Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Lardy Lords

The tube was packed this evening so sadly I didn't get my usual a seat and was so jammed in I couldn't even get my blackberry out to blog on the way home. Still, I did manage to read the newspaper over a fellow commuters shoulder (annoying for them I know, but inevitable!) and was interested to read that Lord Kennedy of Southwark has tabled a question in the House of Lords asking what plans the House of Lords catering services have to promote health eating during 2012.

Lord Kennedy isn't the slimmest of Lords, so this could be a self-interested way to help him to achieve his new years resolutions! But if you take a look at our Lords and MPs they don't generally seem to be a picture of health. Even the slim and athletic types tend to develop a spare tyre and grey pallor as soon as they enter the cabinet.

But why should we care? Generally MPs are viewed as over-privileged individuals enjoying too many expense paid freebies, tax payers money shouldn't be wasted helping them to live long and healthy lives! Whether that's fair or not is by the by, these people are in a position of power to make important decisions that can impact all of our lives so in fact their health should be important to all of us.

The fact is that, whilst being overweight shouldn't affect your ability to make important decisions, your overall health and diet have a much bigger impact on your thought processes and decision making ability than you may realise.

Thoughts are simply chemical messages sent between neurones in our brains and the speed of these messages and robustness of connections between nerve endings, are all influenced by what we eat and are vulnerable to damage through unhealthy eating and drinking habits as well as drug use. Transmission of these messages also requires energy, so poor blood sugar control and dehydration (water is needed to produce energy from sugars) can lead to impaired reasoning. In addition, high levels of anxiety and stress can induce irrational decisions, and these can be down to simple things such as low blood sugar, lack of sleep, or excessive caffeine consumption.

For optimal brain function and clear thinking you need a diet rich in omega 3 and omega 6 essential fats (fish, nuts, seeds) to provide healthy fats for the nerve cells and plenty of antioxidants to protect these fats. You also need to drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine (which has a dehydrating effect), and to eat low GI carbohydrates (to maintain balanced blood sugar levels) and avoid sugars, artificial additives and fried foods (to minimize oxidative damage to nerve and brain cells).

In an ideal world, all parliamentary votes would take place after a good nights sleep and a healthy wholegrain breakfast with plenty of water or herbal tea ... however I can't imagine this is often the case! Still I wish Lord Kennedy all the best with his endeavours ... he may be doing us all a favour.

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