Like An Extra Virgin, Running On The Brain, & Just Dance

🍏Don’t buy oil from the Italian Mafia. Invest in the real deal and savour the brain-boosting benefits of premium extra virgin olive oil.

🔥Just Do It. Book that Marathon, commit to that 10k, or just go for a jog round the block because we all have to start somewhere. Your knees won't thank you, but your mind will.

⚡️Make a date with a dance floor. Call your friends. You’ll need to rehearse. Here’s that Beyonce tutorial you didn’t ask for.

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Say hello to Dawn’s second dispatch. For our early adopters, thanks for the second date. We think you could be the one.

For the newcomers, consider this our killer sophomore album. The Beatles, Springsteen, Dylan—hell, even Kanye-—enjoyed more success the second time around. We’d like to think we fall in that camp, even if it means saddling up next to Mr West.

Rock and roll. Let’s get your week off to a running start.

🍏Nutrition

Like An Extra Virgin

The TL;DR ⌚️
('Too long, didn't read', for any of you too embarrassed to ask.)

We all know it’s healthy but did you know extra virgin olive oil (a.k.a. EVOO) enhances cognitive performance? And did you know the global market is littered with knock-offs? We’re talking more phonies than enhanced bodies on a California beach in the heat of summer. Your brain deserves better than that so smarten up before you shop.

Friends with benefits
Extra virgin olive oil scores top points with dieticians and doctors: It boosts immunity, increases bone density, prevents heart disease, and so on.

But if we’re specifically talking about brain health, here’s what you should know:

  • Brain-loving antioxidants (or polyphenols) found in EVOO protect your brain from becoming the neurological equivalent of a neglected apple slice.

  • EVOO boasts Vitamins E & K. The first wards off mental decline; the second boosts processing speed.

  • The odds of developing depression shrink for people who consume EVOO over its unhealthy alternatives.

  • EVOO is ripe with critical chemicals responsible for stimulating brain cell formation and repair

Yada, yada, yada. It’s excellent for you. Stock up and consume liberally.

Heads up friends
Before you shop, beware of imposters. Just because a bottle sports an Italian flag does not mean it’s legit. In fact, the Italian mafia has been known to profit off naive palates to the tune of $16 million dollars. 

Know thy EVOO
You don’t have to become an oil sommelier (but you can this January in London if you’re really keen). Just follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Online shoppers, buy directly from award-winning producers.

  2. Market hoppers, ask questions and try before you buy. Bitter is better. It means more polyphenols.

  3. Retail shoppers, stick to high-end shops for the best selection.

  4. Globetrotters, find an excuse to visit the Mediterranean. (Just don’t pack your loot in a carry-on bag.)

  5. I get through a bottle a week - it's an expensive habit, but arguably my healthiest one & I put it on e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

In short, the poshest EVOO only from here on out. Your brain will thank you.

For the nerdy 🤓: Original source article from Be Brain Fit.

🔥 Neuroscience

Running On The Brain

The TL;DR ⌚️
If you’re ahead of the curve and already considering New Year’s resolutions, you might want to throw down some running goals. Cliché? Maybe. But after reading this, you just might scour the web for trainers on this fine Cyber Monday.

A team lead by David Raichlen at the University of Arizona set out to see if sustained aerobic motor behaviour affected athletes’ resting state cognitive function. The study shed light on the neurological differences between runners and non-runners. 

The result? Runners’ brains have a leg up over the competition.

How so?
Researchers discovered that athletes enjoy increased coordinated activity in frontal brain regions associated with executive function and working memory. They also noticed decreased activity in brain regions that go to work when we are idle or distracted. They call this part of the brain the ‘default mode network.’

That sounds like a sitcom
That would be better than its current gig. The default mode network is the source of your 'inner monologue,' the instigator of mind-wandering escapades. It’s also that pesky voice that enjoys ruminating on the past and associates itself with clinical depression. Most people don’t want to strengthen this part of their brains.

Further research is needed to explore other neurological benefits of running but this preliminary study is enough to get us lacing up our trainers. If athletes’ brains run toward higher cognitive performance and away from wasted time and depression, sign us up.

So where should I buy my trainers? 
Exactly. Just do it.

For the nerdy 🤓: Original source paper from Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 

⚡️ Psychology

Just Dance

The TL;DR ⌚️
If you needed an excuse, here’s a legitimate reason to study an iconic music video. Learning dance routines prevents mental decline.

According to a study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, age-related degeneration in brain structure improved dramatically when research participants (aged 68+) learned choreographed routines in a weekly dance class.

One group participants focused on endurance training; the other group put on their dancing shoes. Scans across all participants showed increased hippocampal plasticity but it was the dancers who had higher overall brain volume thanks to their improved balance capabilities. The combination of mental activity and social interaction is also responsible for preserving grey matter.

But I'm not 68 yet so...
Exactly. Don’t wait until you’re asked to participate in these kinds of studies.

Dancing is the EVOO of physical activities. It fosters muscular conditioning, memorization, and coordination. Music stimulates the brain’s reward centresand the movement itself activates sensory and motor circuits. 

Bonus benefits include new neural connections, increased long-term memory and spatial recognition. Enjoy it liberally. It’s cheaper than olive oil.

Thanks but I hate dancing
Okay fine. Do you like tapping your fingers? This study concluded that even tapping along to an unfamiliar beat was enough to fire up functional connectivity between multiple brain regions and increase grey matter.

Not really, all this talk about dancing is stressing me out
Even better. Dancing increases serotonin, everyone’s favourite feel-good hormone. The sooner you start dancing, the sooner you’ll feel better.

In summary
Get over yourself. Go dancing. Grey matter, remember? If you need inspiration, watch the video at the bottom of the email.

For the nerdy 🤓: Original source article from Psychology Today

Dawn's Big Three

🍏Don’t buy oil from the Italian Mafia. Invest in the real deal and savour the brain-boosting benefits of premium extra virgin olive oil.

🔥Just Do It. Book that Marathon, commit to that 10k, or just go for a jog round the block because we all have to start somewhere. Your knees won't thank you, but your mind will.

⚡️Make a date with a dance floor. Call your friends. You’ll need to rehearse. Here’s that Beyonce tutorial you didn’t ask for.

What we love this week

🎧 This Podcast Episode on CBD. Everyone's talking about its incredible potential to boost mood, reduce anxiety and even pain. We’ll leave it to World Leading expert, Gretchen Lidicker, to tell you how and why.

📽I put this uplifting video of an awesome neurosurgeon on Linkedin this week and it's gone viral with almost 2,500 likes. Tell me he doesn't make you smile, I dare you.

📖 Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Martin Seligman, the unofficial father of positive psychology. The title says it all - who wouldn't want that kind of magic?

Go have a productive week. See you next Monday. ✌️

Dan