your amazing brain
1. Eat a good breakfast
every morning, preferably with plenty of fresh fruit. Include
half a banana for its potassium content - a whole one if you're pregnant
- with an orange or kiwifruit for vitamin C, and any other fresh fruit
in season. If you have children, make sure they do too.
2. Eat a good lunch, preferably
including a fresh vegetable salad.
3. Make fish, nuts and
vegetable "fats" key parts of your diet. Fish and
vegetable oils have a vital role in nourishing the brain's billions of
glial cells. And nuts and vegetable oils are major sources of that
linoleic acid, which the brain needs to repair the myelin insulation
around your brain's "message tracks".
4. Exercise regularly to
oxygenate the blood.
5. Cleanse the toxins out of
your body. One way to do that is to drink plenty of water. Too
much coffee, tea or carbonated "soft drink" tends to dehydrate
the body, and fresh water reactivates it.
In a very real sense, you are what
you eat. Knowing the correct "brain food" to fuel your brain
is one of the first steps to better learning.
Your emotional intelligence
is vital, too
You are also greatly influenced by
your emotions and what you think.
In fact Daniel Goleman argues that
"emotional intelligence" is of much greater importance than
"academic intelligence" in developing a well-rounded person.
He says that "at best, IQ contributes about 20 percent to the
factors that determine life success, which leaves 80 percent to other
forces". He summarizes these, in his best-selling book of the same
name, as Emotional Intelligence.
Positive and negative thoughts can
also cause major changes in the way your brain processes, stores and
retrieves information: changes, in fact, to your learning ability.
Just as different foods can trigger
your 70 neurotransmitters, so too can your "mental state". If
you're on an emotional "high", for instance, your brain will
release endorphins - those chemicals that are like natural opiates.
These in turn trigger the flow of acetylcholine, the vital neuro-transmitter
that orders new memories to be imprinted in various parts of the brain.
Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer
Ronald Kotulak describes acetylcholine as "the oil that makes the
memory machine function. When it dries up, the machine freezes."16
Not only is acetylcholine vital for