Studying is essential to achieving academic excellence. No matter how hard you hit the books, you also need to feed your body to feed your brain. The following foods can help promote optimal brain function and improve your overall health.
• Get nutty – Walnuts are a good source of anti-inflammatory Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Alpha Linoleic Acids (ALAs) improve blood flow, providing much needed oxygen to the brain. Some studies suggest walnuts aid memory and cognitive function as well. Nuts also make a great snack for a student on the go.
• Listen to Popeye – He may have been a cartoon character, but he was on the mark with his consumption of the anti-inflammatory superfood spinach. Spinach makes you strong and its high potassium content helps maintain brain connectivity. This allows you to think clearly and quickly. A spinach salad is easy to prepare and compliments almost any meal.
• Drink up – Hydration is necessary to perform well, so drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol. Dehydration impairs short-term memory and interferes with focus and comprehension. It can also lead to increased stress and anxiety, two things a busy student needs to avoid. Carry a BPA-free bottle with a filter so you can freely access tap water wherever you go.
• Indulge a tad – Small amounts of caffeine found in chocolate can promote mental acuity. It contains epicatechin, a type of plant antioxidant known as a flavonoid. Chocolate helps improve blood flow, which provides oxygen to the brain. Moreover, it makes you feel good and gets those endorphins going.
• Eat berries – Like chocolate, blueberries and other berries also contain flavonoids, which are essential to protect the brain. Blueberries also provide whole-body anti-oxidant protection and prevent nerve damage, which can cause memory loss and cognition problems. Mix them up in a smoothie before the exam for a healthy boost of energy and nutrition.
• Find the best germ – The last thing a student needs is to get sick, but that won’t happen by consuming wheat germ, a high source of choline which helps boost memory (choline is also found in eggs). The germ is the center and contains most of the essential fats and vitamins found in wheat. Buy it toasted as raw wheat germ spoils quickly. Enjoy it sprinkled on a smoothie or mixed into hot cereal.
• Keep the Doctor Away – The old adage is true… apples do help keep you healthy. Red apples in particular contain anthocyanin, an antioxidant believed to aid memory. Studies have also suggested cardiovascular benefits from apple consumption. An apple is a perfect food for someone who needs a mid-afternoon snack in between classes. It also pairs well with cheese for those late night study parties with friends. Do not peel off the skin… much of the benefits are found in the skin. Choose organic apples if available.
A balanced, healthy diet is essential for your body and your mind. Easily incorporate these foods into your daily routine and give your brain that much needed boost for the next test or assignment.
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