Science

Feed your brain well to learn – Sciences et Avenir

This article comes from the journal Sciences et Avenir – La Recherche n ° 896 of October 2021.

In order for its billions of neurons to remain active at all times, the brain needs a constant supply of carbohydrates because it has no energy reserves. “It consumes the equivalent of a piece of sugar every hour. Blood sugar is decisive for our intellectual performance. If it weakens a little, our concentration falls apart,” explains Dr. Jean-Marie Bourre, a researcher in neuroscience. The constant supply of glucose is ensured by the consumption of foods with a low glycemic index such as legumes (chickpeas, lentils, white or red beans, etc.) and whole grains (rice, pasta, barley, sourdough bread). Slowly absorbed by the body, they provide a sufficient energy supply throughout the day, provided they are consumed in three meals. “Breakfast avoids the 11-hour pump stroke linked to hypoglycemia responsible for greater difficulty concentrating and memorizing,” specifies Jean-Marie Bourre. At dinner, the intake of carbohydrates (pasta, rice, potatoes) allows the brain to encode new information and consolidate the learning of the day. Whether they are of plant origin (legumes, cereals) or animals (dairy, meat, fish), proteins should also be included in all menus. They are a source of amino acids, molecules that allow the development of structural proteins that make up neurons, but also neurotransmitters, which ensure the transmission of nerve impulses.

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