Go bananas for a natural brain power boost

Bananarama


Inspiration for this week’s blog post comes from Middlesbrough College and its excellent energy-boosting concentration-improving solution for A-Level and AS-level students – bananas.

Yes, the yellow fruit packed with potassium, is a superfood that can help to combat stress and boost brain power. As bananas are also a slow-releasing energy food, this makes them a perfect option for a mid-morning snack to help maintain productivity through the day. Having a banana for breakfast is also a great way to start you on the right track to 5-A-Day.

Students at Middlesbrough College are offered a banana and a bottle of water 30 minutes before exams begin. This was designed to ensure those skipping breakfast do not experience dips in concentration as a result of missing out on the first meal of the day.

The college believes bananas are the ideal antidote to exam fatigue, which can cause students to answer incorrectly as energy and concentration levels begin to drop midway through exams.

Director of A-Levels, Richard Ronksley says: “The theory behind it is not new, bananas have many health benefits. It’s a simple idea but we believe it will be beneficial to students and will hopefully have a positive impact on their exam results.”

Bananas are a great choice for all – potassium is an essential mineral that helps to maintain normal blood pressure and healthy heart function. Other banana benefits include: they are a great source of fibre, are low in salt and high in vitamin B6 making them an excellent mood food. Vitamin B6 can also be highly effective in controlling muscle spasms and strains naturally. Lastly, bananas are low in calories and are easy for your body to digest.

What’s not to love? Bananas rock. Spread the word…

Is your working lifestyle putting your health at risk?

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If you’re anything like me: sitting at your laptop and working away on features, transcriptions, research, paperwork and tons of emails is a key part of what you do. Yes, you can work in the garden or work remotely in a more picturesque backdrop, but there’s no getting away from that face-to-face technology time that is critical to the way you work. But, did you know, those long hours in front of your computer can soon stack up putting your health at serious risk?

Keep an eye on those weekly hours totting up as working from morning through to night has been linked with dementia. If, at the moment, you’re averaging around 55 hours per week, make some changes and reduce those hours down to 41 hours or less. Your poor overworked brain will be glad of this new respite.

Research from the British Chiropractic Association revealed that a third of us sit for more than ten hours per day, and worse still, half admitted to not even leaving their desk to have lunch. Similarly, previous research by the British Heart Foundation found that HALF of us spend most of our days immobile. Making just a few subtle changes can make such a difference. Getting a little lunchtime fresh air will not only perk you up but also increase concentration when you do return to your desk. With warmer weather all around us (well most days!) there is no excuse to hide inside.

A sobering thought to keep in the back of your mind at all times is: those who work 11 hours per day raise their risk of heart disease by up to 67 percent according to new research funded by the Medical Research Council.

Make to-do lists more manageable and try not to set crazy targets to meet each day. Learn to go a little easier on yourself and your mind, heart and body will really thank you for it.