Best used for cat litter purposes

It is always tempting for cat owners to put together the litter box for a cheap price. The natural litter boxes, which are specially made from plant-based materials such as corn and wheat, offer more options for disposal and, above all, they are always the safest and healthiest for the kittens. Best for everyone, the naturally made litter box is beneficial and can be used at a low cost in the long run. They are best for controlling odor and clumsiness, as well as flushability.

Conclusion

Consuming whole grains instead of refined grains is very beneficial for your health. It lowers the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, constipation, cancer, and many more diseases. Fortunately, in this well-stocked world, we have several options to choose from among many healthy whole grains. If you enjoy eating refined grains, switching to whole grains is good for the health benefits.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Whole Grain Labels Confuse People Trying to Pick Healthy Options

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  • A new study found that “whole grain” labels on cereal, bread and crackers can be confusing for people trying to make smarter food choices.
  • To get a “whole grain” label, only 51 percent of a product needs to contain whole grains.
  • Experts found that people often made the wrong decision about which product is healthier when looking at whole grain labeling.

Whole grains may be better for your health, but figuring out which products are healthier by relying on “whole grain” labels can actually make it difficult to make healthy choices.

A new study found that these labels on cereal, bread, and crackers can be confusing for people trying to make smarter food choices.

The report, published in Public Health Nutrition magazine, detailed a survey of 1,030 US adults. Participants were shown photos of real and hypothetical products with food labels. They were asked to identify healthier options for the hypothetical products or to rate the whole grains of the real products.

A significant number of respondents gave the wrong answer as to which product was healthier.

“Our study results show that many consumers cannot properly identify the amount of whole grains they consume or choose a healthier whole grain product,” said Parke Wilde, PhD, study author and professor at Tufts University, in a statement.

The authors wanted to find out if there was a strong legal argument that whole grain labels were misleading. Evidence could support a move for increased labeling requirements.

“I’d say wholegrain claims are among the worst when it comes to fraudulent labels,” added co-author Jennifer L. Pomeranz, assistant professor of public health policy and management at New York University in New York City.

Whole grain labeling has “been a source of confusion and deception for a long time,” said Dr. Amy Burkhart, an integrative medicine doctor and registered nutritionist based in Napa, California. “Many brands use the term whole grain and others to influence customers’ purchasing decisions by creating a facade for a ‘healthy product’.”

The term “whole grain” means that all parts of the kernel are contained in the product, explained Burkhart.

“This is where the blurring of the lines begins,” she said. “The product only has to contain 51 percent whole grain ingredients to use the term ‘whole grain’.”

For example, a label might say “whole grains,” but up to 49 percent of the product can contain processed grains.

There are whole grains and refined grains, said Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN, a consultant with Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Whole grain products contain three parts: the bran, germ and endosperm layer. Refined grains have been stripped of the bran and cotyledons and, in turn, are free of the fiber, iron, B vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants that are inherent in whole intact grain.

Refined grains are white flour products that can be fortified or fortified with vitamins and minerals to provide nutritional value.

Wheat-based whole grain products contain gluten. Wheat-free grains are usually gluten-free unless there is cross-contamination during processing of the grain, Retelny said.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Agriculture Department’s 2015-2020 Nutritional Guidelines for Americans, half of all grains consumed should be whole grains. Getting enough whole grains has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

The most common types of whole grains containing gluten include wheat, barley, rye and spelled. Whole grain gluten-free products include corn, oats, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, sorghum, teff, millet, and amaranth, Burkhart said.

Ancient grains such as farro and spelled are those that have not been changed by modern breeding methods in the last hundred years. Ancient whole grains that are not made from wheat include sorghum, quinoa, and millet, she noted.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re more nutritious, but they require fewer pesticides and water to grow, which is good for the planet,” said Burkhart.

As part of the survey, the packaging of the hypothetical products either did not have a wholemeal front label or was marked with “Mehrkorn”, “Made with wholegrain” or a wholegrain stamp. The packaging of the real products showed the actual product labels, including “multigrain”, “honey wheat” and “12 grains”.

When looking at the hypothetical products, people had to answer whether they thought the product was healthier. For the real products, they were asked to rate the whole grain content.

Of the hypothetical products, 29 to 47 percent mistakenly identified the healthier product. Specifically, they got the wrong answer 31 percent of the time for cereals, up to 37 percent for crackers and 47 percent for bread items.

Of the real products that were not predominantly wholegrain, 43 to 51 percent of those surveyed overestimated the wholegrain content, depending on the product.

Researchers found that 41 percent overestimated the grain content for multigrain crackers, 43 percent for honey wheat bread, and 51 percent for 12-grain bread.

However, the respondents identified the whole grain content of an oat grain, which mainly contained whole grain, more precisely.

While experts find the Food and Drug Administration’s labeling standards confusing, other groups have pushed for more transparency.

The Whole Grains Council, a not-for-profit consumer protection group, has developed three postage stamps as a guide for consumers, but they are not found on all products.

Companies must apply to use the stamp. The 100 percent stamp includes products where all grains are whole grains and the product contains at least 16 grams of whole grains per serving. The 50 percent stamp means that at least 50 percent of the grains in the product are whole and the product contains at least 8 g of whole grains per serving. The basic stamp means the item contains at least 8 grams of whole grain per serving, Burkhart explained.

Terms like wheat, semolina, durum wheat, organic flour, stone flour, multigrain, fiber and cracked wheat may or may not be whole grains.

“When buying a whole grain product like bread or crackers, make sure the first ingredient is a whole grain ingredient like whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour,” said Amy Gorin, MS, a registered nutritionist in New Jersey. “Many whole grain products are made from whole grain, but do not contain them as a main ingredient.”

For example, on bread labels, the first ingredient should be whole wheat flour, whole wheat flour or another whole grain ingredient. For example, it shouldn’t be fortified wheat flour.

“The fiber content on the nutrition label is another giveaway – whole grains are likely good or excellent sources of fiber,” Gorin said.

Retelny advises her customers to focus on a product’s ingredient list for the word “whole” before the grain. For example, look for “whole grains” or “whole grain oats” instead of “fortified” wheat or oats, as these are refined versions of the grain, she said.

“Just because it’s black bread doesn’t mean it’s whole-grain bread,” said Gorin.

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