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Today’s Health Upgrade
Bulletproof your brain
3-minute cancer prevention
Recipe of the week
Bulletproof Your Brain
Apparently, you do lose it when you don’t use it.
New research suggests that keeping your brain healthy depends on how much you continually create mental challenges that force you to learn, think, and acquire new skills.
Scientists have been studying the causes of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. And it appears the more you challenge your brain, the more it fights against degenerative diseases.
For many years, some scientists believed brain decline (neurodegeneration) is simply a byproduct of aging. But a closer review suggests that you can prevent that outcome. Researchers have noticed a cyclical pattern where our brains go on cruise control. We see a big rise early in life when we are forced to learn so much new information, followed by a significant drop in middle age (which stabilizes) and a massive drop in later life. So the goal is to keep learning as if survival depends on it — because it does.
Individuals who consistently engaged in mentally demanding activities saw a 40 percent lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia compared to those with low levels of mental engagement.
The good news? Creating “cognitive demand” can be a fun experience that helps you develop new interests and passions. Arnold frequently talks about the importance of being curious, and this is the perfect example.
You can challenge your brain and protect its health by exercising, interacting in social situations, learning a new language, reading, playing or learning music, or developing a new skill. The more you pursue or develop interests, the more your brain will thank you.
3 Minutes Per Day…Can Keep Cancer Away?
“Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
The famous Ferriss Bueller quote is a great reminder to enjoy the moments, but just because it’s helpful to slow down, don’t forget that sometimes it’s beneficial to speed up.
Research suggests short bursts of daily activity could be a valuable habit that helps protect you against 13 different types of cancer.
Scientists reviewed activity tracker data from more than 22,000 people and found that those who were in a hurry for 3 minutes per day — think sprinting up stairs or rushing around the home — were 30 percent less likely to develop cancer than those who never pushed the pace. The most interesting part was that this had nothing to do with traditional exercise or workouts. This was just a matter of getting your heart rate up in day-to-day scenarios.
It wasn’t the first time the idea of “move fast and prevent cancer” has popped up. An earlier study found that 3 to 4 minutes of daily hustle resulted in a 40 percent lower likelihood of premature death. However, this new research was about cancer prevention and found a similar outcome.
While we frequently promote the life-changing benefits of low-intensity exercise like walking, there’s something uniquely beneficial about pushing intensity, feeling out of breath, and elevating your heart rate. Make time for three to four minutes because it’s the type of health insurance that is worth your time.
Recipe of the Week
Living healthy doesn’t mean you have to abandon your favorite restaurant food. (It’s why you can find endless takeout options from the 50 most-visited restaurants in You Can’t Screw This Up). But, you do need to limit how often you eat out. When a craving hits and you’re want to stay disciplined, try to make your favorite meal at home. This version of Pad Thai will help satisfy your craving whenever you want this popular dish.
Peanut Pad Thai and Shrimp
Makes 2 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
2 ounces uncooked rice noodles
2 tablespoons sesame or avocado oil
2 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
1 thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 julienned large carrot
12 uncooked fresh or thawed frozen jumbo shrimp (peeled, tails removed)
1/2 cup mung bean sprouts
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon smooth or crunchy all-natural peanut butter
1 teaspoon sriracha
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon unfiltered raw honey
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 lime, cut into wedges
Chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup roughly chopped peanuts
1. Cook the noodles until soft according to the package directions.
2. Meanwhile, combine the peanut sauce ingredients and whisk until smooth.
3. In a large skillet or wok, combine the oil, garlic, and ginger. Sauté on
medium-high heat for about one minute (don’t let the garlic burn), then add
the bell peppers, carrots, and shrimp. Stir fry for about three minutes, until
the shrimp is pink all the way through but not overcooked.
4. Remove from the heat and add the noodles, mung beans, and peanut sauce.
Toss together to fully coat.
5. Divide between two bowls and garnish with lime wedges, cilantro, and
peanuts. Serve warm.
Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger