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Over 796 000 matriculants in South Africa are in the thick of their final exams, with government schools halfway through their exams and IEB schools just starting their main exams. A daunting time for most, the upcoming weeks are likely to have them feeling stressed and focused on channelling their brain power for good results.

If you are a parent, concerned about your teen’s concentration, or in matric hoping to do your best, Patrick has some guidelines you can follow keep the whole family mentally “fresh”.

Essential brain boosters

  • Balanced glucose levels
  • Healthy fats
  • Phospholipids
  • Amino acids
  • Vitamins and minerals
  1. Complex carbohydrates. The brain consumes more glucose than any other organ. Include unrefined carbohydrates for a steady release of glucose, such as whole-wheat, wholegrain and unprocessed foods. Fibrous grains, lentils, beans and dark green, leafy and root vegetables are all slowly digested.
  2. Have five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
  3. Dilute fruit juices with water.
  4. Avoid foods containing sugar; including anything with glucose, sucrose, dextrose, malt sugar or honey on the label.
  5. Eat seeds like flax, hemp pumpkin, sunflower and sesame, and nuts.
  6. Include three to four servings of cold water carnivorous fish in your diet. Herring, mackerel, salmon or tuna are good options.
  7. Use cold-pressed seed oils for dressing and cooking.
  8. Eat plenty of free-range, organic eggs.
  9. Choose vegetable proteins like legumes, quinoa, tofu and ‘seed vegetables”. If eating animal protein, go for lean meats and fish.
  10. Supplements are necessary to ensure that you are getting enough of the essentials.

The brain requires B Vitamins, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Manganese and Zinc in specific amounts. Patrick Holford’s Brain Food Pack is your four-in-one dose of vitamins, minerals, Omega 3 and 6, amino acids and phospholipids, and is available at leading pharmacies, Dis-Chem stores and on Takealot.com.