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Warm Baked Apples with Fruit Filling

[gmc_recipe 2862]

Brain Up for the Summer!

 

brain up infographic-01[2] copyDo you really want to keep your brain active, healthy, and growing strong all life long? First, get to know your brain a little better by brushing up on Healthy Brain Basics at www.brainupfl.org. And then, follow a few simple rules, appropriate for all ages:

Eat Smart

  • Seek out foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid) and other healthy fats, choline, and antioxidants, which help power the brain to build new connections and prevent declining cognitive abilities as we age.

Work Out

  • Regular aerobic exercise has proven brain- boosting benefits. Exercise increases blood flow, which means more oxygen and nourishment gets to the brain. It helps relieve anxiety and improves mood, and can even make you smarter by creating new and better connected brain cells.

Chill Out

  • When you’re stressed your brain and body focus on survival. While the occasional adrenaline rush helps build new neural pathways, chronic stress can lead to brain shrinkage, negatively affecting both memory and mood.

Hang Out

  • Research shows that seniors with rich social networks are much less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia than their less- connected peers, even when they’ve shown the physical beginnings of the disease. Exactly why is still a mystery.

Challenge Yourself

  • Learning something new is more than a matter of exercising the brain you’ve got — it actually means building more brain. As we exercise our mental facilities, the brain encodes that information by making new connections between neurons.

Find Your Purpose 

  • All brains collect plaques and tangles as they
    age, but those don’t always manifest as disease. Interestingly, people who have some driving purpose in life have less cognitive impairment than those that don’t, even when their brains show similar patterns of wear and tear.

 

For more information, go to the Brain Up! website at www.BrainUpFL.org, and like them on Facebook at Facebook.com/BrainUpFL or follow them on Twitterpage3image39600@BrainUpFL.

 

 

 

 

 

Managing Stress For The Whole Family

Child AnxietyThese days, there is plenty of stress to go around.  It could be caused by academics, family issues, FCAT tests or an upcoming move — the list of possibilities is endless.  In fact, stress levels have reached a new high, say CHILL mental health professionals.  CHILL (Community Help & Intervention in Life’s Lessons) is a program funded by the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) that helps provide each of the schools in the Winter Park Consortium with a professional mental health counselor.  Find out more here.

Families in general are overwhelmed, according to Cindy Knight, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and CHILL counselor for Lake Sybelia Elementary School in Maitland. There is stress related to finances and job instability and other associated issues such as having to move, and it trickles into the whole family system.  Stress bounces between parents and kids and then the kids bring it to school.

So what can we do in order to eliminate some of these stressors?  We have come up with a list of 10 tools for managing stress provided by Mental Health America on its “live your life well” website at www.liveyourlifewell.org.

  • Connect with others — you don’t have to cope with stress or other issues on your own.
  • Stay positive — change negative self-talk or keep a gratitude journal.
  • Get physically active — it can decrease stress, anger and tension, and offers a greater sense of well-being.
  • Help others — it can help you take your mind off your own worries and builds self-esteem.
  • Get enough sleep — this helps you recover from stresses of the day.
  • Create joy and satisfaction — add some fun and leisure time into your schedule.
  • Eat well — the right foods can fuel the brain and improve moods.
  • Take care of your spirit.
  • Deal better with hard times — find coping skills and shift your thinking.
  • Get professional help if you need it — it is OK to ask for help.

Easy Edamame Hummus

[gmc_recipe 2692]

Summer Fun – Good For The Brain & Body

Teens playing outsideThe summer slump can come on slowly. Symptoms are sleeping in until noon and spending much of the rest of the day in front of a computer or TV screen, or texting with friends.

None of this does much for the brain, or the body. But there is much parents can do to help their adolescents and teens avoid a summer slide. Last week we gave you some suggestions on how to get your kids to keep their brains and bodies fired up this summer, what is good for one is good for the other, and this week we’re back with more.

They are supplied by Beverly Engel, Program Coordinator, Alzheimer’s Association®, Central and North Florida Chapter.

  • Research entirely new academic subjects—or brush up on familiar ones—by going to the Kahn Academy online. The Academy is a nonprofit focused on changing education by offering free courses to anyone anywhere. Check it out at khanacademy.org
  • For further brain inspiration, go to the website for TED, a nonprofit dedicated to presenting videos of “ideas worth spreading.”  Some of the most popular videos: how great leaders inspire action, underwater astonishments, the puzzle of motivation. These can inspire family conversations. Go to ted.com
  • Get involved with the Mid-Florida Milers. It plans and conducts walks in every part of Central Florida for all ages. Their goal is to provide events that are fun and challenging. Walks start in different locations. For more information, go to www.midfloridamilers.org.
  • Check out the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge near Titusville which is home to more than 1,500 species of plants and animals. There is a wildlife drive, hiking trails and ranger- or self-guided tours. For more information, go to www.fws.gov/merrittisland.
  • Try your hands at a creative activity like making stained glass.
  • Get involved in volunteer work, which is not only good for the community, but according to researchers, good for brain health. Look for agencies, organizations or nonprofits performing work that inspires you.
  • Go to a movie together and discuss it afterward. Talk about moral lessons that were learned, for example, or what would have happened if a character had acted differently.
  • Other options include checking out local libraries to learn about an amazing number of activities ranging from hip hop lessons to book discussion clubs. There is even a Knotty Knitters club for all ages and skill levels at the Winter Park Public Library.
  • And lastly, but just as important, have fun together.

Summer Fun – Good For The Brain & Body

Teens playing outsideThe summer slump can come on slowly. Symptoms are sleeping in until noon and spending much of the rest of the day in front of a computer or TV screen, or texting with friends.

None of this does much for the brain, or the body. But there is much parents can do to help their adolescents and teens avoid a summer slide. Last week we gave you some suggestions on how to get your kids to keep their brains and bodies fired up this summer, what is good for one is good for the other, and this week we’re back with more.

They are supplied by Beverly Engel, Program Coordinator, Alzheimer’s Association®, Central and North Florida Chapter.

  • Research entirely new academic subjects—or brush up on familiar ones—by going to the Kahn Academy online. The Academy is a nonprofit focused on changing education by offering free courses to anyone anywhere. Check it out at khanacademy.org
  • For further brain inspiration, go to the website for TED, a nonprofit dedicated to presenting videos of “ideas worth spreading.”  Some of the most popular videos: how great leaders inspire action, underwater astonishments, the puzzle of motivation. These can inspire family conversations. Go to ted.com
  • Get involved with the Mid-Florida Milers. It plans and conducts walks in every part of Central Florida for all ages. Their goal is to provide events that are fun and challenging. Walks start in different locations. For more information, go to www.midfloridamilers.org.
  • Check out the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge near Titusville which is home to more than 1,500 species of plants and animals. There is a wildlife drive, hiking trails and ranger- or self-guided tours. For more information, go to www.fws.gov/merrittisland.
  • Try your hands at a creative activity like making stained glass.
  • Get involved in volunteer work, which is not only good for the community, but according to researchers, good for brain health. Look for agencies, organizations or nonprofits performing work that inspires you.
  • Go to a movie together and discuss it afterward. Talk about moral lessons that were learned, for example, or what would have happened if a character had acted differently.
  • Other options include checking out local libraries to learn about an amazing number of activities ranging from hip hop lessons to book discussion clubs. There is even a Knotty Knitters club for all ages and skill levels at the Winter Park Public Library.
  • And lastly, but just as important, have fun together.

Versatile Black Bean Spread

[gmc_recipe 2676]

Summer Fun For Brains And Bodies

Kids PlayingThose lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer—which officially begin June 5, the last day of school—can be costly to the brain. Educators say students can lose up to two months of reading and math skills during summer months, forcing teachers to spend multiple weeks when school resumes bringing student brains up to speed.

But there is much parents can do to help avoid a summer slide. Here are some suggestions to keep brains and bodies fired up this summer—what is good
 for one is good for the other. The list includes ideas supplied by Winter Park Consortium Healthy School Team Leaders.

  • Check out Find Active Fun at www.findactivefun.org, your source for hundreds of ideas for free and low-cost active fun for the family.
It is supported by Healthy Central Florida, a community initiative aimed at making local residents the healthiest in the nation.
  • Start summer with a family bucket list of activities members want to do and places to visit.
  • Have kids sign up for swim lessons or a summer swim team. Both exercise the mind and body. Or encourage them to learn to play tennis—or any sport they haven’t tried before. The brain loves new challenges.
  • Sign kids up for music lessons—great for building the brain and attention span.
  • Use sidewalk chalk to write letters on the ground and have children hop from letter to letter spelling words. (Movement helps retention of knowledge)
  • Check out the many fun activities at the YMCA of Central Florida.
  • Protect precious brains by making sure kids always remember to use a bicycle helmet and making sure it fits properly. (That includes parents too.) Also, teach them to never dive into water unless they know how deep it might be.
  • Read, have your children read, read along with them and read to them, or even better, help them create a summer book club with friends. To learn how to get started, go to the PBS Parents website: www.pbs.org/parents, then click on “education” and then “reading and language”
  • Visit local and state parks as a family and keep a log of where you go. Wear a pedometer and keep track of steps as well.
  • Get some exercise— and some healthy fruits and vegetables—by visiting one of the many farmers markets in Central Florida. To find out where they are located click here.
  • Go canoeing or kayaking together and see who can spot the most Florida critters.
  • Encourage kids to try out a new hobby. One idea—the Winter
Park Public Library has a “Knotty Knitters” club for all ages and skill levels.
  • And lastly, but just as important as all of the other tips, have fun together!

Sleep – Good For The Body And Brain

 

Sleeping child

Most people spend about one-third of their lives asleep, and it is important they do. It has a big impact on the health of the body and the brain.  The Nemours Florida Prevention Initiative recently published the book, “Sleep and Your Child: A Guide for Families” and in it notes “research suggests that not enough sleep in children can have a negative impact on their health, growth, behavior and cognitive development (thinking).”  Here is how sleep impacts the body, according to the guide:

Brain Development

  • promotes ability to follow directions
  • improves attention span and ability to focus
  • increases cognitive and language development
  • 90% of a child’s brain development occurs before age 5
  • some scientiststhink the brain sorts through and stores information as well as solves problems during sleep

Behavioral and Emotional Health

  • reduces tantrums or “meltdowns” by better regulating a child’s emotions
  • enables better adjustment to preschool setting
  • lowers levels of aggression

Immune System

  • boosts the immune system and helps fight off illness

Physical Growth and Development

  • gives the growing body more energy
  • improves coordination for physical activity
  • allows release of growth hormones
  • lack of sleep is linked to obesity and diabetes

 

The guide also provides guidelines on sleep required by children, but notes requirements vary by child. For children from birth to six months—the recommendation is about 16 to 20 total hours a day; six months to a year—about 11 hours at night, plus two daytime naps totaling three to four hours; for ages one to three—10 to 13 hours, plus an afternoon nap of one to three hours; for ages three to five—10 to 12 hours at night, plus an afternoon nap. (Most preschoolers give this up by age five); and for ages five-12—10 to 12 hours at night.