By Jeniffer Mykolenko
We all know that September is time to return to our Alma Maters, this time it was delayed a bit, but all is well that ends well. Now it’s time for back-to-school diet as well. To maximize alertness, memory and problem solving abilities it is important to provide our brain with the right nutrition. Students of all ages require more than just a healthy diet – they need a diet that maximizes brain power.
According to research by Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon, to most effectively metabolize glucose – the “brain fuel”, our bodies require a long list of vitamins belonging to B-complex such as thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid, Vitamins B6 and B12. Although B Vitamins are the major contributors to school success, Vitamins E, C, D and folate are also big players in the “A” game.
Vitamin E is a power antioxidant protecting brain from damaging effects of free radicals. Two main components of Vitamin E are alfa tocopherol and gamma tocopherol that both are powerful antioxidant helping prevent a wide array of degenerative brain conditions. Nuts and leafy greens such k as spinach, kale and Swiss chard are the best sources of Vitamin E, and that is why it might be a good idea to bring a handful of almonds as a snack for a class.
Vitamin C is another macronutrient with strong antioxidant properties. Its main function is removing “waste” from around brain neurons. Cleaner spaces in between neurons improve speed and quality their communication which in turn improves mental processes. Foods with highest concentration of Vitamin C are bell peppers, broccoli and kiwis. Simple salad for lunch should give the school day a much needed boost!
Vitamin D or the “sunshine” vitamin supports the growth of neurons which improves such brain functions as thinking, concentration and problem solving. Spend you school breaks in the sun to produce Vitamin D within the body or add more fatty fish, beef liver and eggs to your diet. If you struggle with consumption of extra proteins, get a supplement. Also remember, that besides assisting the major brain functions, appropriate levels of Vitamin D can guarantee a better mood!
Folate or folic acid assists in cell production and improves alertness, memory and focus. Some of the good folate sources are beans, peas,
lentils and avocado. Seems like
pre-exam time might be good for a Mexican fiesta, as this ethnic cousin is famous for its use of the above ingredients!
The list of “brain foods” is fairly simple, and even small adjustments to one’s diet can play an important role in achieving the right balance of nutrients and grades.