Summer is over, which means it is time for the brain to wake up and start working hard again, especially for children going back to school. It is vital that you eat the right foods to properly energize and nourish your brain. As soon as your brain is in need of energy, the area that feels it first is your frontal cortex, which is what handles all the complex aspects of your brain, leaving any residual energy to focus on maintaining vital life functions. That is why you start to feel confused or cannot concentrate once you run out of fuel for your brain.

 

Your brain uses 20 percent of the energy you consume, but it prefers its energy in the form of glucose. However, as much as the brain needs glucose, it reacts adversely to too high of glucose levels, which can manifest itself into diseases. By eating the right foods, your brain will function better, you can concentrate longer, and you can think creatively and more complexly. If you eat foods high in sugar and fat with minimal nutrition, then you end up with a super fast high amount of energy followed by a crash that happens just as quickly. Then, your brain becomes tired and foggy, making it really difficult the rest of the day.

 

Fatty Fish, Nuts and Seeds

The Omega-3 fatty acids, found in abundance in fatty fish like salmon, nuts and seeds, are necessary for optimum brain function. Around 40 percent of your brain cell tissue is made up of DHA, a fatty acid found in Omega-3. Studies have shown that having high levels of DHA in your system keeps your brain functioning, helps your memory and concentration, and even helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. If you do not like to eat fish, you can get plenty of omega-3s through nuts and seeds like walnuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and flaxseed.

 

Leafy Greens and Cruciferous Vegetables

Kale, spinach, broccoli, and other members of the leafy green and cruciferous vegetable groups are powerhouse foods. They have many antioxidants, including vitamin C and carotenoids, which have been shown to reduce the oxidation in the brain and other cells, fighting free radicals, especially as your brain is very vulnerable to these free radicals. They also are rich sources of vitamin K, which improves cognitive power.

 

Fruit and Berries

Berries, especially blueberries and strawberries, have antioxidants that protect your brain and neurons from any damage and boost your brain’s communication abilities, while also helping to get rid of any waste. Fruit also provides a quick energy source, without all the downside of candy and sugar, while being full of essential nutrients.

 

Whole Grains

Whole grains, like rice, quinoa, and amaranth are essential for fueling the brain. They are complex carbohydrates, which will provide the brain with energy take longer to digest, meaning the fuel and energy last longer. Many of these grains also have other important vitamins for your brain, like the B-complex vitamins and antioxidants.

 

Chocolate

Chocolate is a great pick-me-up for your brain, as long as you opt for the healthier, dark chocolate variety. It has just a bit of caffeine, which boosts your brainpower. Most importantly, it is a rich source of flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that has been shown to aid brain function. You can also find flavonoids in red grapes, tea, and apples.

 

Water

Not strictly a food, water nonetheless needs to be on this list. You must be properly hydrated, or else you will find yourself getting tired and not functioning well. If your body is even just 1 percent dehydrated, you can start to show symptoms, which can include loss of concentration, poor cognitive ability, headaches, and more.

 

Through eating these healthy foods in place of any sugary, processed foods, you will find yourself having more energy all day long. Your brain can function better, allowing you to concentrate and think better. Children will be able to focus on their schoolwork, which will improve their grades. It is easy to find ways to incorporate these foods into every meal and snacks you and your family eat.

Conversation with High Riser: Carly Wilson

by Rini Sampath

Most people her age find themselves peeling back textbook pages and hauling backpacks to class this fall. But Carly Wilson has carved out a different path for herself. After completing two years of college education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Wilson has taken a sabbatical in order to pursue her surfing career.

And understandably so, because Wilson is talented at her passion. Her accomplishments and awards range from winning the northwest NSSA division to taking first place at the Morro Bay competition.

“Competing in surf contests is unique in the sense that you are individually judged on each wave that you catch. So when I’m out there, rather than necessarily worrying about my competitors actions, I’m just focused on getting myself the highest scoring waves that I can,” she said.

Wilson launched her surfing endeavors at the age of 13 — quite impressive that even before learning how to drive, she knew how to navigate treacherous waters. She credits her athletic family — composed of her mother, father and younger brother — for encouraging her current lifestyle.

She describes feelings of anxiety and frustration that ensue while competing, but asserts making the best out of the situation is the real challenge.

“You can’t control the ocean,” she said. “It’s so addicting and adrenaline boosting, that I can’t explain. I just love the feeling of being in the ocean, whether it be in Hawaii or California.” Though she spends much of her time perfecting her sport, Wilson understands the beauty of moderation. She loves to keep up her other hobbies alongside her passion for surfing. She noted, “Being out in nature hiking, running, skateboarding, or golfing with my family and friends are some of my favorite pastimes. I am inspired to be the best surfer that I can be through my love for healthy cooking in the kitchen, and ending each day on my yoga mat.” Rise Bar is so enthused to fuel athletes like Wilson who are not only competing for themselves, but also for their community.

She said, “If I knew that I couldn’t fail, I would travel the world on the ASP surfing tour and use my contest winnings to help people in need educate people about health.”

Rise Now Scholarship Winner

Essay by Richard Nunez

Five years ago, I never would have guessed that I would be inquiring into scholarship opportunities as I
embark on the next chapter in my educational career. I left high school knowing I would not attend
college and that finding a career path was right for me. I spent the next decade traveling, networking
and cultivating my career. However, I was faced with a new reality when notice of my immediate layoff
turned my world upside down. The economic collapse left my job obsolete and the prospect of a
new job out of reach. Unemployed, under educated, and overweight; I opened my mind to the
possibilities that change could bring and closed the door to this chapter in my life.

At 350 lbs and a pack a day smoker, it was crucial for me to begin with my health on my path to
become a better man. Changing my eating habits, beginning an exercise regime and cutting back on
smoking were key elements in this new lifestyle. One year later, 100lbs lighter and in the first
month as a non-smoker, I felt I had control of my health and was ready to enhance my mind. I was
apprehensive to return to college after more than a decade, yet the sense of personal accomplishment
allowed me to seize the challenge ahead. It was here at Fullerton College I found the desire to study
public health. Classes in nutrition, human biology and health science cemented the importance of
health, while classes such as psychology, American ethnic studies and psychobiology presented new
ideas about behavior, social welfare and the health implications of inequality.

I found great value in education and have the desire to link that with health and wellness. I spent
one year of my time at Fullerton College in the Entering Scholars Program as a tutor. Here I spent time in
the classroom assisting the instructor with classroom activities and interacting with students to provide
a collaborative learning environment. Each semester I worked with approximately 26 students in and
out of the classroom to develop essays and helped create a better understanding of course content. In
addition to my time tutoring, I was lucky enough to obtain an internship with Student Health Services
as a Peer Health Educator. Here I was able to utilize my recently gained knowledge to conduct in-class
presentations on current health related topics affecting college age students as well as conduct research
and interviews as the campus correspondent for online magazine, Student Health 101.

In the beautiful words of Maya Angelou, “Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear, I rise.”
As I prepare for the fall semester at the University of California, Irvine, I feel confident and prepared to
rise to the occasion due to the choices I have made, the skills I have obtained and courage I have built.
Had I not risen to the occasion, I might still be overweight and in a dead end job. Three years as a nonsmoker,
120 lbs lighter and on my way to a degree in public health- today I am a healthy and happy
individual who is about to attend a top tier university here in Orange County and ready to give back to
my community.

 

 

The Best Way to Explore? Go for a Run

by Danica Newton

 

The best part about being out of your normal area is the ability to explore a new town on foot! A new area can invigorate your running and allow you to get a different perspective of the place you’re visiting. It’s easy to miss interesting sites by car, and on foot you’re allowed to be on your own schedule and spend time at whatever interests you.

 

Whether it’s running through neighborhoods to look at the houses, running through a large park, or even through a historic area, running can give you a new insight to the area that you’re visiting and can help you familiarize yourself with the city as well.

The first thing to do when exploring is to make sure you’re doing it safely. Map out a run and make sure to check with someone who is familiar with the area to make sure it’s a safe route. Double check that there is area there to run on a bike path or sidewalk to make sure there will be enough room for you and the traffic around you. You can map routes and even find routes that others have run in the area on mapmyrun.com or runkeeper.com.

 

It’s important to be aware of your surroundings especially in a new area, so forgo the music for the first few times you’re out running in a new location. It will allow you more time to absorb what is going on around you and also familiarize yourself better with the area. It also is making sure you’re staying focused so that you don’t miss a turn off or road you should be taking and you don’t end up getting lost.

 

Check the weather! In a new area, a 75 degree run may be much different than a 75 degree run that you’re used to back home. Make sure to check for storms that you might not be familiar with, humidity factor and also take into account what elevation where you’re going to be running. If you’re not used to the elevation or humidity difference from your normal turf, you may be struggling because of the lack of oxygen.

 

Lastly, remember to enjoy it! That’s the reason you went for a run in the first place. Look around you as you run and soak in the new sights, smells and sounds. When you plan ahead for a run, you’ll get the most out of each adventure. Running in a new area can lead to discoveries you had never imagined, so let your mind and feet wander along a new path.