Diet, nutrition and education
The impact of diet on education
- What research shows
A healthy, well-prepared brain is one of
the first essentials for learning anything. Like any other
complex machinery, your brain needs energy. Basically it gets
it from the food you eat.
Feed it a low-energy diet, and it won't
perform well. Feed is a high-energy det, and your personal
computer will work smoothly, efficiently.
For energy it needs plenty of glucose.
That's why fresh fruit and vegetables are so essential: they
are rich in glucose.
To learn effectively – and for your
mind and body to work effectively – your brain sends
millions of messages around the body every second: sometimes
billions. These messages travel along "axons", the
major pathways that link each of your 100 billion active brain
cells to each others and to all parts of your body.
Each axon is insulated by a myelin
sheath, which acts as an insulator. The better the insulation,
the more efficient the message is transmitted. And that
transmission system is vitally affected by good diet.
Your brain also needs the right type of
energy to produce chemical-flows which impact on the
electrical messages being transmitted around the brain and the
body. Scientists call those chemical effects
"neurotransmitters" (neuro meaning mind and transmit
meaning to send). And these neurotransmitters in turn depend
on a balanced diet, one that includes plenty of protein.
Iron deficiency is a major cause of poor
mental performance. And Brian and Roberta Morgan, in the
excellent book Brain Food, recommend a diet rich in
lecithin to help improve memory. Foods rich in lecithin
include peanuts, soya beans and wheatgerm. Potassium is
another highly important dietary ingredient, supplied by
bananas, oranges, apricots, avocados, melons, nectarines and
In the world's best-selling book in 1999
– The Learning Revolution – Gordon Dryden and Dr.
Jeannette Vos include a major section on diet, at the end of
their chapter entitled Meet Your Amazing Brain.
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