Between your ears, behind the hard curve of your skull, rests your brain, the vital organ that allows you to think, learn and even decide on the best move to make in a sparring match. Because it has the huge job of controlling every move you make, it needs the best care that you can give it - rest, lots of mental exercise and healthy, tasty food. Here are five ways to give your hungry brain cells the super nutrients they need to work like champions.
- Eat Breakfast: We've said it before; we'll say it again. Without it you run the risk of being irritable and unable to concentrate in class by as early 9 AM. A simple, low-fat breakfast that includes carbohydrates and protein (like cereal with milk, fruit, toast and juice) will do the trick.
- Eat Lunch, dinner and snacks too: The busy, athletic lifestyle you are leading means that your body needs regular refueling. Even on days that you will not be working out, your brain needs a steady supply of food to help you say alert. Eat all meals moderately and eat quick, light snack, like crackers or fruit, between meals.
- Eat You Fruits and Vegetables: These natural wonders are the "superfoods" of the food pyramid. Among their virtues is a combination of vitamins and natural chemicals that keep your nervous system (of which your brain is a major part) running smoothly. Also, fruits and veggies are mostly water, which helps the body to flush out toxins.
- Get Enough Iron and B Vitamins: These nutrients are thought to be among the best for our brains. Iron helps carry oxygen to the brain, while B vitamins help keep the brain's line of communication open and speedy. You can get iron from foods like beans, peas, oysters, dried apricots, dark leafy greens and lean meat. Drinking orange juice can help your body absorb the iron. Foods rich in B vitamins include low-fat milk, yogurt, bananas, seafood and peas.
- Take a Multivitamin: Multivitamins cannot give you everything you need (it's much better to get your nutrients from food) but it can help to fill in any gaps you might have. Talk with your parents and your doctor to decide if multivitamins are right for you.