August 15, 2008

Echo Health – Hunger for Learning

By Barry Nelson

FROMoily fish to fruit superfoods, it?s a well-known fact that the food we eat directly affects the performance of our brains. This week sees the launch of a new collection of brain food recipes, from learndirect, a leading provider of online learning for adults.

To help fuel learning, 14 tasty recipes and tips have been created in conjunction with top TV chef Danny Boome and leading nutritionist Fiona Hunter. Quick and affordable tomake, the recipes were inspired by the increasing number of people who choose to take learndirect courses to fit in with their busy lives and work commitments and who want to maintain a healthy diet.

Fiona says: ?If you feed your brain the right nutrients, you will be able to think quicker, retain more information, be better co- ordinated and have improved concentration. You?ll also see an improvement in your memory and problem-solving abilities. With the right foods, we can also increase our motivation, which is vital if you are taking a course or learning a new skill.

Examples of some of the recipes include poached eggs with roasted tomatoes on wholemeal toast, bulgur wheat and roasted vegetables or steak pitta with tomato and bean salad.

Fuel learning: Eggs are a quick and simple way of boosting your Omega 3 intake which is essential to get your brain functioning. They are also rich in protein which will help to keep your mind alert throughout the morning.

Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and powerful antioxidants which are crucial for mental functioning and brain performance. They also contain B vitamins which play a vital role in producing energy for learning.

Tips: Always keep eggs in your fridge as they make a healthy fast food at any time of the day. As an alternative to fresh tomatoes, try using canned tomatoes ? they do the same job and you can stack them up in your cupboard.

Fuel learning: Red meat is an excellent source of iron which can help fuel learning by helping to make sure the brain gets enough oxygen. To work at their optimum capacity brain cells require a good supply of oxygen. Lack of iron in the diet can reduce the oxygen carrying capacity of blood which in turn reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to brain cells.

Tips: Pitta bread is a good thing to keep in your freezer as it defrosts quickly and can be eaten on the go. If you are a vegetarian, good sources of iron include egg yolks, pulses such as red kidney beans and lentils, dried apricots, figs, broccoli, baked beans, wholegrain cereals and wholemeal bread.

Fuel learning: Wholegrain carbohydrates like brown rice and bulgur wheat help stabilise blood sugar levels which aid concentration. Red peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C which helps to protect the brain cells from ageing.

For further recipes and top brain food tips, log onto www. learndirect. co. uk/brainfood

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