The 5 Best Brain Foods to Boost Study Time and Wellbeing
Everybody snacks. If you choose the best foods it can improve brain health and help you study and work more effectively.
Hunched over your desk staring blankly into space? Trying to focus or wrack your mind for inspiration, but the bright screen just glares back? We all visit this state on a regular basis, sometimes with the added sugar craving. It is common knowledge that overindulging your sweet tooth leads to many negative effects, including weight gain, heart diseases and a low immune system.
The same has been proven about salt, such as increased blood pressure and kidney failure. However, foods with heavy amounts of salt and sugar can also affect you mentally and emotionally. Research has shown that eating too much sugar slows down the brain by creating a resistance to insulin.
Your body will struggle to control blood sugar levels, brain function and thereby leading to memory loss. On top of cognitive impairment, the familiar ‘sugar crash’ also results in mood swings, anxiety and depression. This can lead you feeling too demotivated and fatigued to meet daily goals and deadlines.
Of people snack between meals
Of snackers choose ‘healthy’ options
While a weekly trip to Whole Foods is unlikely for a student, a healthy diet can be achieved on a budget. Next time you reach for the last cookie, consider these five affordable brain-boosting foods that will grease your cognitive wheels and get mental juices flowing:
Green tea has plenty of benefits and a proven study boost. Green tea has shown to improve memory, reaction time and maintaining energy levels. It’s high in antioxidants and improves emotional health which helps with staying motivated for even the hardest of study sessions!
Coffee and tea lovers will be pleased to know that steaming caffeine fixes improve alertness and creativity. Green tea, especially, has an endless spectrum of health benefits. Not only is it medicinal, with anti-inflammatory and immune boosting qualities, it also does wonders for cognitive function.
These unassuming dried leaves are rich in an element called catechin, which improves working memories, vigilance and reaction time. It has less caffeine than coffee but also has an extra amino acid called L-theanine which, when combined with caffeine, has been proven very powerful for a healthy brain. Other benefits include maintaining stable energy rates, increased metabolism and lower cholesterol.
Additionally, its high antioxidant and dopamine level encourage a positive mood. Good emotional health, such as staying motivated and confident are just as important for a successful study session. Take it to the next level with Ceylon green tea (from Sri Lanka), known to have the highest amounts of goodies. Or try matcha green tea powder, a delicious and potent Japanese elixir. Made from ground tea leaves, one cup of matcha is supposed to be ten times a normal cup of tea.
Fish are packed with Omega-3 to power brain functioning. You don’t need to fork out a tonne for a tasty kick of brain power, a can of tuna is just as packed with nutrients as a salmon fillet.
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered the highest form of brain food, required for building nerve cells. This, in turn, assists with the tools needed for learning and attention rate. It is also necessary for keeping your eyes healthy and moist, which is essential for survival in our screen dominant world.
Oily fish or fatty fish, like salmon and mackerel, are a rich source of this neurological nourishment. Tinned options like tuna and sardines work just as effectively if a regular dose of salmon is too expensive. Economic and compact, a quick and easy lunch is just an arm’s reach away.
If you’re after a no-fuss snack packed with goodies, nuts and seeds are a great source of crucial elements needed for the nervous system.
There is no need for expensive supplements when you can get the earth’s natural resources. Nuts and seeds are incredibly filling micro-nutritious morsels that will not stretch the bank. The tiny but mighty pumpkin seed is a good source of zinc, magnesium, copper and iron; all crucial for the nervous system, general brain power and well-being.
Whole grains are low in GI (glycemic index), which means they release glucose gradually into the bloodstream, keeping you consistently focused. Almonds are also full of vitamin E, essential fatty acids, which prevents cognitive decline and works wonders on your skin.
However, be mindful of packets of salted nuts which will spike your sodium levels and are known to be calorific and addictive.
These treats aren’t just delicious, they’re also great for you. Full of vitamins and natural sugars, blueberries can satisfy your sweet tooth without guilt.
These indigo jewels are an all-around super brain food. Blueberries are bursting with anthocyanins, a plant compound with powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Like green tea, they have de-stressing effects and deliver memory-boosting results for brain cells.
They are perfect for hitting the sweet spot without the sluggish crash and brain fog that comes from sweets and are also low in calories. Full of vitamin K and fibre, they are also known to reduce DNA damage which is linked to short-term memory loss or even Alzheimer’s disease. They also help with lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
If you need a sweet fix while you’re studying, dark chocolate is a great alternative to other, sugar filled chocolate snacks. Great for mood, memories and energy.
If you are struggling with going cold turkey on your classic treats, a gradual transition can also work. Transform your secret chocolate stash into the dark kind and cut out unnecessary milk and sugars. Brands offer different percentages of dark chocolate, which you can increase step by step. Dark chocolate is still quite an unknown brain food, but its benefits are amazing.
The humble cocoa bean is filled with flavonoids, which contribute to happy moods, good memories and slows down mental ageing. It is loaded with fibre and minerals, such as iron, magnesium, copper, manganese and many others. It has a small amount of caffeine to keep you alert and relaxes blood flow.
In our demanding and fast-paced world, snacking is inevitable to stay afloat. However, certain foods are ideal for fuelling brain power and will contribute to your long-term physical and mental well-being.