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Food for Your Brain

It’s all in the blood sugar

Keeping an even blood sugar level is critical to your levels of mental and physical alertness – especially at the start of the new academic year when your diet probably more relaxed than usual. When your blood sugar dips (often a rebound from blood sugar highs) this promotes the release of adrenal hormones, as do stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine. So, to help get your blood sugar back into balance, stick to a low GL diet containing slow-releasing carbohydrates eaten with protein and avoid or, at least considerably reduce, your use of both stimulants and alcohol. Keeping your blood sugar even will help you to concentrate for longer periods of time and help your brain to focus on the task at hand.

Boost your Intelligence

It may surprise you, but you can actually boost your intelligence and IQ score at any age – even in your third year of university. Some people argue that real intelligence is innate, something that you are born with. Patrick Holford argues the truth is that your ability to make intelligent decisions depends not only on this aspect of intelligence but also on the clarity of mind, how quickly you can think, how long you can concentrate for and your memory. These can all be improved with optimum nutrition. This actually shouldn’t be surprising as the brain, composed of a highly complex network of neurons, is made up of what we eat. ‘Thinking’ is a pattern of activity across this network. Our neurotransmitters (the messengers in our brain) are affected by what we eat.

How can you be sure that you are getting enough of the right kinds of nutrients through our diet? You can’t. To ensure that you are getting optimum amounts of all the important vitamins and minerals, Patrick recommends that you take a multivitamin or supplement with vitamins B2, B6, B12, folic acid and “intelligence fats” such as omega 3 and 6.  Tests done on both school children and adults show that vitamin and mineral supplements increase the speed of your brain’s processing ability, which is a significant factor in IQ, as well as improving attention span and memory. Do you need any more convincing?

So, to keep your mind and body alert this semester, follow these simple rules;

1)    Achieve stable and sustained blood sugar levels by eating a low GL diet and cutting out or deceasing sugar (this includes alcohol and other stimulants)

2)     Ensure an optimum intake of vitamins and minerals, both from diet and supplementation

3)    Optimize your intake of essential fats, especially omega-3 fats, by eating flax seeds and oily fish, and/or taking fish oil supplements.