Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

Memory And Concentration Boost

Do Your Memory And Concentration Need A Boost?

After all the binge eating, drinking and TV watching are you finding it a bit hard to get the little grey cells to function? In spite of the weather are the youngsters in your family suffering from exam stress?

Don’t panic! Some simple diet changes could make all the difference.

Is there really such a thing as ’brain food’? Yes is the answer.

Foods needed for the brain’s development while the baby grows in the mother’s womb, foods needed for the child, adolescent and teenager to make sure there is enough energy for brain function, and foods essential to keep the brain active and functioning at peak performance well into old age.

As with all brain function, a constant supply of glucose and oxygen is required for brain cells to work at their best. This requires regular consumption of balanced meals to provide a constant conversion of food into glucose and an adequate intake of easily absorbed iron, in order to carry enough oxygen in the blood. In addition, other essential nutrients, especially calories, vitamins, carotene, zinc and boron are vital for concentration and memory.

British schoolchildren show alarming nutritional deficiencies. They miss out on iron, don’t get enough B6, and are very short of vitamin A.

A science teacher in Wales gave a multivitamin to children and increased their intelligence. When repeated on a much larger scale the results were even more impressive.

A well balanced, vitamin and mineral supplement is a safe insurance policy for those of any age having difficulty with memory or concentration. However, no amount of pills will be as good as eating a healthy diet, and we know that takes a bit of time and trouble. Just make sure that your children are not getting the dreadful pack lunches that 99% of school kids take with them!

Kids No Brainer
If mums don’t eat oily fish when pregnant or breast feeding, and don’t give it to their children either, then suitable fish oil supplement is essential.

So how do these fish oils affect the brain? The truly essential fatty acids (EFA) are linoleic acid (Omega 6) and alpha-linolenic acid (Omega 3) and these cannot be manufactured within the human body so must come from food or pills. Their function is to enable fast transmission of impulses through the brain tissue.

A novel way to get them into your kids is with the nutritious cereal bars with added omega 3 oils, but make sure the essential fats come from oily fish, not plants. In spite of the claims by vegetarians and vegans, I do not believe that the plant based oils work in the same way.

Some of these bars really do taste good and are ideal for the school lunch pack. They are a pretty good idea around exam time too, as they provide slow and quick release energy with vitamins and minerals. Young bodies need good nourishment to get them through the long school day.

But children’s brains are even hungrier than their bodies, voracious in their need for oxygen, for energy and for key nutrients. If these demands are not met, children will find it a struggle to learn, to remember even to pay attention.

Basil and mint are herbs that most children like and they are both very good for mood and concentration. Adding some nutmeg to rice pudding, or even on the vegetables, eases anxiety and promotes feelings of calm.

The Ultimate Exam Diet – good for adults too if they need to be mentally sharp
Memory loss, poor concentration, anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, violence, weepiness, exhaustion, panic attacks, mood swings and many forms of irrational behaviour are often caused by a lack of essential brain foods.

For maximum concentration and brain power during the stress of exams or work it’s best to reverse some of the normal eating patterns to be at peak performance for the morning and afternoon. To unwind and relax at home and to sleep well – if exams are just around the corner it’s no good trying to sit up till the small hours and cram.

Breakfast: High protein, low fat, little carbohydrate, so –
a large glass of fresh orange or pineapple juice,
a low fat bio live plain yoghurt with toasted almonds or pistachios,
a poached egg with baked beans,
an apple or pear.

Mid morning:
a snack of dried apricots, raisins, dates and nuts.

a mixed salad with cold meat, fish or cheese, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, watercress and tomatoes.

Mid afternoon:
low fat cheese or a hard boiled egg with an apple, pear or grapes.

Evening meal: Now it’s carbohydrates –
root vegetable casserole with potatoes, swede, parsnip, turnip, carrot, onion, celery, shredded cabbage, and kidney beans, rice or barley, or
a generous portion of pasta or risotto with your favourite low fat sauce.
Finish with a delicious carbohydrate-rich rice pudding – add plenty of nutmeg.
During the evening eat a banana and a few dates or dried apricots.

During the day drink at least three to four pints of fluid, mostly water but including weak tea, herb teas, natural fruit and vegetable juices and not more than two cups of coffee. Sugar is about your worst enemy so do try to avoid it in any form, including honey, during the daytime. Save your sugar fix for the evening and keep it as small as possible.

Nutritionally perfect for extended periods of brain work, this day’s eating provides two thousand calories, lots of protein, low carbohydrates, low fat, low salt and well over your day’s needs of every single essential nutrient. Follow these guidelines and your mind will be on full alert when you need it most.

Brain Power By Pills And Potions
There are some natural supplements which will help adults boost their mental powers. A simple daily multivitamin and mineral will make up for any lapses in your healthy eating plan. Ginkgo biloba can improve short term memory, though most studies have been done on the elderly, it can help at any age and may even delay the progress of Alzheimer’s disease in the early stages.

When exam time comes around, anxiety and stress are never far behind, so get to grips with these problems before they become too serious.

KarmaMood; is a low dose licensed herbal remedy containing St John’s Wort for the relief of mild to moderate depression.

Vitano; is a traditional herbal medicinal product containing Rhodiola rosea and used for the temporary relief of symptoms associated with stress, such as fatigue, exhaustion and mild anxiety

RelaxHerb; is a traditional herbal medicinal product containing Passion flower and used for the temporary relief of symptoms associated with stress, such as mild anxiety.
All three of these excellent products are available from Boots, Superdrug and other leading independent pharmacies and health food stores nationwide.
Or buy on line at:
The Swiss herbal medicine BioStrath Elixir may improve concentration and mental performance in language and maths and is fine for children, parents and grandparents.

Ginseng is a traditional herb for concentration and mental energy.

The Brazilian herb Guarana is a great physical and mental energy booster. The best products come from the Rio Trading company.

Try their Buzz Gum, it keeps you awake and mentally alert. Find in health stores, chemists or online: www.riohealth.co.uk

Zinc is a key factor for both memory and concentration and is commonly lacking in convenience foods. Shellfish is a particularly rich source, and oysters the richest of all, but there’s plenty in crab, other fish, wholegrain cereals, beans, peas and pumpkin seeds. The best supplements are combined with vitamin C.

Rosemary is the king of the memory enhancers. It stimulates the adrenal cortex and is of great value in loss of memory, nervous tension, anxiety and general emotional debility. In ancient Rome rosemary wine was used to treat all these mental problems.

Make sure you eat plenty of fresh fruits, particularly grapes, pears and apples, and a handful each day of fresh unsalted peanuts, walnuts and almonds to keep your boron levels up to scratch. Boron has not been thought essential for humans, but recent research suggests that it may play an important part in the transmission of electrical impulses in the brain.

Quest - 3mg pills £4 for two month supply.

Senility and associated short term memory loss can be helped by improving the diet as above, but it’s vital to recognize that many elderly people have poor absorption.

Supplements play a vital role in helping this group of people, a broad spectrum multivitamin and mineral is a must, and regular doses of garlic and ginkgo biloba will help improve blood flow to the brain tissues. Iron, beta carotene and vitamins B1 and 2 are important to memory and mental alertness

The best iron supplement is Spa-tone, a Welsh mineral water – stocked by chemists and health stores. Older people will also benefit from Lecithin to help fat and gingko too.


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