We all do it. We snack on bad, sugar-laden foods while we study. It’s a necessity, surely. We need to keep our sugar levels up in order to stay awake so that we are able to study those late nights for our exam.
However, with these unhealthy snacks comes an increase in our serotonin levels that inevitably leads to a downfall as we drag our bodies, exhausted from cramming information into our brains, back to the snack cupboard to keep going. Or, even worse, we fill up on these naughty foods and head straight for an examination, which results in our crashing halfway through our paper as we push to the end of one heck of a stressful experience. Needless to say, ninety-nine percent of students need a massive catch up on sleep afterwards. We are distraught. We are finished. We need a holiday!
To study = to snack. What if there was another, healthier and more successful way to approach this trying time? What if there were foods that we could use to replace our unhealthy choices that would actually increase our brain activity and result in us feeling physically better. What if to snack = to succeed?
Here are ten foods that you should consider reaching for when you need that extra little boost:
These sea creatures make for swimmingly good brain foods! You can fry them, grill them, eat them in sushi or open a tin of tuna once in a while. The high concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to proper neural function and are also a lot healthier than red meat; added bonus ladies! According to articles published in the US, eating fish aids in the fight against dementia. Thus, you can keep feeding your brain as you grow older.
Perhaps one of the best, most convenient snack foods out there. Or team of private tutors goes nuts as often as possible! Grab a handful of almonds, cashews or just some good old salted peanuts. Nuts are packed with iron and fatty acids to help you maintain focus while studying. They have an added benefit of providing oxygen to your brain, which helps keep you awake when putting in those late hours before an important exam.
Not only do bad foods like white bread, pasta and chips add to our waistlines, but they also have a negative impact on our focus. They also make us lethargic and mentally dull. Luckily, grocery aisles are packed with many alternatives such as whole grain pastas, rye and whole wheat breads, quinoa, cous cous and many other healthier options to keep you mentally and physically on top of your game.
Apparently, an apple a day not only keeps the doctor away, but can also help you improve your study habits and academic performance as well. The peel of the apple includes a powerful antioxidant called quercetin that enhances memory function. This super fruit is great for your brain as well as your body! Apples have an additional benefit of being inexpensive, but they also assist in burning body fat too. Next time you are doing your weekly shop: grab a bag of apples and take a bite!\
We know what you are thinking… “Crucifer-what?!” Do not let this foreign, crazy word deter you in the fight to get good grades. These oddly named vegetables comprise of broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts (yes, your mother was right), cabbage and bok choy. These greens are found to boost your memory and are best when eaten raw. When you are at your next braai, perhaps you should have some of that coleslaw with your meal, rather than loading up on chips and dip!
Yes, yes, and yes! The food Gods are smiling down upon us at last! When you have those desperate cravings for a good old choccy: avoid the classic 25-hour day Bar One trap. Reach for some dark chocolate and have a few pieces, as it is found to enhance alertness and clarity as well as increase blood flow to your brain. Take caution though, a few blocks will do you good, but too many will lead to an increase in your brain as well as your bum!
Clearly, old Popeye was trying to send us a message. Eat Spinach. Feed your brain and your body. Spinach may not be the tastiest vegetable of choice, but it is found to reverse memory loss and boost brain power. Try to eat spinach in a few different ways. Blend it into a smoothie to mask the flavour. Cook it with some feta and even add some bacon bits to make it more exciting. However you do it, eat spinach.
These are the super fruits of all super fruits! You can eat them fresh or frozen or in a smoothie or with some yoghurt. Grab a handful of strawberries, blueberries, grapes, cherries, raspberries or cranberries. These little wonders are packed full of antioxidants and improve neural functioning. So, the next time you are ordering a smoothie at Kuaia while out shopping: opt for a berry one!
These magical fruits contain many varieties and may be eaten in a myriad of ways. Incorporate beans, lentils and chick peas into your meals. This is also a great option for vegetarians as they are able to substitute meat with these protein packed power foods. Legumes are high in protein, iron and folic acid, which improve your ability to recall information.
Our final brain boosting food is rather unexpected. Who would have thought onions could help your memory and focus? However, these vegetables contain a compound called anthocyanin, which prevents Alzheimer’s disease. Rest assured that the fear of “onion breath” should not stop you from enjoying white as well as red onions in your food and salads.
These ten foods are easily found in all stores and can add great value to your diet as well as your studies. Eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated and paying attention to your overall nutrition is a great way to complement your study habits. By eating right, you’ll be more likely to remain alert, focused, and energized while you study. So, if you really want to know how to study properly and retain more information than ever before, start feeding your body and your brain.