This time of year is usually associated with good food, family, and holiday shopping. While some celebrate the weather getting colder and the holidays getting closer, there are others who only have one word for this time of year; stressful. College students are all too familiar with this busy time of year. The fall semester is halfway over which means exams are looming. Students are busy studying and writing finals papers, usually in the wee hours of the night when they should be sleeping. In between study breaks, it’s not unlikely that you’ll find students stocking up on coffee, energy drinks, and sugary snacks. This year, instead of going for the chocolate chip cookie, pick foods that will make your brain happy. Here are a few smart brain foods to keep on hand this semester to help you during exams.
At least once a week try to have a nice, healthy salmon dinner. Wild salmon is full of of omega-3 fatty acids, which is essential in brain development and function. This can help you retain the information you study over the next few weeks and hopefully stress a little less about those final papers. Salmon isn’t the only kind of fish that is good for brain function, but it has essential oils which is the beneficial part. Other great fish options include tuna, trout, and mackerel if you’re not a fan of salmon. If you don’t have time for an entire meal, grab a small can of tuna or salmon and some whole grain crackers for the perfect on-the-go snack.
More of a snack than a real meal, nuts are a great choice. Walnuts, cashews, and almonds are a few of my favorites. Since nuts are a great snack source of Vitamin E and walnuts in particular have a high concentration of DHA, it’s a good idea to keep a little bag of them on hand to munch on between classes and while you’re pouring over those textbooks. Add cranberries or dried fruit for a hint of sweetness to your salty nut mixture. Nuts have also been shown to aid in weight loss and lower blood pressure so while you’re snacking you can rest easy about your healthy eating habits.
Grab some veggies and hummus and snack away! Broccoli and celery have been proven to improve cognitive function to give your brain a boost. Both contain high levels of Vitamin K and choline, both of which help to keep your memory sharp when you’re cramming for exams. Sure, you can snack on the broccoli and celery stalks just the way they are, but I prefer to dunk my veggies in something. Hummus, though not proven to help with brain function, does have other health benefits such as lowering your risk of heart problems, risk of diabetes, and helping with weight loss.
Eggs & Bananas
Starting off with a healthy breakfast will make an enormous difference in your busy day of studying. I love a good sunny side up egg for breakfast. Pair it with a banana and you’ve got the best brain power duo. Egg yolk is loaded with choline to help improve memory function while bananas have vitamins, amino acids, and potassium to improve brain function and mental health. If you’re running late in the morning, have a few hard boiled eggs in your fridge for a quick to-go breakfast.