Morgan, formerly a
Professor at the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University in New York,
recommends a diet rich in lecithin to help improve everyone's memory, but especially that
of older people. Foods rich in lecithin include peanuts, soya beans and wheat germ. He
also recommends lecithin and choline chloride dietary supplements to boost the
neurotransmitters that are needed to improve your memory.
The Morgans also spell out other dietary deficiencies
that impair mental performance, including a polyunsaturated fat called linoleic acid
which the body itself cannot manufacture. "Fortunately," say the Morgans,
"it is also extremely easy to find: one teaspoon of corn oil is enough to supply an
adult with all he needs. But that teaspoon is crucial for proper brain operation. Without
it, the brain cannot repair its myelin sheaths, and the result may be a loss of
coordination, confusion, memory loss, paranoia, apathy, tremors and hallucinations."
They say iron deficiency is a major cause of poor
mental performance. It probably affects more people in Western society than any other
single deficiency. It "decreases attention span, delays the development of
understanding and reasoning powers, impairs learning and memory, and generally interferes
with a child's performance in school".
The brain also needs a constant supply of other
nutrients. Among the main ones are sodium and potassium. Each of your 100 billion neurons
has up to one million sodium pumps. And they're vital for transmitting all your brain's
messages. Sodium and potassium supply those pumps with energy. Like glucose, potassium is
found mainly in fruits and vegetables. And sodium is found in most foods.
Put simply, reduce your sodium intake and you reduce
the movement of electrical current around your brain; you reduce the amount of information
the brain can receive. Reduce your potassium intake drastically and you risk anorexia,
nausea, vomiting, drowsiness and stupor. All could be symptoms of your brain's vital pumps
Simple tips on brain food
Fortunately, nearly all fruits are rich in potassium,
especially bananas, oranges, apricots, avocados, melons, nectarines and peaches. So are
potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins and artichokes.
We'll deal with some aspects of diet in later chapters,
particularly for pregnant women and children. But for now, if you want your brain to be
working efficiently for all forms of learning and work:
Contents Page Preface