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Posts Tagged ‘brain’

Dark chocolate

Posted on: 4th March 2016

Low Energy?

Overcome the mid-morning energy low with a piece or two of dark chocolate, researchers say – and they have been scans to prove it!

The chocolate makes us more attentive and awake, and its benefits aren’t psychological; it affects areas of the brain associated with attention and focus, say researchers from Northern Arizona University, who connected a group of volunteers to EEG scanners.


dark chocolate


The 122 participants had their brains monitored while they were given a piece of dark chocolate, with 60 per cent cacao, and five ‘dummy’ pieces. Only when they ate the real chocolate did the appropriate areas of the brain become stimulated, they said.

It’s the cacao in the chocolate that has the brain stimulating qualities, so only dark chocolate will do. The sugar and milk in standard chocolate don’t have the same effects.

Source: NeuroRegulation, 2015; 2: 3-28

How to diet properly

Posted on: 6th January 2016

What diet works?

Well it’s all to do with how you think about food. Research recently highlighted by the BBC, would suggest that before you choose how to diet, you need to know what food type you are.

What type am I?

Research suggests that there are broadly three types of people, feaster, cravers and emotional eaters.

Feasters generally don’t know when to stop eating, A hormone, in the gut, that indicates when we are full, is depleted in this group, so the brain keeps thinking it needs to eat.

Cravers are genetically predisposed to feeling hungry and thinking about food 24/7. Leptin levels that measure fat in the body fall as we lose weight, and in cravers the brain indicates that fat levels need to rise, making us feel hungry.

Emotional eaters, as the name implies seek food to comfort eat, to compensate for emotional and behavioural issues. Stress plays a key role as our nervous systems are over stimulated with the inevitable loss of energy, unless we replenish by eating.

What diet suits me?

Feasters, well it’s all about boosting those gut hormones. That means a high protein, low carbohydrate diet; the best carbohydrates are those slow release ones with a low glycaemic index. Good examples are pasta, lentils, not potatoes and ordinary breads.

Cravers fall neatly into the 5:2 diet, that’s two days eating 800/600 calories if you’re a man/woman, preferably consecutive days.

Emotional eaters, because you are trying to change behavioural habits, group help is actually important. Slimming World and similar organisations are a good way to set yourself a target, and with peer support achieve your goals.

Tips to think about

Because it is about maintaining our metabolic rate, as we lose weight it actually falls, so eat slowly and don’t rush your food.

By avoiding those bad carbohydrates you are more likely to burn fat and reduce the production of glucose.

Exercise – lead a healthy life, it’s easy. Shop with a basket – 40 calories, stand making phone calls – 60 calories, 6-7 minute walk – 110 calories, climb stairs – 60 calories, that’s 270 calories equal to thirty minutes on a bike.

Finally, if you get a day wrong get back onto the diet ASAP! Good luck.


weight loss

Omega 3s and B vitamins work together in the brain

Posted on: 24th September 2015

What the study involved

A new study from Oxford scientists suggests that combining omega 3 fish oils and with B vitamins might slow the progression of brain shrinkage in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

As part of this new study, researchers divided 168 people over the age of 70 years with mild cognitive impairment into two groups, one of which took high-dose B vitamins (folic acid 0.8mg, vitamin B6 20mg, vitamin B12, 0.5mg) while the other took inactive placebo for two years.

What has research shown?

In those taking the B vitamins, the rate of brain atrophy slowed by 40 per cent compared with those on placebo but only if they had high blood levels of omega 3 fatty acids.


This is the first evidence to suggest that Alzheimer’s-related brain shrinkage might be slowed through dietary intervention, and has been hailed by experts as a major breakthrough in dementia prevention.

Source – Lifespan 2015