Brain food for thought

Colleges are more competitive every day and foods are getting junkier. At first glance there’s no connection. But what if eating habits affect grades and college acceptance? To find out, The Cardinal Times talked to an expert.

Lincoln biology teacher Laura Armstrong has the expertise to offer insight.

“With something like this, it’s hard to find a definitive answer or properly test it because there are so many different factors at hand such as sleep or what one’s home life is like,” she says. “I would be really interested if there was a study about that and what the results might be.”

A 2014 study by the Food Research and Action Center found that children who had a partial breakfast, or skipped it entirely, had slower memory recall, increased errors and a harder time differentiating images.

Also, undernourished children tend to be absent and tardy more frequently. They have a harder time in social situations and with numbers, such as in a math. Teens who experience food insecurity – not knowing where the next meal will come from –  are more likely to have been suspended from school.

Still, the absolute link between the brain (learning and eventual college acceptance) and food remains murky.

Numerous studies suggest that hungry kids struggle in school and with social interaction. But there is a problem, as Armstrong said.

Those are the same kids who are more likely to be low income with other troubles at home besides hunger. But the fact remains, hungry kids perform worse in school, and get  worse grades. The message is clear: Students need nutritious food to succeed  in school.

Research proves a brain-food connection. Now, it’s just a matter of making sure everyone has something nutritious to eat.