We spoke earlier about boosting your brain from within, and mentioned the importance of a healthy diet. But...
What Are The Best Foods For Your Brain?
Salmon, sardines and mackerel are amongst the healthiest types of fish. Why? Because they contain lots of protein and omega 3, which is essential to keep a functioning brain working well. I’m sure you have heard of the saying that fish is great brain food. It's true! A favourite snack of mine is canned sardines – eat them on some whole-wheat bread and you have a healthy, long-lasting meal of complex carbohydrates, vitamins and protein.
Egg yolks are rich in choline, an essential nutrient to improving memory function. Let's face it: eggs are one of the most versatile foods on Planet Earth. Fried, boiled, poached or made sunny-side up, eggs are healthy and good brain food. During exam time, who wants to hear a rumbling tummy during the late nights and early mornings spent revising?
A personal tip: Having eggs for breakfast is something I often do – the meal is so complete and filling that I never have to worry about my primal "Me Want Food" instinct afterwards! One egg contains many nutrients, antioxidants, 6g of protein and less than 100 calories (depending on how you cook it…frying will add some on).
Vegetables And Fruit
This is pretty self-explanatory; we all know that more vegetables and fruit provide much-needed minerals, ions, vitamins, liquids and also help relieve, erm, unwanted “number 2 problems”. Vegetables and fruit are also low in calories, delicious and can give you an energy boost when you are working away at revising, since they contain fructose and healthy sugars your body can convert into energy. Top snacking fruits: apples, bananas, avocadoes, berries.
Many people think peanut butter is an unhealthy food, but it actually contains healthy fats and lots of protein per serving. This means that as a brain food, just a little can keep you full for a long time. Another plus is that peanut butter doesn’t expire very fast, so you can always keep a jar handy in your cupboard, bedroom or wherever you study in case you get the nibbles. And for porridge lovers like me, mixing some in the morning bowl is simply a delicious brain food to start the day.
Flax seeds are crammed with ALA- a healthy fat that aids the cerebral cortex in functioning better. This is the portion of the brain responsible for processing sensory information. Keeping it sharp is vital.
Don’t let the avocado’s fat content fool you. It’s a healthy fat that promotes blood flow, keeping your mind functioning at its peak. That’s not all: Avocados have also been shown to reduce blood pressure.
From oatmeal to whole grain bread, whole grains are excellent brain foods as they improve circulation and contain essential fibres, vitamins, and even some Omega-3. Just make your sandwiches from whole grain breads to enjoy the benefits.
For me, this is the yummiest brain food of all. Dark chocolate is antioxidant-rich, and it also improves focus and concentration. Milk chocolate, on the other hand, improves memory and reaction time.
Broccoli has been shown to improve memory function as well as slow the aging process. This means a broccoli-rich diet will keep you young and sharp.
Alright, it isn’t technically a food (though it is for a minority of Very Busy People) but I think it’s only fair to say that coffee gets me through the toughest of exams. Avoid stomach-churning energy drinks, and go for a cup of coffee instead – even the smell will make you feel more awake! And while drinking too much coffee is certainly bad for you, research has also shown that a few cups a day can actually be beneficial. Warning: do not overdose!
Finally, and I know this might be cheesy, but healthy bodies do lead to healthy minds. And having a healthy mind will help you ace that crucial exam or paper.