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The effect of food

We thought we'd give you some food for thought. We're all familiar with the saying "you are what you eat", however, recent research shows that choosing what you eat can dramatically effect how well your brain works. So that little saying doesn't seem so silly now.

Obviously there is such a wide range of foods available, that trying to learn what they all do is not possible. Therefore, we have bought together some broad types of foods that all have different effects on not only our brains, but our wastlines, energy levels or even general health.

Carbohydrates constitute up to 75% of what we eat, but while some carbohydrates calm behaviour, others excite it. When the brain receives a steady supply of sugar from carbohydrates, it operates efficiently. But when sugar levels fluctuate, thinking becomes more erratic. Best foods for carbohydrates include fresh fruit, cereals and grains, vegetables and legumes, and milk and yogurt. Avoid simple carbohydrates such as glucose, dextrose, sucrose, and sweets, cakes and biscuits. The ups and downs they produce can cause you to feel fidgety, irritable, inattentive, and even sleepy.

Another crucial food for thought is proteins. Proteins provide the amino acids from which neurotransmitters are made. Neurotransmitters are biochemical messengers that carry signals from one brain cell to another, so the better you feed them, the more efficiently your brain works. And then there's fats, which are major components of the brain. The most important fat for the brain is DHA, which is increasingly recognized as having a crucial influence on neurotransmitters. Children who take DHA supplements show dramatic improvements in behaviour, concentration and test scores.

Vitamin supplements can also help - children who take vitamin supplements show improved learning and score higher on intelligence tests. And finally, don't neglect fibre. Though not directly involved in brain function, it stabilizes the flow of blood sugar. When you eat is also important. The keys? Eat a healthy breakfast, and graze through the day - five or six small meals are far better than two or three big ones. That way your brain has a good, regular supply of energy, allowing you to function at your best throughout the day.

So check out our additional pages for ideas on how different foods can effect your temprament, diet and therefore your well-being.

Summary: Avoid simple carbohydrates such as sugars, cakes and biscuits and boost your energy levels with fresh fruit, whole grains and milk or yogurt. They will keep your blood sugar levels stable and help you eat the right foods to maintain your weight and good nutrition.




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