Smart Snacking! Foods That’ll Give Your Brain a Boost
Posted March 20, 2019, by Jenny Sakr
Good nutrition often falls to the bottom of the list of priorities when your next big exam or presentation is looming. Energy drinks, vending machine snacks, greasy fast food might be quick and easy options during these stressful times, however, they will not fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to keep you energised, alert and ultimately help you pass with flying colours.
So without further ado, here are our favourite brain foods to keep within reach for your next study sesh…
Beans, beans, they’re good for the heart, the more you eat, the more you…. learn! Not one that springs to the top of mind when it comes to powering the brains, but yes, beans can do wonders for your mind (plus, they’re pretty good on the hip pocket).
Lentils or black beans are best, as their blend of complex carbs and protein means slow digestion which will stop you from getting up from your desk and going walkabouts for something else to eat. Plus the high level of folic acid in all legumes helps to enhance information recall.
Yes, they’re delicious and sweet but these tiny but mighty sources of antioxidants also pack a real health punch! Studies have shown that diets rich in blueberries can significantly boost your learning capacity and improve your memory. Load me up I say! I like mine with Greek yoghurt mmmm.
That’s right, chocolate, beautiful chocolate is on the list of top brain foods. Before you head for your closest convenience store to stock up, note that I’m talking about good quality dark chocolate – the higher the % of cocoa the better (aim for 70% or over to really reap the benefits). The antioxidants in dark chocolate are a natural stimulant to help keep you alert, focused and increase blood flow to the brain.
One study of over 900 participants showed that those who ate chocolate more frequently showed better results in a series of mental tasks than those who rarely ate it – I’m convinced!
Not only do eggs make for a wonderful start for any day (I’ll have mine sunny-side up thanks), they also have loads of nutrients that do wonders for the ol’ noggin.
Eggs (particularly egg yolks) are high in choline, which in lamens terms helps to regulate mood and memory, as well as being high in Vitamin B which is eggcelent for the brain’s function and development.
So go on, get cracking and boil a couple of eggs next time you need a smart study snack.
Avoid sugary soft drinks or copious amounts of coffee and enjoy a hot cup of tea when you hit the books. Green tea is not only a great source of caffeine to boost alertness and focus ( I know I had my fair share during late night cramming sessions), but it also contains L-theanine which helps protect the brain and reduce anxiety.
Tea, especially green tea is also high in antioxidants, particularly catechins which encourages healthy blood flow.
If you’re nuts about nuts then you’ll be happy to know that you’re favourite beer snack just became your new favourite study snack. High in healthy fatty acids, antioxidants, protein and fibre – nuts have a number of health benefits, but it’s their high-level of Vitamin E, (which is great for boosting the brain), that gets us excited.
Walnuts in particular, have been shown to boost brain health and are great for the ticker too.
Mum always told you to eat your veggies, and for good reason! One of the countless benefits vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower have is that they are great for memory retention and keeping our brains sharp. So next time you’re stuck in an exam you’d be glad you stocked up. Special shout out to broccoli which contains a number of powerful properties including a high level of vitamin K which has been linked to better memory. That’s our broccoli happy dance above.
Tip: To get the most out of your veg try eating them raw, overcooking can suck much of the nutrients out. Cut them up in bite-sized pieces and accompany with your favourite dip. Hummus anyone?
With good foods comes better energy levels, alertness and brain function. So next time you think of reaching for the bag of potato chips when you’re in need of a little pick-me-up, think again and remember what we taught you about smart snacks.
Jenny found her way with words while interning during uni, since, she's produced articles on it all – from hair and beauty to homewares, travel, career advice and study tips. On a weekend you're most likely to find her lining up for a table at the latest cafe or restaurant.