Stunned researchers discover that the impact of walking dramatically boosts blood flow to the brain, boosting cognitive function

Image: Stunned researchers discover that the impact of walking dramatically boosts blood flow to the brain, boosting cognitive function
S.D. Wells
April 30, 2017

It’s spring time, with summer on the horizon, and many people are looking to get in shape, get back in shape, or just simply get outside and get some fresh air daily. There are several benefits to going for a brisk walk, especially in the morning, some of which you may not realize. Now, even science is proving that your feet’s impact increases blood flow to not only the heart and other muscles, but walking sends pressure waves through the arteries that increase the supply of blood to the brain.

Did you know that walking just two miles daily reduces the risk of death by nearly 50 percent? Walking in the morning reduces that risk even more. Even the risk of cancer is reduced by walking. But wait, there’s lots more walking does for you. Let’s take an inside look at this simple, enjoyable way to increase longevity and cognitive function.

Research presented at the Experimental Biology 2017 annual meeting shows walking dynamically regulates blood circulation to the brain

Researchers at New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) discovered something amazing. Until now, scientists and health researchers thought cerebral blood flow was only involuntarily regulated by the body, and that changes in blood pressure from exercise did not effect the blood supply to the brain.

Using non-invasive ultrasound to measure carotid artery blood velocity waves and arterial diameters, the NMHU researchers measured cerebral blood flow on both sides of the brain. The effects were contrasted between the 12 healthy young adults while they were standing upright during rest and then while steadily walking about one meter per second. Though the blood circulation effects in the brain are less than those from running, they were greater than cycling, since cycling does not involve any foot impact.

From brain power to self esteem to cancer prevention, a morning walk is proving to be a huge asset for mental and physical health

Get ready to jumpstart your energy for the entire day. You don’t have to join a gym or cycle 10 miles to get in shape and get healthy. You don’t have to “cross train” or run in mini-marathons to lose weight, fight disease and get smarter. When people say, “there’s no easy way out,” they’re wrong, because walking is easy. Daily morning walks can help you regulate your sleep cycle, lower your risk of breast cancer, burn glucose, improve blood sugar levels, improve blood circulation, and increase the flow of oxygen to the brain. Want improved mental faculties? Walk. Want to raise your self-esteem? Walk. Want to reduce stress? Walk.

Taking prescription medications to alleviate “symptoms” of deeper rooted health problems can complicate matters and lead to worsening health conditions. Prescription medications are nearly always made in laboratories with chemicals, and that is why there are so many horrific side effects and “adverse events” listed on the warning labels and reviewed on the commercials on television. There’s always the freedom of choice to eat organic food, consult a naturopathic physician, investigate natural medicine, and choose an easy daily workout that won’t injure your body. Go buy some good walking shoes today and choose to walk. It’s as essential to your health as clean food and clean water.

Other benefits of walking every morning include beautiful skin, better vitamin D absorption by your body, better control of cholesterol levels, increased stamina, increased muscle strength and improved metabolism. Are you ready for some extra energy throughout the day, better mental alertness and psychological clarity?

Drop the gluten, the GMOs, the tap water and the flu shots, they’re just polluting your body. Start walking every morning and experience clarity and longevity, the natural way. Now there’s science behind the “theory” that walking helps your brain!

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What Happens When You Meditate for the First Time?


Christina Sarich
September 7, 2016

This article was originally featured on the Mind Unleashed

There have been numerous studies detailing what happens to the brain in long-term meditators, but what exactly happens to people who meditate for the first time?

Sara Lazar, a Harvard researcher, has gained quite some notoriety detailing how the brain actually grows grey matter when people meditate. Other studies have shown that meditation improves IQ, and lessens depression. In addition to these benefits, meditation also:

  • Reduces alcohol and substance consumption, reduces blood pressure (Chiesa, 2009),
  • Decreases anxiety, depressive symptoms, and relapses (Coelho, Canter, & Ernst, 2007; Kim et al., 2009)
  • Helps patients suffering from various types of chronic pain (Chiesa & Serretti, in press)
  • Lowers the incidence of stress (Chiesa & Serretti, 2009)
  • Aids cancer patients (Ledesma & Kumano, 2009)

Most people think they have to meditate for years before they start seeing any of these improvements, but a study conducted by Chiesa, Calati, and Serretti shows that after just eight short weeks of meditation, people start to experience improved cognitive functioning.

Still not fast enough for you?

Meditation for the First Time

Here’s what happens to the brain after someone completes just one meditation session who has never meditated before:

  • People start to become less ‘me’ centered as the brain balances the Ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), which allows us to ruminate our worry, and the Dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC), which allows us to empathize with others and feel more connected to those who we usually view as dissimilar to ourselves.
  • The fear-center is calmed via the amygdala and the two branches of the nervous system. You know that ‘uh-oh’ feeling you sometimes get? Meditation helps to make sure that you only feel low-level stress when you really need to, such as when you are about to put your hand on a hot stove, or you need to put the brakes on in traffic. Even then, meditation can help take the stress out of stress-full experiences.
  • The very first time you try to meditate, the mind calms down. It doesn’t mean you will experience profound inner peace the first time your bum touches a meditation cushion, but it does mean that you are already setting up new neural pathways that allow positive change. Each time you ‘sit’ again, you enhance them.
  • You’ll feel less depressed. Meditation is getting a lot of press lately because of this study by Mahav Goyal published at JAMA. 47 trials conducted with over 3,500 patients proved that meditation was as effective as anti-depressants. (The effect of meditation was moderate, at 0.3. If this sounds low, keep in mind that the effect size for antidepressants is also 0.3.) The difference is, of course, that meditation can’t kill you or cause other unwanted side effects, like psychotic episodes, panic attacks, hostility, etc.

Beginner Meditators

Though it takes a few more sessions, here is what happens when you meditate a little more frequently:

  • You’ll feel less physical pain in just four meditation sessions. Brain activity decreases in the areas responsible for relaying sensory information surrounding a feeling of pain. Also, regions of the brain that modulate pain get busier, and volunteers who participated in a study reported that pain was less intense after meditation practice. These results were all reported at an annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego.
  • The ‘me-center’ slowly evaporates. As the connection between bodily sensations and the vmPFC withers, you will no longer assume that a bodily sensation or momentary feeling of fear means something is wrong with you or that you are the problem. You can just let it rise and pass, without hardly giving it a second thought.
  • Empathy becomes stronger. The vmPFC part of the ‘me center’ subsides and the dmPFC grows more dominant, which means you can feel others’ pain or sadness, but with the same ability as you’ve learned to handle your own bodily sensations.

Masters of Meditation

Once you’re an old pro at meditation you can look forward to even more benefits, many of which science is still reaching to understand.

  • Tibetan monks can sit for hours in meditation as easily as most of us can spend the same amount of time sleeping or surfing the net. These monks recently dried wet sheets with their bodies by utilizing a form of meditation called g Tum-mo. Monks were cloaked in wet, cold sheets (49 f / 9.4 c) and placed in a 40 f (4.5 c) room. In conditions such as these the average person would likely experience uncontrollable shivering and suffer hypothermia. However, through deep concentration, the monks were able to generate body heat, and within minutes the researchers noticed steam rising from those sheets. In about an hour the sheets were completely dry.
  • Yogis in India who practice meditation are able to slow their hearts so completely that they are hardly detectable on EKG equipment. In 1935 a French cardiologist, Therese Brosse, took an electrocardiograph to India and studied yogis who said they could stop their heart. According to Brosse’s published report, readings produced by a single EKG lead and pulse recordings indicated that the heart potentials and pulse of one of her subjects decreased almost to zero, where they stayed for several seconds. (Brosse, 1946)
  • A master meditator, Munishri Ajitchandrasagarji, is a Jain monk who credits his incredible memory to meditation practice. He can recite 500 items from memory, whether it is a phrase from one of six different languages, a math problem, or the name of a random object. He recently performed this feat in front of an audience of 6,000 to verify his amazing level of skill. It took six hours for the crowd to feed him the list of items, and he recited them back perfectly.
  • Dutchman Wim Hof is able to control his immune system with meditation. He has been in the Guinness Book of World Records 20 times for accomplishments like climbing Mt. Everest and Kilimanjaro in nothing but a pair of shorts and shoes, with no water or food, when temperatures easily reach 50 degrees celcius. He uses a special breathing meditation.

So maybe the first time you learn to control your thoughts by focusing on your breath, or simply observing your thoughts like clouds passing in the sky won’t make you a master meditator capable of these staggering acts, but even with your first twenty minute ‘sit’ you are well on your way to other-worldly abilities.


About the Author

Christina Sarich is a writer, musician, yogi, and humanitarian with an expansive repertoire. Her thousands of articles can be found all over the Internet, and her insights also appear in magazines as diverse as Weston A. PriceNexusAtlantis Rising, and the Cuyamungue Institute, among others. She was recently a featured author in the Journal, “Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and Healing Arts,” and her commentary on healing, ascension, and human potential inform a large body of the alternative news lexicon. She has been invited to appear on numerous radio shows, including Health Conspiracy Radio, Dr. Gregory Smith’s Show, and dozens more. The second edition of her book, Pharma Sutra, will be released soon.

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This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

Featured image: Mturkforum

More than six teaspoons of sugar a day is dangerous for children

Sugar intake

Samantha Debbie
September 2, 2016

A new report from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, has determined that anything more than six teaspoons (not tablespoons) of sugar per day is “dangerous” for children’s health, according to the Daily Mail.

The revelations are alarming considering the fact that most kids today consume far more sugar than the new amount recommended in this recent report. The health implications of consuming too much sugar can be severe, causing chronic illness and diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

Additionally, overloading on sugar may cause damage to the heart and brain, affecting cognitive function and psychological well-being, research suggests. Scientists participating in the research say parents are often confused about how much sugar is too much for their kids.

Sugar over-consumption is endangering children’s health, say researchers

“There has been a lack of clarity and consensus regarding how much added sugar is considered safe for children, so sugars remain a commonly added ingredient in foods and drinks, and overall consumption by children remains high – the typical American child consumes about triple the recommended amount of added sugars,” said pediatrics professor Dr. Miriam Vos.

Six teaspoons of sugar is the equivalent to one small chocolate bar, and less than a can of soda, as soft drinks contain just less than 10 tsp, according to reports.

This means that if your child has one can of soda over the course of the day they’re already exceeding the recommended limit. Most children, with the exception of those born to super duper health conscious mommies, consume not only a can of soda but plenty of sugary snacks, too.

A diagram published by the Daily Mail provides a clear outlook of exactly how much sugar exists in popular candies and drinks.

Kids who drink just one can of most sodas are likely exceeding the recommended sugar intake

For example, a regular-sized Snickers bar contains about 27 grams of sugar, or roughly 7 tsp, while a Milky Way has about 8.75 tsp. One can of Sprite contains about 8.25 tsp, while a Mountain Dew has about 11.5 tsp.

If your child has a can of soda and a candy bar in one day, their health is essentially in danger, according to this latest research based on peer-reviewed data. Researchers add that children under the age of two should have no added sugars in their diet whatsoever.

The study states that one teaspoon of sugar is equal to 4g, and therefore six teaspoons is the equivalent of 24g, which amounts to about 100 calories.

Children between the ages of four and eight should not exceed consumption of more than three teaspoons of sugar per day, or 12 g, and those nine and older should not have more than eight tsp, according to the National Institute of Health.

“Our target recommendation is the same for all children between the ages of two and 18 to keep it simple for parents and public health advocates,” the Emory University researchers said in an effort to simplify sugar intake recommendations.

They added that eating six teaspoons or less of added sugars per day is an achievable goal.

“Children who eat foods loaded with added sugars tend to eat fewer healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products that are good for their heart health,” said Prof. Vos.

“If your child is eating the right amount of calories to achieve or maintain a healthy body weight, there isn’t much room in their food ‘budget’ for low-value junk foods, which is where most added sugars are found.”

The research was published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

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