As promised in the blog about referencing and citation, this week, we bring you information and facts about academic integrity and how to avoid plagiarism.
As a master’s student, expect yourself to be surrounded by deadlines to submit assignments, academic papers, and dissertations for most of your academic life (follow our #DILO – A Day in the life of an RKC student series to know more). Academic integrity is a crucial aspect of academic studies, and strict protocols must be followed to abide by the rules of academic writing.
So, what is plagiarism?
When one submits another person’s ideas, writings, words, images, or data as their own, it is termed plagiarism.
Plagiarism is among the four most common forms of academic dishonesty, the other three being cheating, academic misconduct, and fabrication. While looking for ideas and information is good research, not giving proper credit for the work cited becomes plagiarism. It is easy not to recognise potential plagiarism in one’s writing. Here are some examples:
Using information from the internet is commonly considered public information. However, it is still required to be cited.
When one paraphrases (i.e. puts someone else’s ideas in their own words) and does not provide credit to the original idea.
When one sources information from reading material provided by the professor, it still needs to be cited. This is considered poor academic practice though, as you need to demonstrate independent research, and go directly to the sources mentioned by the professors in their lectures, rather than cite the lectures themselves.
When one copies their own ideas, used in previously marked work, and submits the same material for a new paper. This is commonly known as self-plagiarism.
How to avoid plagiarism?
As complex as it may seem, plagiarism can be avoided by simply citing and referencing your work wherever necessary and giving due credit to the original ideas, theories, words, quotations, images, or graphs.
Studying for a masters, working full-time, juggling work-life-study balance itself seems daunting. Do not get lost in trying to find the correct way to present assignments and avoid plagiarism. There are various sources that you can use to ensure effective writing every time.
Access the electronic library through your University account – there is always a guide to academic writing, referencing, and tutorial support directly from librarians
Ask for help from the tutors and student support services, who can help you get unstuck and direct you towards the resources that can help
I hope this prepares you well for authoring your academic papers and assignments. If you are stuck or have any questions, our highly qualified, world-class faculty will guide you through using the correct methods and techniques to follow academic integrity.
I dislike starting a blog using a cliché, let alone one the is well worn. The world today is really small. One could even call it a “global village”. There are several reasons for this: cheap, quick travel across the world to clear, instantaneous, and secure audio and video communication and conferencing. Decisions can be made from across the world, data and finances can be transferred securely and instantaneously to execute decisions, and human resources, if required, can be flown in overnight.
As the result of all this globalisation and economic barriers disappearing, businesses, even small businesses, have become multinational.
Having said that, there are still several barriers businesses must overcome to be genuinely international or multinational such as language, culture, local labour laws, politics, economy, and geographical distances, to just name a few. A business will have to overcome at least as many difficulties as there are countries to truly operate internationally.
There are several ways companies overcome these challenges, from recruiting locally to creating or recruiting specialists in international business who are familiar with the local laws, culture, etc., and who can learn and adapt quickly. These specialists will not only be familiar with the working of the company but will also be familiar with the expectations of the company from their local subsidiaries, partners, and vendors.
These international business specialists will have to work closely with their local agents communicating the company’s policy and expectations. They will, in all probability, have to travel to the new country of operation as a representative of the company and spend a substantial period in-country to ensure the processes are set up correctly.
More prominent companies will also set up an international office with the primary purpose to troubleshoot any issues that might arise from operations in any country.
Here are 3 reasons why YOU should consider a career in International Business
Salary and Demand
As per the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in the U.S., only about two thousand students graduate with a master’s degree in International Business every year. To give you an estimate of the earning potential of a career in international business, according to data published by PayScale Inc., in the United States, the approximate early career pay for someone with a bachelor’s degree in International Business is about USD 52’000. I can infer from this that there is an opportunity to get in on the ground floor for a career in international business as the number of graduates is still very low. The salary offered is competitive, and depending on the company and job profile, there is the potential to earn more from the get-go itself.
Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Job satisfaction is very subjective. You might hate to do the work that I love, and vice-versa. So, before you take up a job in international business, ask around, find out what the job entails, how much travel is involved, what kind of job security is being offered? According to a survey by PayScale Inc., about 40% say that a career in international business has “meaning”, here “meaning” means they feel their work makes the world a better place. Whereas about 70% say, they are satisfied with their work. So, the potential of having a satisfying career is relatively high, and maybe even a meaningful career.
International business is a people-oriented job. It is dependent on people-to-people interactions, decisions, and analysis made by managers, understanding the cultural nuances of (a) people. As a result, international business cannot be automated. Even if the process you are involved in does get automated, something new will get created just above your current profile in the value chain. So, a career in business in general and in international business in particular will, in general, be future-proof, and unless something goes drastically wrong at your company, you need not worry about losing your job.
If you are ready for great career opportunities, professional growth, traveling and exploring new cultures, then a career in international business might be for you. Robert Kennedy College offers several programmes in International Business. Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information.
We take immense pleasure to announce that Dr. Sarah Williams, a Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Sustainability, has been highly commended in the category of Masters’ Teacher of the Year 2021 by findamasters.com. This was for her role as Module Leader in the Robert Kennedy College online residency module delivered by the University.
In the judges’ view, “Sarah’s teaching has a global impact, and the judges agreed that this was reflected in the large number of students from around the world who supported Sarah’s nomination for this award.”
The University is incredibly proud of this achievement, and so is Robert Kennedy College. It highlights the calibre of academics working at the university and reflects positively on the partnership with Robert Kennedy College.
One is known by the company they keep, and Robert Kennedy College is indeed in good company with some of the best teaching faculty. Have a look at profiles of our key faculty members
The University of Cumbria received the University title and degree awarding powers from Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council in 2007. The University is fully recognised by the British Government and duly listed on the United Kingdom’s Department for Education list of recognised UK awarding institutions. Upon successful completion of the online Masters’ programme, you receive an Internationally recognised British degree from the University of Cumbria. Undertake the Master’s programme today, with complete confidence and faith that your Masters’ degree is accepted worldwide and has the highest level of recognition.
Getting back to being a student is not easy, especially if you have been out of school for a while. But since you have decided to get your master’s degree, there are a few simple habits that, if developed, can help you become a better student as well as have a positive impact on your life in general. Acquiring these habits can help you become more productive, organised, and efficient.
Some of these points might sound obvious, and they are, and you might be under the impression that you are already implementing them in your life. But I urge you to think about these points and analyse if you are genuinely implementing them – the answer might surprise you.
The 5 habits
Do not procrastinate
We have covered this point to death in our blogs, and here we are writing about it in another blog. And the reason we are doing it is that this is a significant point, the importance of which cannot be understated. Procrastination is also one of the most common habits developed by human beings. My colleague, Vidhi Kapoor, has covered procrastination and tips on overcoming the habit in one of our previous blogs – Procrastination.. Saving for tomorrow…….
Depending on the programme of study, you may get access to materials before the module starts for real – use that time to prepare. Make a list of the topics covered in the module (mind-maps are a great tool for this), try to get your hands on as many of the recommended/required readings as you can, and even start reading about the concepts in advance. Doing a first pass before watching the video lectures will help you prepare the ground for sowing, as it were – and it may be that questions that you come across while reading solo will be answered by the lecture, or not – in which case, you’ll know what to ask using the class discussion when the time comes!
Organise your notes in such a way that it is easy to find when the time comes to refer to them. Use a calendar, keep track of your class and fee payment schedules, know when your assignments are due and ensure that you complete your tasks before they are due. Time management is probably one of the biggest reasons students fall behind or stay ahead in their classes. We have covered time management as well in one of our previous blogs. Being organised can also relieve stress because you know what to expect and can be prepared beforehand.
Let’s file “seamless cloud back-ups” under being organised. Even with intermittent internet access, you can still organise cloud back-ups (or external drives if you prefer) – computer crashes do happen, but they are seen as the equivalent of the “dog ate my homework” of yesteryear.
Traditionally, being thought of as a teacher’s pet could make you really unpopular with your classmate. You are all grown up now though: stop thinking like a child! No man is an island! But as usual, we keep forgetting this. If you have a question or do not understand something, ask! The professors are there to help you learn and study better. You can also ask your classmates for help, and hopefully, you will also be able to help them, if asked. There is no better way to truly understand something than trying to explain it to someone else. Active class participation can have several positive impacts on your student life. Teachers notice the students who are engaged in class and will, in general, be more positively disposed towards these students. Don’t be afraid to “raise your hand”, virtually as that may be, and ask questions. It is always better to come away from a class with a clear understanding of the subject. And finally, take notes while you watch the videos – it is the best aid you can have during your revision of the subject.
Use active study methods rather than passive study methods
I will explain to you my understanding of the differences between active and passive study methodologies using a simple example.
When I was in school, I had a teacher that made us study by rewriting something repeatedly. For example, and this is just an example, let us take Newton’s third law of motion, which states that for every action in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This teacher would make us write the law repeatedly until it became muscle memory. There may be a time when this works, but I have found that there is no understanding of the law here, and this is a passive way of studying.
An active study method is to summarise your understanding of the topic in your own words. This method enables long term retention of the topic and, more importantly, understanding of the subject matter, which will help you to practically implement it at work in the long term.
These are just a few points that will hopefully help you become a better student. There are probably many ways to achieve this more effectively and efficiently. If you know of any, please list them in the comments.
If you are ready to start your online studies, chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the 100% online master’s degree programmes we offer and the application process.
We continue with our blog series bringing you answers to some of the questions we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) frequently get from students looking to join one of our online programmes. We asked some of our past and current students to share their thoughts and opinions, to give their feedback on how they handled online learning challenges. Hopefully, this will, in turn, help you make an informed decision.
I believe learning is a life-long process. You never know when an opportunity to learn is thrown your way. Would you grab the opportunity, or would you think it’s too late to learn and study when you reach a certain age? But is age just a number?
Antonio, an RKC student from Mozambique, is a shining example of how age is just a number when it comes to studying for your Masters. Let’s hear his story!
Who you are, really?
Antonio M, from Mozambique. A senior citizen still willing to learn and upgrade my skills in new areas associated with my country development.
Which Uni are you studying at?
University of Salford
Which programme did you choose and why?
Online MSc in Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain Management
How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? How many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?
Initially, I thought 2h a day would suffice, but I learned that I needed to spend at least an additional hour every day. Let me say, for someone with my slow thinking speed, you need an average 3h a day to be comfortable and do all the homework (forum discussions, contributions). Do this for 6 days a week, 1 day to rest if you can afford it.
What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g., early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)
In my case, evenings due to silence and more available bandwidth for Internet data.
How did travelling impact your ability to study?
Being an online course, travelling did not impact too much. When travelling, the main issue was Wi-Fi availability.
How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?
Most of my peers were around the same or close time. Having a platform and forums eased the interaction. It was not immediate, but I would get the reaction soon enough. With those closer peer friends or people with closer affinity, we shared our mobile numbers, and if required, we would use the mobile phone and interact.
How much time did you devote to each assignment?
A lot of time. As soon as you get the assignment brief, start immediately and dedicate at least 3h a day for the assignment. Make sure you state an initial outline as soon as you understand the problem to be solved. Having the outline, Google Scholar all the required stuff, minimum of 15 peer-reviewed references per assignment (my opinion).
What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?
6-7h sleeping, 6-8h working and 3-4h studying, 3h solving family issues, 2h socialising with other people. My community, Rotary, and family would require more of my time and reschedule this time outline.
Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies?
Please make sure you do participate in the weekly activities since usually they prepare you for your assignments. If you do it right, you may have a considerable part of your assignment done, at least in terms of the referencing. Going straight to the assignments is the wrong strategy. I did learn with some pain later that if I had done the week activities it would have made my life easier and would have saved time for my assignments. Otherwise, while busy with the assignment, you understand that you still need to do the work you avoided.
If you have been dreaming of joining a master’s programme or have had this personal goal to gain a higher degree, now is the time! Take valuable advice from our current students, gain from their experience, add your unique study strategies, and make your own success stories! I would love to feature you one day on our college blog.
Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time.
Henrik Johan Ibsen, the Norwegian playwright and theatre director, once said, “A thousand words leave not the same deep impression as does a single deed.” Unfortunately, after his death, this quote was plagiarized and para-phrased into what we know today.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
But motion picture has completely changed the way we consume data. Not only does it enable us to take in more information in a short time, but it also makes the information more credible. Hearing it straight from the source makes a difference.
Robert Kennedy College (RKC) is pleased to share with you, our readers, students, alumni, and potential students a series of video interviews with some of our graduates, sharing their challenges and tips and tricks for successful studies. It does not matter the programme or the university these students graduated from, they were all students of RKC, they all faced similar challenges in doing a master’s programme online, they all faced a decision – to do or not to do an online master’s degree.
Here is your chance to hear directly from our students and hopefully help you make an informed decision, to help you study better, or simply to motivate you to live your dreams and to achieve your goals.
Meet Christina, RKC alumni and graduate of York St John University, as she shares her thoughts and decision-making process on why she choose to get back to studying and the challenges she faced.
Hopefully this interview has answered some your questions about RKC and doing a master’s programme online, and please watch this place for more similar blogs. You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for a more personalised discussion of your needs and best match with the programmes we offer, and the application process.
In my previous blog, I wrote a step-by-step guide on how to write an effective abstract for academic papers. Continuing further in the same direction, this week I would like to discuss referencing and citations. As I mentioned earlier, writing an abstract is not rocket science, and neither are referencing and citating.
Now, referencing is an important academic practice. But it becomes even more important when you are studying at University level. It is thus imperative to understand the correct way to reference and cite your sources in your master’s degree assignments, academic papers, or dissertation. This blog is your one-stop shop about what, how and where, style guides, and examples of referencing and citations.
So, first things first, what is the difference between referencing and citations?
While undertaking your masters’ studies, you will constantly hear from your professors to reference your work and cite the sources of your research and ideas.
As the name suggests, referencing refers to the source of work that you used in your paper. The readers should be able to find and read for themselves the original source of information that one has read or considered in their academic piece.
Citations, on the other hand, are brief mentions of the author or the external source used in writing the paper. A citation is, in other words, an abbreviated reference. While both inform the reader of the sources of information used, there is a fine difference between a reference and a citation. Here are some key differences between references and citations:
A reference is a complete record of the source that has been sought or cited in the paper.
A citation is disclosing the source within the main body and thus is also referred to as an ‘in-text’ citation. It provides just basic information such as the authors’ names, year of publication, and perhaps the page number if a sizeable quote is provided.
References are listed at the end of the document, on a page having its own title (“List of references”, “References”, “Works cited”).
Citations are presented within the body of the document where we speak of the ideas or results of the source we are citing..
References provide the reader with information such as the authors’ names, the publication date, the title (of the book or article), page numbers, publisher and place of publishing, etc.
A citation provides less information, such as the last names of the authors and the publication year, such that it does not disrupt the reading flow.
Both references and citations give credit to the authors whose ideas have been discussed in your work, in addition to supporting or criticizing an argument. This is additionally critical to avoid plagiarism in academic writing (topic for another blog!).
Different styles of referencing and citating
Different academic disciplines prefer specific referencing styles. In business programmes (such as the MBAs, MSc’s), you will often be asked to use Harvard or APA styles, whereas in Law programmes (LLM, LLB) you will most often be asked to use Oxford or OSCOLA. You should always check the programme handbooks and assignment briefs, and in doubt, with your instructor what referencing style they expect for the assignment or academic paper you are writing.
The references should be regrouped on a new page at the end of the paper. This list gives the complete information to identify and locate all sources used in the paper. There should be a corresponding entry in the list of references for all in-text citations that were used. References typically follow an alphabetical order of authors’ last names but under certain styles the order of appearance will rather be used.
Among the different styles used by different disciplines, here are the 6 most frequently used styles in writing academic papers, each with a very specific purpose they fulfil:
APA (6th or 7th Edition)
The style guides specify the kind of information and how it should be displayed for different types of sources (books, articles, websites, images, ebooks, etc.) – ensuring consistency across not only your work, but across the entire field of study that uses that style.
At first look, these may all seem complicated, and daunting, but there are tools that can help you manage your sources, references, and citations.
For example, Word has a tool called “Citations & Bibliography” which allows you to enter your sources in a database (“Manage Sources”), to insert in-text citations that are automatically updated if needed (“Insert citation”), and to generate your list of references (“Bibliography”) according to the specific style you need (“Style”).
External tools also exist, such as Zotero, Mendeley, EndNote, or CiteThemRight – which have pretty much the same functionalities – managing your references with one of these tools will save you a gigantic among of time and effort, so by all means, pick the one that works best for you and run with it.
I promised you some examples, so here goes:
Harvard / APA styles
Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2019), or Saunders et al. (2019), when the author’s names are part of the sentence, or (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2019) or (Saunders et al., 2019) when they are not.
Reference list entry
Saunders, M. N. K., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2019) Research methods for business students. Eighth Edition. New York: Pearson.
Oxford style (OSCOLA)
OSCOLA uses numeric references, with the full reference given in a correspondingly numbered footnote. So, in your text, you would simply put a superscript number by inserting a footnote1 and then the footnote would contain the reference as:
Mark NK Saunders, Philip Lewis and Adrian Thornhill, Research Methods for Business Students (Eighth Edition, Pearson 2019).
Reference list entry
Saunders MNK, Lewis P and Thornhill A, Research Methods for Business Students (Eighth Edition, Pearson 2019)
Note the difference between the footnote reference and reference list entry – in the footnote, you give the author names in “firstname, lastname” format, whereas in the reference list you give it in “lastname, f.” format.
If this looks complicated, it is! 😊 Which is why I reiterate my advice to use a reference management tool – whichever one works for you.
Hope this prepares you well for writing your academic paper or assignments. If you are stuck or have any questions, our highly qualified, world class faculty will guide you through using the correct methods and techniques for referencing and citations.
What is the best way to study online? Should you do an online programme? How to better manage time when learning online?
These are all questions that we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) get asked regularly by students who are looking to join one of our online programmes. Undertaking to do an online master’s degree programme will be an additional commitment to your time and finances, and it is wise to get information beforehand, cross your T’s and dot your I’s before making your decision.
Through this continuing series of blog posts, some of our past and current students have shared their thoughts and opinions and given their feedback on handling some of these choices and situations. Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision.
Learning from those who came before you is smart. I am not asking you to follow what they are saying blindly, but to take what they said worked for them and see if it will work for you, maybe make a few changes (or a lot). In the end, only you know what works best for you!
Anthony Cairns is one of our successful students who graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Leading Innovation and Change (This programme has been discontinued, we now offer a 100% Online MBA in Leading Innovation and Change in its stead). Anthony says that his experience in doing an MA via RKC resulted in his now doing a PhD.
Once you get the academia bug, there is no stopping the roller coaster! 😉
Anthony Cairns, RKC Graduate
Who you are, really?
I am a software test management consultant, specialising in software testing, governance, and ISO standards.
Which Uni are you studying with?
I studied with York St John University for my MA.
Which programme did you choose and why?
MA in Leading Innovation and Change
The Study Plan
How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? For example, how many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?
I decided to study 2 modules at the same time, the reality being that I achieved this, but with detriment to perhaps I could have gained higher marks had I studied one at a time. But the end result was I managed to gain my MA in less time than I would have otherwise taken. Although I was working full-time as a contract consultant test manager, I worked every evening from around 7pm until about midnight. I then got up early at around 6am to do a couple of more hours before going to the office.
What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)
I used to personally love the 8pm to midnight, as well as the 6am (if not earlier).
How much time did you devote for each assignment?
Hard to say when I did 2 at the same time, but perhaps I estimate about 20-30 hours each week across 2 modules.
Travelling and Communication
How did travelling impact your ability to study?
Not at all, as when I travelled it was via flight and it gave me extra time to work on my MA.
How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?
There was no real time difference as such as I worked whatever time I need to allocate to get the work done and delivered.
A typical day as a master’s student
What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?
Get up early, do some University work. Go and perform my daily paid-for-work. Get back (to home or hotel), then do another couple of hours before dinner. Stop for an hour or so for dinner, then do another 3-5 hours after dinner in the evening.
Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies.
Perhaps work on a single module at a time. Take all the advice you get from your supervisor, as they have been there many times before. Read, read, read, then read some more. Research is paramount. Give advice and guidance to fellow students who may need a little help and guidance. I did this all the time and found it also personally very rewarding.
I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this place for more similar blogs. You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, and the application process.
The Dean of Robert Kennedy College, Dr. iur. David Costa recently held an online presentation and live discussion session about our 100% Online BA, MSc, MBA, and LLM programmes. The online Master’s programmes are offered in exclusive partnerships with the University of Cumbria, the University of Salford, and York St John University. The participants – the potential and current students accepted into our programmes – had a chance to ask the Dean questions directly.
Introducing the Dean
Professor David Costa is one of the founders of Robert Kennedy College. In his current capacity as Dean of Faculty, he oversees the faculty review process and several of the college’s academic programmes.
He holds a Dr. iur. (Doctor Iuris, Doctor of Laws) degree from the University of Basel, Switzerland, where he researched the law and regulations related to synthetic investment products. With other Law degrees from Scotland (Robert Gordon University, LL.B), England (the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, LL.M International Trade Law), and the United States (Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, LL.M in U.S. Law), he has acquired extensive expertise in Comparative Law.
In addition to his legal qualifications, Dr Costa holds a BA in Business Studies from the University of Derby, an MBA in eCommerce from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, a PhD in Strategy, Programme, and Project Management from the École Supérieure de Commerce de Lille for which his doctoral thesis was a study of index-based commodity investments.
David is a frequent guest on business TV channels such as CNBC Europe and Bloomberg Television. His recent research on risk-adjusted portfolios with both stocks and commodities has been used for the creation of a Swiss publicly traded investment certificate issued by the second-largest German Bank, Commerzbank AG. In addition, he is the author of The Portable Private Banker.
Professor David Costa lectures at Robert Kennedy College in Contracts Law, Transnational Business Law, Investment Law and Money Management
Professor David Costa began with a short presentation providing details about each of our exclusive partner universities. Then, he introduced the programmes offered – the MBAs, MSc, LL.Ms, and the BA (Hons) that was recently added to the list of the wide range of programmes RKC offers. He then gave the programme overview and explained what makes our Master’s programmes so unique. Here are some of the highlights that set RKC’s Online programmes apart:
Duration – Minimum 12 months and maximum 5 years
Contemporary, practical courses
No Exams. Evaluation based on assessments
100% online courses
British Degrees that are recognized worldwide
Further, he dived into the real reason they were all gathered together, and it was the pursuit of higher and quality education. David himself has been studying for over 20 years. With several academic degrees and two PhDs, he said that education had been his best investment, and each programme he studied gave him the best return on investment. He went on to tell why:
Discovering new horizons
Applicable learning – learn it today and apply it today!
Finally, the Q&A round! The Dean himself answered several questions by the students from the questions about the programme, the payment plan, eligibility requirements, the study schedules, and many more.
Watch the recordings of the live sessions held by Dr. iur. David Costa to find out for yourself if any questions that you might have have already been answered.
It is indeed a very informative session. Would you like to attend a similar session in the future? Let us know in the comments section below, and we will notify you of the dates for future live session.
If you ask me, the brain is the most essential part of the human body. Some of you might disagree with me and say it is the heart, lungs, liver, or left pinky finger that is more important, and you might be right, with valid reasons. The fact is, without the brain, nothing else matters. A body without brain activity is just a shell.
So, taking care of the brain, nurturing, and exercising it is crucial if you need to perform at your best. In my opinion, it is more important to keep your brain at peak efficiency than it is to keep your body in the best of conditioning. And like everything else that is related to your body – what you eat is critical in its development.
If you removed all the moisture from your brain, what are you left with? Breaking down your dehydrated brain into its constitutional nutritional content, most of its weight comes from the following:
Fats, aka lipids
Proteins and amino acids
Of course, the brain is much more than just the sum of its nutritional parts. However, each part has an important role in your development, functioning, mood, and energy. So that sleepy feeling you get after your third helping of biriyani (a delicious Indian rice dish, a definite must-try!) could simply be the effect of food on your brain.
Fats aka lipids
The brain has the second-highest lipid content behind adipose tissue, and brain lipids constitute 50% of the brain dry weight. Omega 3 and omega 6 are the most essential fats in your brain, and, as they are critical in preventing degenerative brain conditions, must be included in your daily diet. Therefore, eating omega-rich foods is necessary for the creation and maintenance of cell membrane. Some examples of omega-rich foods are:
Fish and other seafood (especially cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines)
Nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts)
Fortified foods (such as certain brands of eggs, yogurt, juices, milk, soy beverages, and infant formulas)
Plant oils (such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil)
There are, of course, fats that are bad for your body and brain, like saturated and trans fats, and long-term consumption of these may compromise brain health. So, you know what to look out for, a few examples of “bad fats” are:
Baked goods, such as cakes, cookies and pies
Refrigerated dough, such as biscuits and rolls
Fried foods, including french fries, doughnuts and fried chicken
Nondairy coffee creamer
I know, that is most of the good things in life. It makes me sad too!
Proteins and amino acids
These are the building blocks of life, of growth, and development. A protein is a chain of amino acids that are connected. They impact how we feel and behave.
Amino acids contain neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that transmit a signal from a neuron across the synapse to a target cell, which can be a different neuron, muscle cell, or gland cell. This has an impact on your sleep patterns, mood, weight, etc.
Different types of foods can have a vastly different impact on how we feel. For example, pasta can give us a feeling of calm, or protein can make us energised. This is why having a balanced diet is essential because you don’t want to swing your mood around too much.
According to the World Health Organization – micronutrients are vitamins and minerals needed by the body in very small amounts. However, their impact on a body’s health is critical, and deficiency in any of them can cause severe and even life-threatening conditions. They perform a range of functions, including enabling the body to produce enzymes, hormones, and other substances needed for normal growth and development. Micronutrient deficiencies can cause visible and dangerous health conditions, but they can also lead to less clinically notable reductions in energy level, mental clarity, and overall mental capacity. This can reduce educational outcomes, reduce worker productivity, and increase risk from other diseases and health conditions.
Five micronutrients — vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc — play roles in maintaining the immune function. The following are a few examples of micronutrient rich foods:
The human brain only makes up about 2% of our body weight, yet it uses up to 20% of our energy resources. Most of this energy comes from carbohydrates that our body digests to glucose. The brain, specifically the frontal lobe, is so sensitive to drops in glucose levels that a physical change in mental functions becomes visible.
According to an article by the Harvard Medical School (HMS), brain functions such as thinking, memory, and learning are closely linked to glucose levels and how efficiently the brain uses this fuel source. If there isn’t enough glucose in the brain, for example, neurotransmitters, the brain’s chemical messengers, are not produced, and communication between neurons breaks down. In addition, hypoglycemia, a common complication of diabetes caused by low glucose levels in the blood, can lead to loss of energy for brain function and is linked to poor attention and cognitive function.
The brain is dependent on sugar as its main fuel; it cannot be without it.
Vera Novak, MD, PhD, an HMS associate professor of neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Assuming we have carbs on a regular basis, the type of carbohydrates we eat can also have a varied impact on the brain. For example, high glycaemic foods, such as white bread, cause a rapid release of glucose into the blood, followed almost immediately by a quick dip in blood sugar. This results in shortened attention span and mood swings. On the other hand, foods like oats, grains, and legumes release glucose gradually, resulting in a more sustained level of attentiveness.
Again, a balanced intake of carbohydrates is needed to get your brain performing at peak efficiency.
So, there are tangible benefits to following a diet plan. However, do not go about changing your diet on your own; you never know the impact your diet can have on your body and health. Instead, consult your doctor, a nutritionist, or both, tell them your goals and work with them to develop a dietary plan.
We would like to hear from you – please comment below on the impact following a diet has had on you. How were you able to stick to your diet?
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