Eat Yourself Clever by Carol Vorderman with Linda Bird
Reviewed by Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD
"A great book to add to your bookshelf"
What’s the theory?
Just like our bodies, our brains need to be well-nourished to perform optimally. As a result, good nutrition and eating well is one of the best things we can do to slow down cognitive decline so that our brains function at their best whatever our age.
There’s growing scientific evidence that diet may have an important part to play in improving the way our mind works to boost mental performance and mood. And better still, what’s good for our brain is also good for our body, ultimately helping us to lose weight and shape up.
This book puts together a brain-boosting diet that will also help to shift the pounds.
What does the diet involve?
Quite simply, it’s a 28-day plan based on eating for a healthy brain. In effect, this translates into eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fruit and veg, low-fat protein and starchy, fibre-rich carbs.
It also includes plenty of brain-boosting healthy fats in the form of nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil and oil-rich fish. Processed foods, sugar, alcohol, coffee and red meat are out and it’s a little low on dairy products, although yogurt and small amounts of cheese are included.
How much weight will I lose?
Unfortunately, there’s no weight loss promise given.
What can I eat in a typical day?
Muesli with berries and mixed nuts.
Tuna nicoise salad and a pot of yogurt or fromage frais.
Cumin spiced chicken with roasted butternut squash and broccoli with basmati rice.
Sesame yogurt dip with crudités and fruit.
What else does the book include?
There’s an easy-to-understand description of the brain and how it works, plus a comprehensive run down of the nutrients we need for a healthy brain (unsurprisingly that translates as all the same nutrients we need for a healthy body.)
There’s a useful section on what causes cravings such as hunger, thirst, hormonal triggers, emotions and stress, plus how to beat these cravings. There’s a rundown of 25 Smart Foods – berries, oil-rich fish, pumpkin seeds, green leafy veg, eggs, poultry, soya, oats, pulses, avocado, dried fruit, tea, apples, sweet potatoes, bananas, wholegrains, citrus fruits, nuts, quinoa, broccoli, mangoes, flaxseed oil, dairy products, tomatoes and peppers – plus the brain robbers, which include junk food, caffeine, booze and salt.
Healthy brain habits such as getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and relaxing are covered. Plus there’s advice given for children, teenagers, students, men and women.
The book finishes with a selection of recipes. Finally, as an added bonus, there’s a brain-boosting CD, where Carol turns a little Paul McKenna and carries out relaxation and visualisation exercises to help us improve our brain function and memory!
This is an excellent book. It’s easy to understand and is well researched with lots of references to scientific studies.
Whilst the main function of the book is to improve brain function, the diet plan will probably result in a small, steady loss of around 0.5kg a week for most people (although slimmers will still need to watch portion sizes for certain foods such as nuts, seeds and olive oil). Despite being a little low in dairy and avoiding red meat, the diet is well-balanced, packed with nutrients and based on the principles of healthy eating.
There’s nothing faddy, no reference to popping supplements every day or detoxing.
All in all, a great book to add to your bookshelf, regardless of whether or not you want to become the next Einstein.
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