How do tea, cake, learning, neuroscience and twitter all go together?


dessert-986263_1280You don’t need to be a neuroscientist to to be an expert in learning but we do believe in learning from each other.  We’re going to experiment with twitter chats and face to face chats with you, the members of the Brain Friendly Learning Group. Whether you’re already a twitter fan, or haven’t quite worked out how you can use it yet, then here’s your chance to join the conversation – and any conversation is better fuelled with tea and cake.

So you’re invited to join a twitter chat (31st Oct) and / or a face to face chat in London (25th Nov).  Scroll down for more details and in the meantime here’s some evidence about how tea and cake can improve your brain function.

It turns out tea is really good for improving resilience and increasing mental alertness.  You probably know there’s caffeine in tea which is consistently shown to increase alertness, wakefulness, and attention but did you also know tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine which has a calming effect.  It seems this handy little chemical reduces mental fatigue, increases reaction time and working memory and taken regularly can enhance long term memory and cognitive alertness.  One of the components of green tea–epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)– might help with long term health of your brain because it disrupts the build up of  plaques which destroy brain cells.  We’ve always said breaks help people perform better so now you’ve some evidence to use the next time someone suggests they cut tea breaks in your workplace.

And how does cake help?   Start with chocolate cake because chocolate contains a  chemical called phenylethylamine which is a precursor to serotonin one of the ‘feel good’ hormones; so small amounts of good quality chocolate can make you feel better in itself.  Chocolate can also be used to suppress appetite if you take a small amount of dark chocolate before or after a meal it signals to your brain that you’re full.  And apparently some football teams take a very small quantify of chocolate just before they go onto the pitch for a big match to help them deal with the ‘shock’ of walking into an enormous stadium of shrieking fans.  So chocolate cake’s definitely on the list.

Join us on the tweet chat and tell us what else you know. Follow @thebflg and/ or @stellacollins or @sheridan_webb.  Have a glance at your twitter feed at 4pm on 31st Oct and do a search for #bflg. We’ll pose a question and you join in the conversation as much or as little as you want for the following hour (make sure you include the hashtag so other people can see your responses too). You’ll meet new people, hear new thought and potentially learn a new skill and increase your social media presence.  And please remember to tell your friends about it.

If you’re not free on 31st or not ready for twitter chat yet then come and talk face to face at a BFLG live conversation at 2pm on 25th Nov 2016 at 35 Bocking Street, Hackney, London- real tea and cake provided – or do both!