There are a lot of things that we can do to help us study, remember, and focus. However, one of the best and easiest things we can do is eat foods that feed our brains. Here are some foods that can help you in that quest. Many of them are snacks that you can keep next to you while you are studying and cramming for your toughest exams.
Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, as well as other nuts such as walnuts and pistachios, are considered brain foods. These are rich in tryptophan, magnesium, zinc and vitamin B, all of which may be brain boosting compounds helping memory and thinking skills. Zinc deficiency can contribute to memory loss however, too much can be neurotoxic. That is why seeds are a good source of zinc as it would take exceptional amounts of seeds to create this level.
Almonds are actually known as a brain food. Almonds contain high levels of Vitamin E, B2, healthy fats, fiber, protein and magnesium. Protein helps to produce neurotransmitters to maintain the brain. Vitamin E found in almonds is easily absorbed into the body and is a potent antioxidant that prevents cognitive decline and preserves memory.
Blueberries contain antioxidants that affect areas of the brain essential for intelligence. In addition to the antioxidants blueberries also contain anthocyanin which aids in protecting brain neurons that affect memory. A blueberry rich diet may help short and long term memory, and improve thinking skills. New research suggests that blueberries may improve memory skills in MCI (mild cognitive impairment) patients.
You may not believe this, but dark chocolate is good for you! In small quantities of course. The main ingredient in dark chocolate is cocoa which contains flavanol (plant derived nutrients.) Eating dark chocolate may improve blood flow to the brain which can improve cognitive function, especially in people with mental impairment. While consuming dark chocolate would require an excessive amount for optimum results, consuming a mixture high in cocoa flavonals has shown high levels of memory improvement. While dark chocolate is good for you just be mindful of how much you snack on.
Oily fish, such as salmon, bluefin tuna, sardines, herring, mackeral and trout contain Omega 3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that the Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are crucial to brain function and development. We do not produce Omega 3 so we need to get it from these fish or fish oil supplements. Low levels of these may accelerate brain aging and contribute to deficits in brain function. Lack of DHA is associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
GRASS FED BEEF
Studies have found more antioxidants in organic beef with more Coenzyme Q10, taurine and Beta carotene. Coenzyme Q10 increases mental clarity, supports cognitive function, fights free radical damage and supports healthy vision and hearing. Coenzyme Q10 needs to come from a natural source, such as grass fed beef, as supplements have proved ineffective. Taurine stimulates new brain cell formation. Beta carotene boosts brain function by lowering oxidative stress which damages brain cells.
Dark leafy greens are potent superfoods that contribute to overall brain health. Lutein, a pigment found in dark-green vegetables, is stockpiled in the brain over our entire lifespan. It builds up in the brain and protects cognitive function and mental sharpness as the brain ages. Lutein has been referred to as a neuroprotective nutrient which supports structure and function in neural membranes. Dark leafy greens may delay the decline in memory and thinking skills that occur with age in as little as 1-1/2 cups a day.
Eggs are a good source of vitamin. B6 helps to keep the brain (and nervous system) functioning properly. B12 helps to prevent memory loss, especially in older adults. In addition, B12 may help to prevent the loss of neurons associated with memory loss and dementia. Eggs also contain folate and choline which is a micronutrient that the body uses to create a neurotransmitter that helps memory and regulate moods.
Avocados are a fatty fruit, a monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow which in turn creates a healthy brain. Avocados are a source of healthy unsaturated fats and supports the brain. High blood pressure can contribute to cognitive decline, but avocados contain unsaturated fats which combat high blood pressure, reducing the risk of cognitive decline.