As Antioch students we are often juggling time between work, school, and family obligations and it can get really stressful, even for those of us who are relatively health conscious. Students want a “mental edge”, especially during mid-terms and finals, are often missing the most critical component; eating nutritional foods that support optimum brain function.
According to nutritional experts there is a short list of foods that keep our brains fit and sharp. Eating a variety of them can jump start the brain and help boost productivity and focus throughout the day.
Memory and Concentration
Eggs offer a high quality protein which stimulates the brain. Choline is a micro-nutrient, a B vitamin, in eggs that specifically helps with memory and concentration. It is a great aid when you are trying to memorize problems for that final statistics test, or so you don’t take an energy dip in the middle of a lecture. Eggs will keep blood sugars stabilized and helps to make you feel fuller.
Sustained Energy and Mental Performance
If you enjoy grains, have them in the morning. Your body converts carbs into glucose, which is the brains favorite type of fuel! Grains contain B vitamins, which help your brain stay healthy over time. The recommendation is that you make half your grains whole grains. If you want to do it right, couple your grains with some protein for sustained energy and mental performance. Some tasty ideas are toast with almond butter, oatmeal with berries, or scrambled eggs over a whole grain English muffin. These will definitely help sustain you during your long school day.
Most teachers at Antioch let students take snacks into class. They recognize the importance of students staying sharp in class. Grapes are an easy one to partake of all day long. By consuming a variety of green, red and black grapes, you improve your antioxidant defenses, which have ramifications for brain health. Grapes also seem to help protect brain health by counteracting oxidative stress and inflammation and they also targeting the actions of certain genes involved in age-related diseases of the brain. Freeze up some grapes, and add them into your morning smoothie. (Don’t forget, wine is made of grapes too, but you didn’t hear that from me!)
Remember Violet Beauregarde who turned into a giant blueberry in the movie Willy Wonka? Well, if what research suggests is true, her memory was probably pretty good too. While all berries are rich in tannins, and they protect brain cells in improving memory by promoting communication between brain cells, blueberries specifically are rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals that have been linked to improvements in learning, thinking and memory. A great idea is to add blueberries to your yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies or baked goods.
Maybe Adam and Even had it right when they ate an apple! Ever hear of quercetin? It’s an antioxidant plant chemical that protects brain cells, and apples are extremely rich in quercetin. According to researchers at Cornell University, quercetin defends your brain cells from free radical attacks, which can damage the outer lining of delicate neurons and eventually lead to cognitive decline. Grab an apple in the morning and be sure to eat it with the skin on, since the highest amount of quercetin is found in the skin.
Eating these foods can jump start your brain and help boost your productivity and focus throughout the day.