Tag Archives: health

What should I eat when studying for exams?

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Exam period is starting and before digging in the bag of sweets, let’s try to make smart decisions.

Best news this week: Eating chocolate improves learning ability (and mood)! However, I’m not talking about Cadbury’s dairy milk I’m afraid. It’s the flavonoids in chocolate that are responsible for improving learning and memory. The darker the chocolate, the better. Dark fruits also contain flavonoids, so go for it!

Another memory superfood is…. Omega-3 fatty acids!

Last week I attended a lecture about diet and mental health. The first thing I learned was that Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be produced by our body so it is essential we get them from our diet. Why? Because we need them for brain cell formation. According to Dr. Sandrine Thuret (King’s College, London), studies have demonstrated that Omega-3s can be associated with prevention of cognitive decline and that fish eaters experience up to 4 times less cognitive decline than non fish eaters.

Ok, so we need to eat oily fish or take fish oil supplements. If you want to buy supplements, you should pay attention to this: There are 3 types of Omega-3s: ALA, EPA and DHA. When buying fish oil supplements, you should look for EPA and DHA, simply because ALA cannot be precessed by our body.

EPA and DHA, through the building of new brain cells, increase our learning ability. They also help us cope with stress! When under stress, we produce cortisol, which can cause cell death. But cells that were fed EPA and DHA can resist to cortisol better than normal cells.

All great news then. Now what do we need to eat to get our daily fix of EPA and DHA and how much of it?

Recommendations for supplements vary between 300mg to 800mg per day. But to give you an idea of what these quantities represent, here is a list of foods in which there is 1g of EPA/DHA:

  • 85g salmon (or mackerel)
  • 255g tuna
  • 10 eggs
  • 3kgs beef (good luck with that)

In conclusion, eating a portion of oily fish a day during revision time should help us learn and memorize, even under stressful conditions.

Above all, remember to keep eating a varied and nutritious diet for optimum health :-)

And  G O O D   L U C K  ! ! !

Summer food, rose colored fish steak in a wine marinade

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How running became possible

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As a teenager I had the desire to run but in all honesty I wasn’t very good. I don’t know why, but I would get so exhausted that I’d have to stop after about 15 minutes! At some point I decided to train with my sister, but even with training, the longest I managed to run for was 35 minutes and I thought I was going to die! My face was as red as a tomato for the rest of the day, and I didn’t even enjoy it.

About 10 years later, two years ago, I decided to go to university. This was certainly the biggest challenge of my life. Rebel teenager, I had left school at the age of 15 and worked as a nanny pretty much since then (not that rebel). I took a few courses in the meantime but never went very far. Anyway, I passed my 1st year in nutrition and health at uni (with a 2.1 yay!!) and one of the modules I was taking was biochemistry. It was the most difficult subject, however I managed to get 60% at my exam. In shock, I threw up when I realised what I had achieved, I swear this is true! That summer I decided there was nothing I couldn’t do and tried running again after a 10 year break.

The 1st time, I ran 15 minutes and felt tired but okay. The 2nd time I ran 20 minutes, about 3 kilometres, and the 3rd time I ran 10k. I know, it’s not how you’re supposed to do it, but I did it. During that run I kept on thinking: “I’ll run 1 more kilometre then stop”, but I didn’t feel tired. So I kept on going. Of course, the days following that run, I could barely walk down the stairs, even walking down the road proved to be a challenge! And guess what, I hurt my knee. What a pain. I had found an amazing way to get rid of stress, feel healthier, listen to loud music when I can’t turn it up too much in the house and feel happier overall.

Well I have had to rest my knee for 3 months but I am back on the river paths now and am loving it more than ever!

This is my story and how running became part of my life and my well being. Without trying to sound sentimental, I guess the message I’m trying to spread is that  n o t h i n g   i s   i m p o s s i b l e. Giving yourself a challenge may lead to another one and gradually make you achieve something big, who knows?

Anyway, enough faffing about. I’m going for a RUN!