June 26, 2014
Five Super Brain Foods for Students
For years, doctors and researchers have found a correlation between a nutritious diet and increased classroom performance. It’s no secret that what you eat can affect how you feel and how alert you are, which will impact how you learn. Your cognitive functions need nutrients to operate at high levels. So what can you do to improve your exam performance, achieve better exam results and feel healthy overall? You can read this list of five ‘super brain’ foods that will help to enhance your ability to process and retain information.
Blueberries are one of nature’s wonders, a fruit that is sweet, flavourful and great for your health. Researchers have found that blueberries increase a person’s ability to learn, and also enhance motor skills. Doctors recommend that you eat at least one cup of blueberries a day, whether you eat them ‘naked,’ or blend them in a smoothie. And it doesn’t matter if they’re fresh or frozen, the benefits are the same.
Blueberries are well known for their antioxidants, one of the highest amongst all fruit, vegetables, seasonings and spices – there’s even been research and evidence to suggest that blueberries can improve memory and significantly improved both learning capacity and motor skills of older rats, making them mentally equivalent to younger rats.
Nuts are wonderful because they taste good, and there’s a large variety, so if you don’t like peanuts, you can eat almonds, cashews or macadamias. Nuts are loaded with vitamin E, which helps boost your decision-making skills, a valuable part of learning in the classroom. But as they’re high in fat, doctors recommend you only eat about a handful per day, which is enough to get the benefits. Raw nuts are better as they lack salt, but as long as you eat them in moderation, even salted nuts are ok.
Research has shown that a diet with high vitamin E corresponds with less cognitive decline as humans get older, and in the short term nuts and vitamin E can give students a real and healthy energy boost – fantastic for a pre-exam or revision snack.
Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, which is an antioxidant that helps fortify the cells against toxins and deterioration, which affects memory and cognitive skills. You can pop cherry tomatoes as a snack, eat lots of pasta sauce or enjoy tomato soup. Whatever way you eat your tomatoes, just know you’re doing a good deed for your body and brain.
There’s no doubt that tomatoes are a nutrient-dense, super brain food that most students should be eating more of. Research has shown that tomato rich diets can lower risk of certain types of cancer, stress, blood pressure and damage to brain cells.
A staple of a nutritious diet, broccoli contains vitamin K, which is linked to the improvement of cognitive skills and the ability of the brain to process information. Eat broccoli as a snack, pan-fry it or boil it. Whichever way you squeeze broccoli into your diet, it’s important to remember that relationships between a nutrient rich diet and brain health are worth exploring. It’s no coincidence that parents teach their children to ‘eat their greens’ as all varieties of green vegetables have a positive effect on brain power, health and development of young people.
5. Olive Oil & Fatty Fish
Though it may sound counterintuitive, the unsaturated fats in olive oil and fatty fish are actually good for you because they’ve been shown to counter the aging of the brain. And since your brain is what you use most when studying, eating more olive oil can be beneficial to your health. Olive oil is great as a base for pasta sauces and salad dressings, but don’t go overboard. A little goes a long way. The benefits of fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna, has long been established. These fish contain loads of omega-3 fatty acids along with DHA and NPA, which have all been shown to enhance memory and concentration. But you have to eat fatty fish in moderation as the down side is that it also contains high levels of toxic mercury.