5 Ways to Get More Oxygen to Your Brain and Boost Your Energy Levels

how to get more oxygen to your brain

how to get more oxygen to your brainThe brain uses more oxygen than any other organ in our body to keep us conscious.

At times, we can often feel lethargic or struggle to concentrate for long periods of time. Many factors in our lives can be the cause of this downward spike in energy levels and quite often can be due to a lack of oxygen in the brain.

There are however, a number of ways we can get more oxygen to our brain for a number of benefits I’ve outlined below.

How to Get More Oxygen to Your Brain

When researching natural ways to boost energy, I found some great tips I was able to start using straight away.

Here’s my top 5 tips to increase the oxygen supply to the brain, boost your energy and your cognitive health.

Drink Water

We all know that drinking plenty of water is generally good for our overall health. It can also deliver enough oxygen to our brain to help wakefulness, boost our concentration and even make our brains work faster.

The University of East London and the University of Westminster conducted a study where participants reaction times were up to 14% faster after drinking water.

Take a Cold Shower

Did you know that taking a cold shower has many health benefits. One of those benefits is a rush of oxygen to the brain.

This is caused by rapid breathing. When our bodies are exposed to icy cold water, we naturally begin to take deep, fast breaths in an attempt to help warm us up. This fast and deep breathing increases our oxygen intake to the body and brain which can increase energy levels and even elevate your mood.

Chew Your Food

Have you ever wondered why you feel so tired after a big meal? One concept for this is due to our bodies needing extra oxygen to digest food, taking oxygen away from our brain and making us super sleepy.

One way to help us digest food is to chew our food properly. It’s recommended we chew our food 30 times before we swallow it. When the rest of our digestive system takes over, it won’t need to use as much oxygen from our brain. Another effective way to help this and all round benefit for our health is to eat little and often. Smaller meals are much easier to digest and put much less stress on the body.

Take Deep Breaths

Most adults breathe in and out between 12-20 times per minute. We take these breaths without thinking about them as the majority of these breaths are fairly shallow. Every minute or so we is when we notice our larger breaths. This happens when our body needs more oxygen and instruct us to take a deep breath.

We can give our brains a helping hand by consciously taking deeper breaths every so often. You might find it keeps you alert and energized throughout the day.

This has become a more conscious activity with the use of breathing and meditation apps. It’s a growing trend to practice deep breathing as it brings an array of health benefits and self awareness.

Stretch

Feeling tired? What about any aches or pains?

You can kill two birds with one stone by doing some stretches. This will increase the blood flow and oxygen to the brain which also stretches out your muscles and joints leaving you feel more relaxed and less tight and achy. I like to lay down and stretch my entire body. This often causes a yawn which also surges an intake of oxygen.

What are Your Thoughts?

Were any of these tips helpful? Which ones will you try first?

Leave us a comment below which of these tips you’re excited to try or tell us any successful ways you get more oxygen to your brain.

How I Quit Sugar & 15 Ways You Can Quit Sugar Too – Complete Guide

how to quit sugar

how to quit sugarIt’s a scary thought isn’t it…

That there’s seven teaspoons of sugar in a can of cola.

But this is old news. Something that shocked me even more was how much sugar is in orange juice.. Only about one teaspoon less than cola!

This realization got me considering the quantities of sugar in lot’s of other foods and beverages, which lead me down the path of an experiment.

Now, I may not have been the healthiest person in my teens or early 20’s but who is?

I have however become healthier as I reached my 30’s but there’s always room for improvement.

The Diet That Changed Everything

The experiment or challenge I guess you could call it – all started after I tried the ketogenic diet for the first time.

I was interested in the keto diet for a few reasons but the main ones that stood out for me were improved brain function, like more energy and deeper levels of focus.

One thing that struck me during this diet was how much I craved sugary foods at the start. I never realised I even eat that much sugar to get a craving for it, after all I never craved sugar when on my regular diet. After a few days of no sugar, the high fat diet curbed my cravings of sugar completely and I was no longer hooked.

I continued the keto diet for a further 4 weeks and when I reverted back to carbs again, I knew how beneficial healthy fats were so wanted to stick to a good balance of fats and carbs.

It didn’t take long for me to realise that even though I was consuming carbs again, I was no longer interested in sugary foods anymore. No more cravings for cakes, sweets or even white bread.

I couldn’t even drink coffee with my usual one teaspoon of sugar anymore! I was a changed man and I felt so much better for it.

My keto journey is a completely separate story in itself but it’s thanks to this diet that enabled me to lower my sugar intake and then completely quit sugar altogether.

It lead me down the path of setting myself challenges of eating and drinking zero sugar containing food and drink for months at a time. Now I just find it natural to opt for eggs in the morning over a bowl of cereal.

Since this time, I’ve been fasinated in finding new ways to help cut sugar out of my diet and bust those cravings for good.

Here’s my tips that you can try yourself to change your tastebuds and kick sugar for good.

15 Tips to Cut Sugar From Your Diet (#9 is my favorite!)

Whilst doing futher research for my sugar detox, I found lots of science-backed tips on how to quit sugar. Here’s my top 15 on giving up the sweet stuff.

#1. Understand Why Refined Sugar is Bad for Your Health

The best way to quit something bad, is to understand why it’s bad. Yes, your body needs fuel in the form of glucose, but this doesn’t mean it needs white, refined sugar.

Your body breaks down the carbohydrates found in food into glucose for energy and glycogen to store energy and these foods can be healthy whole grains such as brown rice and oats.

Refined sugar contains no essential nutrients and is bad for our teeth and liver, it’s addictive and leads to type II diabetes. Why choose to eat something with so many negatives, and absolutely no benefit? Once you make peace with the fact it’s bad, it’ll become easier to cut refined sugar from your diet.

#2. Quit Sugary Snacks and Drinks

It’s pretty obvious but it depends on how you define junk food and sugary drinks, as it’s not just sweets and cola that are the bad guys.

‘Healthy’ foods such as some cereal bars can contain as much as 20.3 g of sugar per portion and smoothies marketed as healthy on-the-go snacks can contain four times the amount of sugar the World Health Organisation recommends an average person should consume in a day.

I think that’s shocking and it isn’t until you begin to look into the amounts of sugars in foods and drinks that you realise how much we’re really consuming. It is mainly fruit from sugar, and I’ll talk about that kind of sugar later, but cutting out these kinds of snacks will have a dramatic impact on your sugar detox.

#3. Learn About Hidden Sugars

There are other foods that surprisingly contain hidden sugars, particularly low fat foods, which generally replace fat with sugar. Even foods we know are savoury often have sugar added to them such as ready meals, jars of cooking sauces, soups and condiments such as ketchup and salad dressings.

Even bread has its fair share, with some shop bought sandwiches containing up to half a teaspoon of sugar per slice, regardless of whether it’s wholemeal or white bread.

So it’s not hard to see how easily this added sugar mounts up in our day to day life. All you need to do is eat a shop bought sandwich and a smoothie for lunch and you’re well over the recommended six teaspoons a day limit set for adults.

#4. Cook From Scratch

Cooking meals from scratch using fresh, clean ingredients means that you know exactly what you’re eating and that it doesn’t contain added sugar.

I plan my meals weekly, making most meals from scratch and ensuring I leave no meal or snack unplanned. This means that even when I’m out and about, I don’t need to resort to eating anything I’m uncertain contains sugar. Having sugar free snacks on hand will help the sugar cravings when they hit and once you get the hang of the preparation it becomes second nature.

There is plenty of inspiration on the internet for recipes free from refined sugars from cereal bars to tomato soup and pizza sauce.

#5. Think Twice About Fruit

Fruit is a tricky one, because it’s full of fibre but contains fructose, or fruit sugar. This naturally occurring sugar is definitely more preferable to the refined, added kind but is still sugar. Quitting sugar therefore means cutting out fruit sugar too but it’s worth noting which fruits have the most sugar. Mangoes, cherries and grapes are all very high in sugar which makes sense when you think of how sweet they are.

And it doesn’t stop there, when fruit is dried, its takes out all the water which concentrates the sugar, making it much easier to get a huge amount of sugar without even noticing it If you’re quitting sugar gradually and you’re in two minds about fruit, it’s definitely advisable to cut dried fruit from your diet completely.

#6. Know Your Grains

Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or any other cereal is a grain product including bread, pasta and breakfast cereals. These foods are mainly carbohydrate and as we learned in tip #1, the body converts carbohydrate to sugar.

Not all grains are created equal however and it’s here that we need to understand the difference between refined grains and unrefined grains. Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ which also removes the dietary fibre, iron and B vitamins. Think white flour, white bread and white rice. These are the bad guys and when you consume them, send your blood sugar levels temporarily sky high, causing an inevitable subsequent crash.

Unrefined grains are whole grains such as oatmeal, whole wheat flour and brown rice and contain the entire grain kernel – the bran, germ and endosperm and therefore all of the fibre and vitamins. If you’re quitting sugar completely, then you should also cut out all grains.

#7 Try the Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet is based on the same foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate, namely fruit, vegetables, meats, seafood and nuts and focusses on a diet rich in protein and good fats. It’s a diet naturally lower in sugar than today’s diet as it eliminates all cereals, grains and legumes, and advises only low amounts of (lower sugar) fruits.

It’s widely recognised that refined sugar isn’t paleo and neither are processed sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup and agave nectar. But some natural sweeteners like raw honey, maple syrup, molasses and Stevia are “considered paleo because they’re not processed and are naturally occurring”.

#8. Use Sugar Alternatives with Caution

Whether you’re following the paleo diet or not however, if you’re quitting sugar then you should avoid all sweeteners altogether. But, we’re all human, and sometimes need a sweet, sugary fix. If you do, then natural sweeteners are better than refined ones.

Honey contains slightly higher amounts of nutrients than refined white sugar and also has antimicrobial properties and is a great alternative in baking.

Stevia is around 300 times sweeter than sugar yet it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. It is good in hot drinks, and due to its sweetness, you only need to use a tiny amount.

Molasses is a byproduct of cane sugar production and is a thick, dark liquid that can be used in baking, but use it sparingly.

#9. Indulge in Raw Cacao Products

Raw cacao products are my favourite sugar free snacks. Cacao is the raw ingredient of chocolate, before all the fats and sugars have been added, it’s packed with immune boosting antioxidants and has the highest source of magnesium of all foods.

It comes as a powder, nibs or butter and all three can be used to make delicious sugar free, ‘chocolate’ snacks. My favourite health blogger and recipe book author, Deliciously Ella, has lots of sugar free cacao recipes that also incorporate good fats such as those found in nuts, avocados and coconut oils to boost your energy and satisfy any chocolate craving.

#10. Eat Your Greens

Cutting out fruits as part of a sugar detox means that you might lack fibre in your diet which can be replaced by eating lots of green leafy vegetables. Most vegetables are low in sugar but non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens and mushrooms, onions, asparagus, squash and broccoli are the best for a sugar free diet.

Vegetables higher in sugar and therefore best to avoid include carrots, beetroots and potatoes (and not just sweet potatoes, but white potatoes too, whether fried, mashed, boiled or baked).

Fill half of your plate at each meal with these low sugar veggies and the rest with lean protein (add some whole grains if you’re eating them).

#11. Try Bitter Foods

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), sweet and bitter flavours are considered opposites and therefore one can be used to balance out the other. The more sweet foods we eat, the stronger our sugar cravings, but eaten regularly, bitter foods such as dandelion greens, green tea and cacao can cancel out sugar cravings.

What’s more, research has shown that bitter foods can help regulate hunger and blood sugar levels which can lead to a reversal in obesity related type 2 diabetes.

So try adding something bitter to your diet every day; rocket leaves, kale and turmeric are all good to try, and see what difference it makes to you.

#12. Keep Hydrated

It’s well known that staying hydrated has many health benefits but did you know it can also help control sugar cravings? Being dehydrated will cause you to feel tired and in this state it can be so tempting to reach for a sugary snack, when actually all your body needs is water.
As green tea is bitter and great at preventing dehydration, drinking it daily has a double impact on beating sugar cravings!

Sour probiotic drinks such as kombucha, a fermented tea based drink made with bacteria and yeast can dramatically reduce food cravings in general but sugar cravings in particular by influencing our gut bacteria.

#13. Use supplements

Filling your diet with protein rich lean meat and non-starchy vegetables will keep you fuller, for longer. The more hungry you feel, the less likely you are to have sugar cravings. But what about taking supplements to help quit sugar?

Chromium is a mineral required for normal blood sugar control and although it’s not yet clear how, chromium supplements can reduce carbohydrate and sugar cravings and promote stable sugar levels.

It’s still science in its infancy but glutamine supplements have been linked to reduced sugar cravings. Glutamine is an amino acid, a building block of protein and is turned into glucose by the body really quickly and therefore reduces sugar cravings. Protein is also known to reduce sugar cravings and could therefore be a reason people who take glutamine supplements record a reduction in these cravings.

#14. Be realistic

Quitting sugar is a difficult and time consuming process so you need to be gentle with yourself and expect to slip up sometimes. Take it slowly, maybe try being sugar free once a week, then building up a day at a time when you feel ready.

Even when you quit sugar completely, you may still be faced with a kids birthday party where the food table looks like a bowl of sugar, or a forgotten lunch or a dinner date with a limited menu. It’s important not to let cutting out sugar rule your life (a potentially dangerous condition called orthorexia indicates an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy food) and to not feel too bad if you have to give in every now and again.

#15. Follow Social Media Accounts of Sugar Quitters

Reading someone else’s account of how they quit sugar is a great way to get inspiration and guidance. Kate Quit Sugar – and so can you is a site dedicated to Kate and her journey and contains lots of guides and recipes to help you on your way.

Following social media accounts and signing up to blogs such as I Quit Sugar will also help boost any low moral and make you realise that anyone quitting sugar will have their bad moments. YouTube is a great source of quitting sugar videos and support. You could even set up your own blog and Instagram and Twitter accounts to chart your own progress, because there’s nothing better than getting virtual high fives from readers and followers, and being able to look back over your own journey!

The Sugar 101 Complete Guide

So now we’ve learned how to quit sugar, here’s my lowdown on the science behind sugar, sugar addiction and the best sugar free foods.

What is Sugar?

Sugar is a carbohydrate found naturally in many different foods from lactose in milk to fructose in fruit. It’s best known form is sucrose, which is the white, refined sugar we add to our hot drinks and baking and is found in most shop bought sweet treats. Sucrose comes from sugarcane or sugar beets and is turned into the white crystals we recognise by a refining process.

Is Being Addicted to Sugar a Thing?

Yes, it is. A study published in 2007 found that although it is in the best interest for humans to have an inherent desire for food for survival, certain people may develop an unhealthy dependence on palatable food that interferes with well-being and gives credit to the idea of food addictions. The same study said that in some cases, intermittent access to sugar can lead to behaviour and neurochemical changes that resemble the effects of a substance of abuse, evidence that sugar can be addictive.

Why is Sugar Bad For You?

The main reason added sugar is bad for us is that it has none of the good stuff in it. It’s literally a high number of calories with no essential nutrients and feeds the bacteria in our mouths that causes tooth decay. Sugar also causes insulin resistance which in turn causes blood sugar levels to rise which eventually leads to type 2 diabetes.

Which Sugar is Good For You?

It’s generally accepted that our body needs a form of sugar for energy to survive, and will turn carbohydrates from food into glucose, the form of sugar our brains use the most. Too much of any sugar is bad, but sucrose, or white, refined sugar that we add to our diet by the spoonful is the bad guy, and the one that we’re all being advised to cut down on. Naturally occurring sugar such as that found in honey is better for us, but still in moderation.

Why we Crave Sugar

Evolutionary biologists have an answer for this. Apparently, we can thank our primate ancestors for our innate need to consume sugar. Millions (and millions) of years ago, apes evolved to prefer ripe fruit over unripe fruit because it had a higher sugar content and therefore provided more energy. Sugar makes our bodies want to hold onto fat, and in ancient times when food was scarce, ancient humans knew this to be a good thing. Therefore, biologically, we’ve trained ourselves to crave sugar. It’s just that nowadays, this sugar is in a much more refined form than then.

Simple Tips to Curve Cravings

There are plenty of tricks for curbing sugar cravings. Eating a diet high in protein, fibre and good fats will keep you fuller for longer. Staying hydrated is crucial for avoiding reaching for the high sugar snacks, and drinking water and green tea (for its bitterness) throughout the day will help. The less sugar you eat, the less severe your cravings, a virtuous cycle, so don’t give up!

Couldn’t I Just go Cold Turkey With a Sugar Detox?

Yes, but it’ll be tough! The internet is full of stories of cold turkey sugar detoxing and almost all of them give the same advice – if you want to quit all forms of sugar, eat lots of protein, good fats (avocados, oily fish etc), and non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli and greens and be prepared with sugar free snacks such as almonds and pumpkin seeds. Stay calm, get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated.

Sugar Free Food List

Here are some of my favourite sugar free foods:

Broccoli
Almonds
Lean chicken breast
Onions
Mushrooms
All fresh herbs (that pep up any meal!)
Eggs
Salmon
Tofu
Coconut yoghurt
Herbal teas
Grass fed butter

Wrapping Up

Did you enjoy my list? How about the science bit? I really enjoyed putting it together, it’s already kick started me into quitting sugar, and hope it will become my norm as I head through my forties. I hope you got as much from it as I did, let me know what you think on the whole subject in the comments below and feel free to share this article on your social media. Together we can combat our sugar demons!

Best Shampoo For Hair Loss 2016 – Buyer’s Guide

best shampoo for hair loss

best shampoo for hair loss
Balding is one of many concerns men and woman have when it comes to aging. But you don’t have to be old before your hair starts thinning or falling out.

If this has started happening to you then you’ll be glad to know that thinning hair and hair loss can be avoided or improved with a number of hair loss treatments.

I’ve created this buyer’s guide to help you understand more about hair loss and how it can be prevented. We’ve done the research on the best shampoo for hair loss so you can feel comfort in knowing there are solutions to keeping a full head of hair later on in life or even at an early age.

Shampoo for hair loss is a great option for treatment as washing your hair is something you do most days without thinking about it.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about hair loss shampoo.

Best Shampoo For Hair Loss 2016

RatingProductOur RatingPrice
1PURA D'OR Anti-Hair Loss Premium Organic Argan Oil Shampoo
(Editor’s Choice)
Check Price
2Una Compensating Shampoo for Hair Loss, Una Oxygenating Treatment, Una Intensive Protein Treatment, Una Daily Hydro-active Conditioner, UNA Vitamin Leave-in Treatment - 5 Set
(Editor’s Choice)
Check Price
3Hair Lab Shampoo for Hair Loss Hair Regrowth and Thinning Hair Check Price
4Ultrax Labs Hair Surge Caffeine Hair Loss Hair Growth Stimulating Shampoo Check Price
5PURA D'OR Hair Loss Prevention Therapy Premium Organic Argan Oil Shampoo Check Price

Go straight to our detailed hair loss shampoo reviews a bit further down this article or read on as we talk a little bit about hair loss and how these hair loss treatments work.

Let’s get straight to it!

What Causes Baldness in the First Place?

Hair loss, also known as Alapesha happens to around 50% of people. It is typically down to genetics but in some cases can be due to other conditions.

Baldness in men, known as male pattern baldness is where the hairline recedes and disappears from the crown over time. Hair loss in woman, know as female pattern baldness usually becomes a lot thinner rather than balding.

Either way, both occurancs happen in th same way.

Hair grows at different rates on different parts of our body due to the three different phase cycle. There are three cycles; the growing cycle known as the Anagen phase, the Catagen phase in between where it slows right down and the Telogen phase where it falls out. Yes, that’s right.. everyone’s hair falls out, but this small amount is normal. The problem for some people is that more hair falls out than the amount of hair that grows back and eventually balding occurs.


[VIDEO] My Fitness Journey After Pregnancy by Malin Bjork

video malin bjork fitness journey

video malin bjork fitness journey
This is Malin Bjork’s fitness journey. Malin had a goal to lose weight and get into shape after giving birth to her son.

Check out the video below of her progress from before she was pregnant to starting out at the gym to gaining recognition on Instagram and her final result.

We think Malin’s transformation is such an amazing success story. You can check out more of her videos on her YouTube channel here.

Malin’s fitness journey is proof that with determination and what you set your mind to, anything can be achieved!

[INFOGRAPHIC] We Need More Solutions for Childhood Obesity – Here are the Stats

solutions for childhood obesity

solutions for childhood obesity

It’s alarming to think that surgeons can replace redundant organs with healthy functioning ones, doctors are able to cure life threatening diseases and even prevent some forms of cancer yet we’re still not able to find definitive solutions for childhood obesity.

According to KidsHealth.org, 1 in 3 children are considered overweight or obese in the United States and the number is rising year by year.

Preventing childhood obesity has become challenging in recent years due to adults leading busier lives and kids becoming less active with the likes of today’s modern technology. Instead of playing hop-scotch outdoors, kids would rather spend their time playing mine craft and socializing with their friends over the Internet.

Below, are two infographics created by SafeFood.eu. The first outlines childhood obesity facts and consequences and the second details actionable solutions to prevent children from becoming overweight.

Infogrphic by SafeFood.eu

childhood obesity infographic

Infogrphic by SafeFood.eusolutions for childhood obesity infographic

6 Simple Fitness Tips For Beginners

simple fitness tips for beginners

simple fitness tips for beginners

Getting in shape is not easy, especially if you have a busy schedule. It can be hard to find the time. But, being in good physical condition is one of the best things that you can do to protect your health and well-being. And what’s best is that keeping fit can be a lot easier than what you think.

Exercising for just half an hour each day will dramatically improve your body’s appearance and help you increase your confidence and self-esteem. Continue reading to learn our 6 simple fitness tips for beginners that, if applied, will get you into terrific shape.

Tip #1: A Good Diet Will Increase Energy, Keep Your Mind Sharp and Your Skin Looking Great.

First things first, if you want to be healthy and fit, you must eat a proper diet. Eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet gives your body all of the nutrients that it needs to function at an optimal level and will help you to lose any excess weight that you may be carrying.

Eat tons of vegetables and concentrate on eating slow-digesting complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and oats, along with sources of lean protein, such as tuna fish, chicken breast and egg whites.

Tip #2: Drink Plenty of Water

There are many ways of boosting your energy levels but possibly the most overlooked way to feel more awake and alert is drinking plenty of water. That’s right, the more dehydrated you are the more tired you’ll feel and if you’re feeling tired during a workout, you’re not going to be able to give it your all with your fitness routine.

By replacing other beverages in your diet, like fizzy drinks, fruit juice and alcohol, with water, you can lose fat and increase your health and fitness.

Tip #3: Start by Jogging

Jogging is quite possibly one of the easiest ways to get fit and a great way to lose weight. It requires no equipment, can be done on the spot, in a park or around the block a few times. Jogging for just 30 minutes can burn as much as 350 calories depending on how much you weigh. The more you weigh, the more calories you’ll lose and you can always step it up a gear by wearing a weighted vest or by jogging up and down a flight of stairs.

Tip #4: Create an Exercise Plan

A great way to keep fit and stick with it is by creating an exercise plan. You are more likely to keep to a fitness routine if it’s planned out in advance.

The key to a good exercise plan is to find activities you enjoy doing. If the idea of lifting weights or using machinery at the gym makes you sick to your stomach, try taking a number of set classes that target the areas you’d like to work on, add a good variety to your plan and you’ll find it much easier to follow.

Tip #5: Strength Training Will Keep off the Unwanted Pounds and Protect Your Bones and Muscles.

Do not neglect strength training. Strength training will help to shape your body and keep you strong.

Weight lifting, if performed properly, is great for people of all ages. Don’t be intimidated and don’t worry that you will all of a sudden look like a giant bodybuilder; that will not happen.

Strength training is especially important for older individuals, as weakness and ill-health brought on by old age can lead to a loss of functional ability and independence.

Tip #6: Having a Workout Buddy is Great for Motivation and Working Towards Your Fitness Goals.

Get yourself a workout partner. Getting in shape is much more fun if you have someone to share the experience with.

An exercise partner, in addition to making the experience more fun, can provide you with motivation and inspiration when you are down, and you can do the same for him or her.

If you have kids, get them on the fitness bandwagon and take them for a walk to the park or just run around the house with them.

What Are You Waiting For?

Which one of our tips will you try first?

Apply any of these to your life and enjoy the benefits of being physically fit.

Good luck!

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