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Rock 3 - Eating And Drinking Healthily

'Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness'.

Your Brain On Food

The human brain makes up 3% of the body’s mass but uses around 20% of the body’s energy.  As sleep is an active process this percentage doesn’t drop much during the night. This is why eating the right amounts of the right sorts of foods is so critical for maximising our productivity, mood, learning, memory and attention every day.  Just like a car engine, without the right fuel, our brains aren’t going to be taking us very far.

Image by Dan Gold

Drinking enough is crucial too, water helps digestion and the metabolising of our food as well as maintaining the right concentrations of key chemicals in our cells. Brains need a constant supply of glucose for the hard cognitive work of problem-solving.   The best form of this sugar is not refined, but that the body metabolises from carbohydrates and proteins.  Refined sugar, sweets or energy drinks provide instant fuel which burns off very quickly and can leave us feeling listless and low.  Food affects our moods. Our bodies and brains are complex chemical factories and our metabolisms are constantly affected by the chemicals we’re digesting from our food.

The food we eat can also affect our gut bacteria and as we'll see in this section they can play an important role in appetite and the all round effectiveness of our digestion.  The communication between our gut, stomach and brain is two-way and constant throughout the day.  In fact, two-thirds of the connections run from stomach and gut to the brain, not the other way round.  If things aren't great in our stomach or gut that has a big impact on our brains too.

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