Utne article 3

greenspun.com : LUSENET : MEd Cohort III : One Thread

This is my third Utne article:

-- Anonymous, March 28, 1999


Third Utne article - Debra Berntson - March 28, 1999

The third Utne article I read was 3Snacks for Brainiacs2 by Elizabeth Somer printed in the November-December 1998 issue, pages 98-99. This article contains information found in her book, Age Proof Your Body: Your Complete Guide to Lifelong Vitality.

Elizabeth Somer briefly explains in her article how our brains are affected by what we eat or do not eat. She includes information on the correlation between brain function and nutrients. To clarify this knowledge, the author links foods containing those nutrients with the brain function those nutrients support. Somer9s stresses the need for nutrition and exercise. Exercise increases the rate of oxygen, nutrients, and blood flow to the brain as well as lowers stress hormone levels and increases nerve chemicals.

I agree with the author and the importance she places on nutrition. The author provides the reasons supporting the correlation between nutrition and the quality of our brain functions. She suggests eating certain foods containing the nutrients we need to function mentally at our highest level. For example, Choline is a nerve chemical found in egg yolks, peanut butter, cauliflower, whole-wheat bread, and leaf lettuce. The function of Choline in our brain is to assist our memories. B vitamins are responsible for regulating neurotransmitters, converting energy used by the brain, and helps sustain the insulating sheath around the nerve cells. The author writes that a lack of any of the B vitamins affects our thought process, concentration, memory, and reaction time. Sources of vitamin B are nonfat milk and yogurt, wheat germ, bananas, green peas, and seafood.

In discussing the issues contained in this article with others, I found we agree that we disregard this knowledge when our minds need it the most. As life becomes more rushed and stressed, we tend to eliminate what we feel is not necessary. Exercise is cut back and meals are whatever we can create or buy more efficiently. There are phases in my life in which the advised health habits are easier to follow. I cringe when I think my sixteen-year-old son would never touch most of the foods listed. He is not alone in the world of students and their questionable eating habits. We have the breakfast program in the schools as a result of this same issue. I do not have information regarding the success of this program. It has been a struggle to manage the breakfast program. Due to bussing concerns, students arrive later, need to eat, and are late arriving to class.

Although the information conveyed through this article brought a note of familiarity, I had to admit in my rough draft that my eating habits had not changed significantly since the last time I read an article similar to this. Since the I submitted the rough draft, I started exercising three times a week and have changed a few of my eating habits. The author9s suggestions are not difficult, the foods are not exotic, but the self-discipline required at times proves to be a challenge.

-- Anonymous, March 28, 1999

Hi Deb! Yes, your article states lots of things that we already know. But I do agree with you all the exercising that doesn't get done due to time constraints! Another teacher and I are trying to get out and walking for 2 miles 3-4 mornings a week at 5:30. We've done fairly well and then we're done with our exercise for the day! A good feeling. Eating right is another subject. I love all of the foods that you listed, but do we have them every week? Not all of the time. Something to think about. One comment on the school breakfast: several kids at Ordean don't want to participate in it because of the stigma associated with it. Too bad. It's such a vital meal to participate in! Thanks for your review...I'm going to try and eat and exercise better!!

-- Anonymous, April 04, 1999

Deb, good summary of the article regarding snacks.

More and more researchers into learning patterns are turning to the role of nutrition and brain function and exercise in the classroom. Certainly food effects the teachers ability to function, and, naturally, the students to learn.Perhaps we need to move to a more functioning classroom where there are readily available snacks in small refrigerators so that students can resplensish themselves when they feel a need. I know my eight year old get cranky when she is hungry, and becomes her sweet young self after she snacks.As companies are moving into what they are calling just in time training, perhaps school can move into just in time snacking, and it could become a core part of the curriculum "....as we do our homework, let's remember to snack..." In classroom eating might also bridge the gap between certain students feeling poor and not wanting to call attention to themselves. Keep thinking Deb!

-- Anonymous, June 21, 1999

Moderation questions? read the FAQ