Holistic Learning Part 2: How your diet can impact language learning

– Gillian McKeith

Often when we are studying we forget about the importance of the food we are putting in our bodies to fuel us. Improving our nutrition has the potential to positively influence our performance, increasing levels of focus, attention, and concentration.

Improve Nutrition and Brain Functioning

There have been lots of studies over the years that show how nutritional needs can directly affect the mental capacity of students of all ages. For example, having an iron deficiency, even in early stages, can decrease the transmission of dopamine levels, thus negatively impacting upon cognitive functioning, such as our ability to think and make decisions, working memory and even our ability to focus. Deficiencies in other vitamins and minerals, specifically thiamine, vitamin E, vitamin B1, B5, B6 and B12, and zinc, are also shown to inhibit cognitive abilities and concentration levels.

Additionally, Omega 3 fatty acids and carbohydrate supplementation can improve perception, problem solving and reasoning. There are also a number of studies showing that improvements in nutrient intake can influence the cognitive ability and intelligence levels of school-aged children significantly. Our fluid intake is very important too! A mere 2% decrease in hydration can affect study ability significantly! Making us less able to focus and pay attention to tasks.

Therefore good nutrition ensures better productivity in learning. This is due to the fact that improving nutrition will also make us healthier. Studies have shown that malnutrition can lead to behavior problems, such as ADHA. Sugar has a negative impact not just on children but us adults too! Given us a sudden release of energy followed by a crash!   However, these effects can be counteracted when we consume a more balanced diet that includes fiber, carbohydrates, and protein.

So how does this apply to language learning? By eating a more balanced diet that contains thiamine, vitamin E, vitamin B1, B5, B6 and B12, zinc and omega 3 fatty acids you are making your brain more efficient for learning new things.

Activity: Keep a food diary for the next 14 – 28 days to see what your eating patterns are like and what foods could be missing from your diet!

In order to be more successful in languages, you have to optimize your brain for learning. This monthly series on how to learn languages holistically will help you achieve this…

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