Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘brain

tulipsBW-800pxSuch phrases that are supposed to encourage hard work sometimes have the opposite effect. For example, being told to ‘put your nose to the grindstone’ could put off anyone for whom self-discipline is elusive, from ever studying again! In the New Scientist this week (Issue 3126, pp. 27-30) is a feature article called ‘Daydream believer’. It looks at what we can do to increase our focus at a long task such as revision, looking particularly at letting the mind wander around a topic.

Several studies suggest that letting yourself daydream intentionally about a topic which you are learning is a more effective strategy than forcing yourself to concentrate over a lengthy period.

So when you’re studying, don’t put your nose to the grindstone – tend to the thought garden. Consider the makeup of the flowers (the interesting parts), appreciate the insects and worms (the causes and unseen elements), imagine the sunshine and rain that will fall in the future (the bigger context and processes). Build up an intentional daydream about your topic of study. Mull things over not only when you’re at a desk or in the library, but when you’re in the shower, walking up from the station or making a cup of tea.

If this doesn’t appeal to you, there are other tried and tested memory techniques that are based on visualisation of the topic matters for instance in rooms of a “house”. Read about that tool in The Memory Book by Buzan and Harrison.

Brain food journals‘In search of the optimal brain diet’ an article in Scientific American Mind this month, lists healthy brain diets as those coming from the Mediterranean, Okinawa and Scandinavia. This is likely to be due to the frequency of fish and lack of sugar in these diets. Oily fish (like salmon and tuna) contain omega-3 fatty acids that aid neurological and mental health. The best of these fatty acids is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) because it improves nerve to nerve communication and helps the functioning of brain cell membranes.

Besides the importance of fatty acids, increasingly scientists believe there is a link between the trillions of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms (known as microbiota) that live on and in the human body with our health and wellbeing. The greatest concentrations of microbiota are found in the gastrointestinal tract where food is digested and absorbed. This is explored in detail in ‘Human microbiota’ in the current edition of Biological Sciences Review.

For students wishing to find out more, look up some of our nutrition resources.

 Ebooks include:

Gibney, M. (2009) Introduction to Human Nutrition https://www.dawsonera.com/readonline/9781444322965

Geissler, C.  & Powers, H. (2009) Fundamentals of Human Nutrition https://www.dawsonera.com/readonline/9780702049903

On the general shelves are:

Barasi, M. (2003) Human nutrition: a health perspective http://bit.ly/1Pz3e73

Barasi, M. (2007) Nutrition at a glance http://bit.ly/1PMbVZD;

Bender, D. (2014) Nutrition: a very short introduction http://heritage.hillcroft.ac.uk/HeritageScripts/Hapi.dll/search2?searchTerm0=bender%20 ;

Holford, P. (2008) Optimum nutrition made easy http://heritage.hillcroft.ac.uk/HeritageScripts/Hapi.dll/search2?searchTerm0=holford%20

Perlmutter, D. & Loberg, K. (2015) Brain Maker: the power of gut microbes to heal and protect your brain. http://heritage.hillcroft.ac.uk/HeritageScripts/Hapi.dll/search2?searchTerm0=perlmutter%20 

and on the reference shelves are:

Dictionary of Food Science and Nutrition (2006) http://bit.ly/1ofQnxp

Hark, L. (2007) Nutrition for life http://heritage.hillcroft.ac.uk/HeritageScripts/Hapi.dll/search2?searchTerm0=hark%20 .