Superfoods are great for your health and wellbeing, and can also boost your brain power to help you nail your study efforts. As you can imagine, some of the healthiest foods are the most effective, but not all brain foods are boring. In fact, some of your favourite foods and indulgent treats can help you hit the books!
1. Go ape
Bananas are a great source of potassium, manganese, vitamin C and fibre, but did you know they can also enhance memory? Studies show eating bananas help students learn more efficiently and improve exam scores. They also contain vitamin B6, which promotes the production of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine to support concentration.
2. Blueberries, brainberries
Blueberries? These powerful little antioxidants are more like brainberries, since they protect the brain against oxidative stress, and also offer memory-boosting agents like anthocyanin and flavonoids to enhance spatial memory and learning.
3. Caffeine hit
Love any excuse to take a coffee break? Great news. Caffeine, in small doses, can energise you and help you concentrate. If you’re not a coffee drinker opt for green tea, which also contains the L-theanine amino acid to keep you energised and alert, minus the shakes.
4. Channel Popeye
Popeye was onto something – spinach is one of the healthiest greens around, and is jam-packed with antioxidants, iron, and minerals that improve concentration. The magnesium, folic acid and vitamin B12 found in spinach aid in the production of healthy red blood cells which carry oxygen to your brain and protect neurons.
5. Magic beans
Chickpeas, kidney beans, and lentils contain high levels of protein to power the brain. Legumes of all varieties contain high concentrations of folic acid to improve information recall.
6. Chocoholics, take note
Dark chocolate offers a double-whammy, with antioxidant properties to combat cognitive decline, as well as the natural stimulant of caffeine to enhance focus. Chocolate can help improve memory, alertness and clarity by increasing blood flow to the brain. Not all chocolate is created equal though – the darker it is, the more benefits your brain will receive.
7. Popcorn?! Seriously…
Healthy whole grains like brown rice, whole grain bread, oatmeal and even popcorn contain fibres and vitamins that improve blood flow throughout the brain and help memory function. They also improve blood-sugar stability, which can curb study-interrupting cravings.
8. Destress with seeds
If all that studying has got you on edge, munch on some sunflower seeds. These magic kernels give your body a dose of soothing tryptophan – an amino acid that helps reduce stress and anxiety.
9. Boring, but beneficial
Harvard Medical School has proven that cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and (sorry!) Brussels sprouts have a positive effect on memory retention. Eat them raw to get the most benefit.
10. Kale, obviously
Kale is heralded as a superfood for a number of reasons, including that it’s great to eat when you study. It offers a healthy dose of vitamin E to protect your brain against nerve-cell degeneration, as well as folate, which increases blood flow to the brain to prevent mental fatigue.
If you’re a health nut and interested in helping others lead a healthier lifestyle, check out these nutrition courses.
This article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider.