Midterm season is approaching, and once again we find ourselves loading up on Red Bull and coffee. While caffeine can certainly energize you in the short-term, overdoing it could cause anxiety and lower sleep quality. Luckily, research has shown that certain foods can boost concentration and increase memory capacity. Here are eight foods that will feed your brain for exam season:
- Fatty Fish
The more oil the better. Why? Because fatty fish contain omega-3, which is responsible for the construction of brain cell membranes. When omega-3 enters the brain, it improves the plasticity, or flexibility of function, of cell growth. An increased cell growth contributes to an increase in cell membranes. Try adding fish to your diet at least two or three times a week and you’ll be doing your brain a huge favor.
A handful of nuts is a great snack during study breaks. They contain high levels of protein and are a source of healthy fats. Walnuts are proven to improve cognitive performance due to their high concentration of DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. DHA does this by increasing cell viability and promoting the growth of dendrites and synapses. Other types of nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts contain high levels of vitamin E, which can improve memory.
However, if you are not a big fan of raw nuts, there is always peanut butter! Even though too much peanut butter can be calorific, it is also packed with healthy fats and proteins that will sustain you during those hours of reading.
Stock up on berries! Blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, blackberries and cherries are all superfoods that can flush out the toxins within your bloodstream and add antioxidants. Most importantly, they provide vitamin C, which enhances neural activity.
This vegetable is a great source of fiber, vitamin K and potassium. While potassium helps the nervous system, vitamin K enhances cognitive function and improves brainpower.
- Dark chocolate
This can be as effective as coffee; studies have shown that dark chocolate is able to increase alertness and attention span by increasing the amount of blood flow to the brain. Moreover, consumption of dark chocolate will boost the production of endorphins, a hormone which will effectively relieve you of pre-exam stress.
Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fats as well as vitamin E. The unsaturated fats can protect nerve cells in the brain by improving their flexibility. For a deliciously healthy brunch, try sliced or mashed avocados with a sunny side egg on toast.
- Pumpkin Seeds
Sprinkle a handful over your morning cereal and you will have your recommended daily amount of magnesium and zinc, both of which can enhance memory.
The benefits of Kale are almost endless. The main kind of fat found within this vegetable is omega-3. It also contains exceedingly high levels of vitamin A, C and K. Vitamin K, as mentioned earlier, is a powerful antioxidant that can improve brain cell resilience. Additionally, kale also has high levels of folic acids that keep your mind sharp by lowering levels of homocysteine, which decreases memory loss. In salads, soups or simply chips, this veggie can be easily incorporated into your daily diet.
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