Most of us know by now that eating the right foods is good for our body, but did you know that certain foods can even make you smarter? By giving your brain certain nutrients and fuelling your body the right way, you will give yourself the best chance to perform well in tests over the college year.
In this article, we will be looking at the ideal snacks and foods to incorporate into your diet so that your brain can be at optimum condition when you hit the books this year.
Dairy: Milk and yoghurt are both great low-fat sources of vitamin B and protein that will help avoid those hunger pangs whilst studying. They are also packed with vitamin D which supports the overall health of your brain. Bonus points if you choose Greek yoghurt, which has the highest protein content and no added sugar.
Oats: One of the best breakfasts that you can have to start your school day right is a bowl of porridge made with real oats. Oats are a whole grain, which means they digest slowly, giving your body energy gradually through the day. It is full of B-vitamins, potassium, zinc and vitamin E, which are all essential to give your brain a boost.
Blueberries: All berries are wonderful for your brain and there have been studies linking them to slower mental decline. “Blueberries are one of the best, as they are packed with anti-oxidants, which controls free radicals and reduces the risk of age-related mental conditions, such as Alzheimer’s. Blueberries contain a lot of vitamin C, which helps the brain’s agility and contains healthy sugars to keep students alert and focused for the day ahead,” explains Amanda Smith, a food blogger at Big Assignments and Academized.
Oily fish: Packed with omega-3 fatty oils, fish are an absolute essential for healthy brain function. Oily fish, like wild salmon, trout, herring, sardines and mackerel, are packed with omega-3, which cannot be made in the body, so it must be included in your diet. If it isn’t, you could suffer with an omega-3 deficiency, which leads to fatigue and poor memory. So you can see why it is important that students have a good source of this in their diet!
Walnuts & Hemp Seeds: If you are not keen on fish, omega-3 fats can also be found in nuts and seeds. According to Huffington Post’s “Dissertation Help” walnuts and hemp seeds are great choices as they are also full of anti-inflammatory nutrients to keep your heart healthy, promoting blood-flow and delivering more oxygen to the brain, helping you to get ready for that next big exam. Both are also packed with protein, helping you to stay full and less likely to snack on junk food!
Wholegrain: As with oats, wholegrains contain complex carbohydrates, which gives them a very low glycaemic index score. This means that they release glucose slowly over a much longer period, keeping you energised for the day of study ahead. Brown rice and wholemeal pasta/bread are high in fibre which is good for cholesterol levels and improves the blood flow to your brain.
Chocolate: Studies have shown that dark chocolate can give you energy and help you to focus, as well as reducing blood pressure. “It has powerful antioxidant properties and contains natural stimulants, such as caffeine, which improves focus and concentration. Finally, as we all know, it improves your mood by stimulating the release of endorphins. So whilst we are not encouraging late night chocolate binges, a few squares of dark chocolate before a big exam could definitely give you the boost that you need,” says health writer at Boom Essays and Essayroo, Jean Adams.
Dark Green Vegetables: An all-round great food group to include for your whole body. Green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kale and asparagus are packed with nutrients that improve concentration, brain function and overall health. They are so easy to incorporate into most meals and really pack a punch nutritionally!
Beans: Haricot beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, butterbeans – they are all fantastic at providing your body with magnesium, B-vitamins, fibre and lots of protein, which are all crucial for your brain’s health. Your brain functions best when given a steady stream of glucose and eating a diet packed with beans and other wholegrains can supply this.
Avocado: Almost as good as blueberries, avocados are fantastic at promoting brain health. It is a fatty fruit, but is a full of monosaturated fats, contributing to healthy blood flow. It lowers blood pressure and improves cognitive abilities. They are high in calories though, so it is best to incorporate just ¼ to ½ of an avocado daily in your diet.
It is crucial that college students prepare their body as well as their mind when studying for that next big test. By incorporating a few of the foods listed above, they will ensure that their brain is in a great condition to help them perform at their best!
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