Brain food for students!
Nutrition as Medicine
When it comes to studying, you need to have your brain fully on board! To this end you need to take in some good ‘brain food’ to keep yourself on track. The trouble is many students might feel they do not have time to prepare and cook healthy food, and opt instead for takeaway in the form of hamburgers, chips and fried chicken. While these foods are fine to have sometimes, the rest of the time your brain needs regular amounts of beneficial nutrients to be at its best and to help you achieve well in your studies.
Beneficial brain foods for concentration and alertness
Glucose is the human brain’s ‘fuel’, and cutting carbohydrates right out of your diet is not a good idea – especially at exam time! Studying for long periods of time can be very draining. Fruits and bread can be particularly good for supplying glucose to the body. However as well as glucose for fuel, there are lot of other nutrients and foods that are beneficial to your brain. These include…
- Berries – blueberries in particular. Berries may be beneficial for their antioxidant factor, to help provide some protection for the brain. Some berries are considered to assist with memory recall.
- Salmon and other fish such as mackerel and herring. These and many other types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Most of us have probably heard about omega-3s being ‘good for us’ and studies have confirmed this to be the case. In fact a recent UCLA study shows that a diet low in omega-3 may cause faster ageing of the brain and increased loss of memory and thinking ability.
- Eggs. Egg yolks are particularly good for their choline content. Choline is a B-group vitamin that is beneficial for a number of functions in the body including cognitive function and memory.
- Cruciferous vegetables. Perhaps you had to endure overcooked soggy greens as a child but the fact is green vegetables can be very tasty when cooked lightly, especially in a stir fry or pasta dish. Green vegetables such as broccoli help to improve the function of memory and possibly slow down the effect of ageing. Broccoli can even taste pretty good on a pizza!
- Chocolate. Whether your pick is dark or milk, chocolate is now believe to offer benefits to the function of the brain, such as focus, concentration and memory.
- Fluids. Drinking plenty of water is also believed to help improve mental and cognitive capacity.
Of course the above list is only a sample, and there are many other beneficial brain foods including seeds and nuts, flax seeds for their healthy fatty acids, whole grains, iron- and protein-rich foods such as beef and lamb, calcium-rich foods like yogurt and cheese, coffee and tea, and citrus fruits. And while it’s not good to fill up on excess sugar, a small bag of glucose jelly beans during a long study period or exam might not be such a bad idea!
As well as having a diet rich in a wide variety of foods, it’s also important to have regular meals. Students may be tempted to skip meals especially if they are busy studying in the library where they cannot eat. Make sure you have regular meals throughout the day, and some snacks if required, to keep up your energy levels.