concentration techniques 6
Nutrition chemists continually emphasize the importance of maintaining a proper level of sugar in your blood. If you’ve been feeling groggy all morning, maybe this excerpt will help explain why.
Research in nutrition reveals that energy is produced in cells of the brain and nerves only from sugar. When the amount of sugar in the blood available to the cells decreases below a certain level, thinking slows down and becomes confused, and nerves become tense. These conditions often lead to irritableness, depression, and disorientation. In some cases where the blood sugar level drops abnormally low, blackouts or fainting may result.
However, eating sugar alone will not give you a proper level of sugar in the blood. Sugar or starches alone can leave you in a worse state than before taking them. The important point is the slow release of sugar in digestion, which occurs only when protein and fat are being digested along with the sugar.
In one experiment several different breakfasts were fed to volunteers, and the level of blood sugar measured afterwards. For example, “after black coffee alone, the blood sugar fell below the pre-breakfast levels; and the volunteers experienced lassitude, headache, weakness, and hunger.” Here is an account of the coffee and doughnut routine: “After two doughnuts and black coffee, there was a rapid rise in blood sugar followed by a plunge to below the pre-breakfast levels, resulting in fatigue and general inefficiency.”
None of the breakfasts effectively maintained blood sugar, not even the “basic breakfast” of orange juice, two strips of bacon, toast, jam, and coffee with cream and sugar. Even when oatmeal was added to the basic breakfast, the level of blood sugar rose at first, then plunged in only an hour or So. Finally the experimenters hit on an effective combination, as reported here.
It was not until eight ounces of whole milk, fortified with two and one-half tablespoons of nonfat powdered milk was added to the above basic breakfast that the blood sugar rose and remained above the baseline throughout the entire morning, thus raising the subjects to a prolonged sense of well-being and satisfaction. In another combination, the basic breakfast was used, and two eggs replaced the fortified milk. Here again, the blood sugar rose and remained above the baseline throughout the morning.
The lesson we draw from these experiments is that we must include some protein in our breakfasts, such as milk and eggs (meat is okay, too), but remember that bacon is very low in protein. Without protein, we short-change our entire system, especially by drastically diminishing the thinking power of the brain.
The following account, describing the same series of experiments, carries us right on through lunch; thus, you will be able to see the effect that breakfast has upon your brain throughout the whole day.
The bonus-effect of a breakfast that includes eight ounces of fortified milk or two eggs is that it provides a strong foundation of well-being not only for the morning, but also for the entire day. At noon, the volunteers who had eaten the various breakfasts were given the same lunch: a cream-cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread and a glass of whole milk. Blood samples were taken every hour. Those volunteers who had fortified milk or eggs for breakfast showed not only an immediate increase in the blood sugar level directly after lunch, but also maintained a high blood sugar level all afternoon. Those volunteers who did not have milk or eggs for breakfast, and whose blood sugar levels became low during the morning showed the following effects: the blood sugar level increased directly after lunch for only a few minutes, then fell to a low level and remained at a low level all afternoon.
How About Sleep?
Reports have it that Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, and Napoleon got along with a minimum of sleep, yet put out a prodigious amount of work. It is true that they seldom slept for eight consecutive hours, but what is not reported is that they were free to nap at various times. An examination of the records shows that their catnaps often added up to about eight hours for every sixteen that they worked. Everyone needs to sleep, no matter how important the task he is working on. Even astronauts sleep. The physiological reasons for sleep are not fully known, but it is obvious that sleep relaxes and refreshes both mind and body.