Hi everyone! Remember when I said I would talk about food one day? Well, good news — because I’m going to keep my promise today!

If there’s one thing students are always on the lookout for, it’s this: brain foods. We’ve been told they help us study better, improve memory, and achieve higher grades. So I have gathered the top brain foods and tips that really work — and each one is backed up by science.

#1: Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Professor Fernando Gmez-Pinilla of the UCLA’s Brain Research Institute and Brain Injury Research Centre has done numerous studies about food’s affect on the human brain, especially about omega-3 fatty acids. He said omega-3 fatty acids — which can be found in salmon, kiwis, and walnuts — help improve memory and learning abilities. Children who received omega-3 fatty acids did better in school too, Gmez-Pinilla stated, especially when it came to reading and spelling. In fact, a scientific study in England showed that students who ate omega-3 fatty acids got higher test scores for verbal intelligence, learning, and memory development. However, that’s not all. Omega-3 fatty acids help fight against such mental disorders too. “Dietary deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in humans has been associated with increased risk of several mental disorders, including attention-deficit disorder, dyslexia, dementia, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia," said Gmez-Pinilla. “A deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in rodents results in impaired learning and memory.” Finally, omega-3 fatty acids boost your vascular health, he said. Essentially, Gmez-Pinilla concluded that “Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal brain function.”

#2: Fruits and Yogurt:

We’ve all been told as a child that fruits and yogurt would make us grow strong — and that’s true. Yogurt, for one, is necessary to get strong bones, but is also able to de-stress and alert yourself. This is because yogurt contains amino acid tyrosine. The results from U.S. military studies show that tyrosine is used up when we’re facing stress, and replenishing our supply of tyrosine can improve our alertness and memory. Moreover, they help your brain grow strong and smart. In fact, a study revealed that rats who ate strawberries and blueberries improved their coordination, concentration, and memory. And besides, fruits taste fantastic — it’s a win-win situation on both sides!

#3: Vegetables: 

According to the Harvard Medical School, vegetables are proven to better your blood vessels and reduce your probability of a memory-damaging stroke. Scientists and dieticians highly recommend salads, which are filled with antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamins C and E. These protect your brain cells from any damage, especially as you age. In fact, a study at the University of California uncovered that diets high in antioxidants improved the thinking skills of aging beagles. Encourage yourself to eat salads because they improve and boost your memory! Other recommended vegetables are beans — which are high in protein and fibre. This was shown in a study done by Barbara Stewart from the University of Ulster, UK. Children who ate beans before a test achieved higher and better scores. Furthermore, scientific research has shown that a high-fibre diet results in improved brain function.

Now come the tips!

Tip #1: Always have pre-exams meals. However, keep the meal light. A heavy meal will result in tiredness because extra blood will flow to your intestine to digest and absorb nutrients.

Tip #2: Always eat your breakfast. Some studies have even stated that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is because your blood glucose is usually low during the morning, and even a little food will give blood glucose AND brain function improvement.

Tip #3: Sleep, sleep, and sleep! “The ability to do useful mental work declines by 25% for every successive 24 hours awake,”  said Gregory Belenky of the Walter Reed Army Institute. Try to get seven hours of sleep a day to reach your maximal mental potential. Remember, all-nighters can fail!

Tip #4: To preserve your memory as you age, the Harvard Medical School recommends a Mediterranean diet, which includes: fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, beans, nuts, olive oil, little red meat, and strictly four eggs per week.

Lastly, remember, you are what you eat! Keep in mind that a healthy body equals a healthy brain, and that well-balanced meals now will decrease your chance of getting brain problems when you’re older. Not only will following these tips and eating the listed foods help improve your ability to perform tasks, but it will help you grow to be a healthy adult.

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