10 Brain Foods for Exam Season
Yes, it’s that time of year; the scholars are back to school and are probably buckling down for the exams. Preparing for exams is a bit like training for a marathon – a good diet is key to good performance. The brain, above all other organs, is affected for better or worse by what we eat. If you need to keep the brain sharp (or have youngsters in the house who could do with a mental boost!) then here are 10 highly effective brain foods that improve memory, mood, concentration, and overall clarity of mind. Eat up and reap the rewards with excellent results in August.
- Blueberries serve a wide range of functions for improving mental agility. Most notably, regular blueberry consumption has been shown to improve the memory. Furthermore, blueberries are rich in antioxidants, thus building a healthy immune system keeping you fit and well and able to cope with exam stress and anxiety.
- Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, salmon helps your brain develop tissue for increasing your brain power.
- Linseed, also known as flaxseed, are packed with healthy fat that aids the cerebral cortex in functioning better. This is the portion of the brain responsible for processing sensory information, and keeping it sharp is vital.
- Mixed nuts such as peanuts, walnuts, pecans, and other nuts contain properties that help with everything from fighting insomnia to promoting mental clarity and strong memory. Walnuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids while almonds contain natural mood-enhancing neurotransmitters. Pack a small bag of nuts as a snack at least 4 times per week.
- Avocados – 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. Furthermore, avocados have also been shown to reduce blood pressure. Whilst that might not be a concern at this age, its function is still relevant as it absorbs stress which might be highly relevant at this stage.
- Eggs – egg yolks are rich in choline, an essential nutrient to improving memory function. Did you know that 6 grams of protein hide out in each egg? One egg also contains 5 grams of fat, but the kind of fat your body wants as it prevents ageing and aids the brain to function. Two eggs per day will keep you nutrient level where it should be, allowing you to reap the benefits.
- Whole grains from oatmeal to whole grain bread are excellent brain foods as they improve circulation and contain essential fibre, vitamins, and even some Omega-3. Just make your sandwiches from whole grain breads to enjoy the benefits.
- Chocolate – for me, this is the yummiest brain food of all. Dark chocolate (85% coco solid Green and Blacks!) 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 ageing process. This means a broccoli-rich diet will keep you young and sharp.
- Natural Yoghurt makes for a great breakfast with some fruit and is a healthy snack at any time of the day. It’s full of protein and probiotics for a healthy immune system, furthermore it will release energy slowly. Make sure you don’t buy low fat yoghurts as these usually end up with more sugar which will defeat the point!
Kumud Gandhi is a Nutritional Food Scientist bestselling Author, Broadcaster, and Keynote Speaker on the subject of nutritional health for productivity & performance in the workplace. In 2010 Kumud founded ‘The Cooking Academy’ a cookery school that focusses on cooking for nutritional health and wellbeing. Kumud regularly presents to international audiences on a variety of topics such as ‘Eating for Immunity and a Lifetime of Wellness’. She is an expert in the field of Wellness in the Workplace and works with organizations to create transformational change in employee health & well-being through nutrition and health coaching.