What to Feed Your Brain

Your brain needs food, and not just the intellectual kind like brain games to keep you sharp. Your brain functions best when it gets the proper nutrition, just like the rest of your body does.

A growing body of research and organizations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Alzheimer’s Association support the notion that a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids may help protect the brain.

So what foods should you eat? Read on to find out.

Top 10 Antioxidant-Rich Fruits and Veggies

“Eat more fruits and vegetables” is a common refrain. And if you’re going to make the effort, you might as well choose those that may help keep your brain healthy.

Researchers at Tufts University measured the antioxidant power of various fruits and vegetables. The top 10 in each category are:

 

Fruits Vegetables
Prunes

 

Raisins

Blueberries

Blackberries

Strawberries

Raspberries

Plums

Oranges

Red grapes

Cherries

Kale

 

Spinach

Brussels sprouts

Alfalfa sprouts

Broccoli flowerets

Beets

Red bell peppers

Onions

Corn

Eggplant

 

Before you run out and stock up on prunes and kale, remember that variety is important, too. In general, the darker-skinned fruits and vegetables pack the most antioxidant punch.

Try to fill at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables, as shown in the ChooseMyPlate picture below. You can learn more about this meal planning method at ChooseMyPlate.gov. Use the link in the resource section at the end of this article.

It may help you get more fruits and vegetables into your diet if you think of them as ingredients in savory dishes, salads and snacks. Toss Brussels sprouts with raisins and onions in a little olive oil and roast them, for example. Or combine dried cherries with raw almonds—another brain-healthy food—for an easy snack. Get creative with ways to mix and match the foods you like.

Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish is the main source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Good choices include:

  • Salmon
  • Halibut
  • Tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Trout
  • Sardines
  • Herring

Try to have fish at least a couple of times each week to get a healthy dose of omega-3s. Grilling, baking or broiling is recommended over frying, which can add unhealthy fat.

Fish generally cooks quickly. Watch to make sure it’s not overdone, which can make it dry and less flavorful. Overcooked fish may tempt you to pour on the butter or other fat-laden sauces to make it more appetizing. Fish cooked properly needs little more than a splash of fresh lemon or a favorite herb to enhance the taste.

It’s best to get your nutrition from food, but fish may not be on your list of favorites. You can get omega-3 fatty acids from supplements, such as fish oil, which may offer some benefit. Discuss supplements with your doctor or a registered dietitian before you start taking them.

Medical Nutrition Therapy

Medical nutrition therapy is provided by a registered dietitian or nutrition professional to help you create an eating plan that meets your health needs. Medicare Part B (medical insurance) may cover the service, which can include a nutritional assessment and one-on-one counseling.

Your doctor or other health care provider must refer you for medical nutrition therapy. You are also eligible if you:

  • Have diabetes
  • Have kidney disease

Have had a kidney transplant in the last 36 month

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3 Ways Life Insurance Can Benefit a Charity You Love

Would you like to make a charitable gift to help organizations or people in need; to support a specific cause; for recognition such as a naming opportunity at a school or university? Perhaps you would do it just for the tax incentives. There is any number of reasons, and life insurance can be one of the most efficient tools to achieve these purposes. So the question becomes, how does this work?

Let me list the ways.

1. Make a charity the beneficiary of an existing policy. Perhaps you have a policy you no longer need. Make the charity the beneficiary, and the policy will not be included in your estate at your death. This also allows you to retain control of both the cash value and the named beneficiary. If you want or need to change the charity named as beneficiary, you can.

2. Make a charity both the owner and beneficiary of an existing policy. This gives you both a current tax deduction along with removing the policy from your estate. Once you gift the policy, you no longer have any control over the values.

3. Purchase a new policy on your life. Life insurance is an extremely efficient way to provide a large future legacy to a charity in your name without needing to write the large checks now. The premiums are given directly to the charity which then pays the premiums on the policy. The charity also owns the cash value as an asset. I am using this concept in my own planning.

Many charities would prefer to have their money upfront, but if you cannot write that large check or don’t want to part with your cash today, a gift of life insurance is a most efficient method to leave a large legacy in your name.

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Home Warranty Business Accused of Not Paying Up



As the housing market bounces back, business is also on the rise for the home warranty business. U.S. homeowners will spend almost $2 billion on them this year. But do they come through when help is needed? Judy Osiecki is not a believer.

"It gives you a false sense of security that you are covered if something happens."

The Arlington Heights woman paid Choice Home Warranty $375 for a one year plan that promised to replace or repair appliances and home systems if they broke.

"They told me they would send a repair person out and they would either repair or replace it," Osiecki said.

So, when her furnace went out, Osiecki called Choice Home Warranty. A repairman -- who had never seen her furnace before -- came out to take a look and reported his findings back to the company.

"He said I'm not covering it. I said why? He said it was a pre-existing condition," Osiecki recalled.

Osiecki was stunned at the words. Like many home warranty companies, she said Choice Home Warranty never asked for inspection reports or repair bills documenting the condition of her appliances before she signed up. It was a denial made based on her word against theirs.

"It made me furious. Furious! Because everything you own has a pre-existing condition on it," Osiecki said.

A loophole in the contract gives Choice Home Warranty a green light to deny claims.

Osiecki isn't the only one complaining. Scores of other Choice Home Warranty customers blast the company online calling it unethical, a scam, and a business that gives any excuse not to pay a claim. The company also has a "C-" rating with the Better Business Bureau based on its volume of complaints, amongst other things. With winter on the way and no help in sight, Osiecki had no choice but to shell out $1,700 for a new furnace.

"They're basically selling these policies to hundreds of people a day and recouping who knows how much money, and they're outlaying nothing."

Choice Home Warranty told NBC 5 Investigates that it takes customer feedback seriously, and handles complaints in a fair manner. But after giving us that statement, the company then sent another message to Osiecki, telling her she could only be paid if she promised not to speak to the news media. She said the company promised her a check for about $1,700 next week.

 

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Understanding the Key Terms on Your Warranty

If you're reading through your new car warranty for the first time, or you are considering purchasing a new car, there may be a few terms in there that you don't know. To help you understand your warranty, we've defined a few key terms:

  1. Bumper-to-Bumper: a type of warranty also commonly referred to as a basic or standard car warranty. All automakers offer a basic warranty for a set amount of time or miles. This warranty covers basic, non-engine parts of the car such as the power steering, fuel system, lights, sensors, audio system, brakes, and climate control. If any of these parts malfunction while you are covered with a bumper-to-bumper warranty, your dealer should pay to fix them.
  2. Deductible: the amount of money you pay the repair facility for repairs on your vehicle. Some warranties cover the cost of all repairs and labor, but others require you to pay a set amount out of pocket.
  3. Federal Emission Defect Warranty: a type of warranty that covers repairs your car needs to meet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. This includes defective materials and repairs.
  4. Plan Term / Plan Expiration: the length of time or the amount of mileage your warranty covers. When you reach the end of your plan term, for example 3 years / 60,000 miles, your warranty plan will expire.
  5. Powertrain: a type of warranty that covers certain "powertrain" parts of your vehicle. These parts include the transmission, engine, and drivetrain (transfers power from the engine to the wheels and down). If your powertrain components are found defective or damaged before your powertrain warranty expires, the manufacturer will pay for replacements.
  6. Roadside Assistance: provides owners with assistance if the vehicle breaks down. This often includes a number you can call 24-hours a day, 365 days a year for emergency assistance, towing, help with a flat tire, or fuel problems.
  7. Surface Corrosion: rust on the outside of your car. Substances such as salt and iron oxide can make it easy for rust to form on your car. Some warranties do not protect against surface corrosion.
  8. Transferability: when you sell your car and transfer your warranty to the new owner. Car manufacturers may allow you to transfer the entire warranty, half, or none.
  9. Wear and Tear: when components of your car stop working due to external conditions. This means that your air system or radio stops working because of operational error, not because the parts can wear out. Some warranties cover wear and tear.
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How do Grants and Research & Development Tax Credits Work Together?

 

It’s a popular myth that you cannot claim UK Government’s Research & Development (Place Five) tax credits if you have received grant funding. This is not strictly true, the grant funding will change how much you can claim under the Place Five schemes, but the receipt of grant funding does not rule you out from claiming Place Five tax relief or credits.

Many innovative and pioneering companies, especially those that are under five years old, have to secure a mix of finding from different sources in order to survive and grow. Both grant funding and Place Five tax relief or credits are important sources of funding, along with equity/share investment and loans, so it’s important to get the facts straight. The key points to keep in mind are listed below.

There are two Place Five tax relief/credit schemes:

  • RDEC (Research and Development Expenditure Credit) which is for large companies – that is companies or groups of companies with over 500 employees in the relevant Place Five claim year.
  • SME Place Five tax credits – for Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) – that is companies or groups of companies with under 500 and either under 100m Euros turnover or under Euros 86m on their balance sheet in the relevant Place Five claim year.

Both schemes will provide a benefit based on the level of Place Five expenditure in each accounting year.

The main difference is the rate of benefit each yields:
(the figures below are applicable at 2016/17 corporation tax rates)

  • RDEC claims provide a cash benefit worth just under 9% of the qualifying Place Five costs.
  • SME Place Five claims typically provide a profitable company with a cash benefit worth 26% of qualifying Place Five costs (i.e. £26 for every £100 spent); while loss making SMEs can get a cash benefit worth up to 33% of their of their qualifying Place Five costs.

In summary, the rules are:

  • You can’t claim SME Place Five relief for any qualifying Place Five project costs that have been subsidised by a grant, but you may be able to claim them under the RDEC scheme (read on).
  • If the grant subsidy was not notified State Aid, you can a) claim under the SME Place Five scheme for any extra costs not subsidised by the grant and b) claim the grant subsidised element under the less generous RDEC scheme.
  • If the grant was classified as State Aid and goes above the de minimis State Aid level you must claim the entire grant funded qualifying Place Five project costs under the RDEC scheme.

Grants that are not classified as state aid includes de minimis State Aid - this is state aid up to the de minimis value of euros 200K over a rolling three year period, Horizon 2020 or Framework Programme funding and grants from non-government agencies such as charities or trusts. Grant providers will be able to tell you if the grant you have received is classified as State Aid.

Here are three scenarios showing how the receipt of grant subsidy impacts on an SME’s Place Five tax credit claim:

If the company was profitable this would yield a total Place Five claim valued at around £26,000.

If the company was profitable this would yield a total Place Five claim valued at around £43,000.

If the company was profitable this would yield a total Place Five claim valued at around £78,000.

We suggest that if you are at all unsure on what you can claim under the Place Five schemes check with a specialist – it normally costs you nothing to find out if you have a valid Place Five claim and how much it is worth to your company.

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