Eating Well for Better Learning
A lot of attention has been paid in recent years to the role of nutrition in children's learning. Here in the UK, the debate The school dinners debate on school dinners, but has continued off and on ever since. What's often overlooked is that nutrition is important in adult learning as well.
For a while at university I had very low energy levels. I felt tired and sluggish; my attention often wandered. It was bothering me, and I didn't know what to do about it.
I mentioned it to my mum who, in the role of sensible parents down the ages, pointed out the obvious thing that her offspring was missing - I was eating badly. It's not that I was eating lots of junk food, but there was no variety in my diet, no attempt to mix things up or ensure I had enough fruit and vegetables.
So I got out a cook book and started trying new things. I made a game of it, trying to cook something different every day. Not only did my energy levels shoot up, but I developed a my food blogging at The Flaming Vegan.
Now that I know what I'm looking for, I can often spot when nutritional issues are affecting people around me. Low blood sugar is the most common. I have several friends who freely acknowledge that their mood becomes terrible if they've missed a meal. People around them have learned to provide a biscuit when they snarl with dissatisfaction for no apparent reason. It's one of the reasons why corporate training courses have regular breaks with coffee and biscuits laid on - not only do attendees get to rest their brains, but they get their energy levels back up, and with it their concentration.
So to all of you setting out to learn this autumn, whether it's starting university or trying to pick up knowledge in a new job, I say this - take the time to eat right. Plan balanced meals. Cook new things. Keep a healthy snack handy for when you're flagging. It'll help you to concentrate and to retain your new learning. A little bit of time and effort on food will give you a lot in return.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.
About Andrew Knighton
I'm a writer and ex-teacher. You can find more of my writing on education at: http://www.degreediary.com/bloggers/27 I also have a blog on reading and writing: https://andrewknighton.wordpress.com/