During the stress of exams, we often neglect our diets for something quick, easy and satisfying. However, what we often don't realise is that an unbalanced diet can actually impact on our marks. Feeding our tired little bodies the right nutrients during these week subsequently feeds our brains, so we can perform at our best.
Optimising your nutrition during exams, as well as the other 364 days of the year, can help your memory capacity. The foods you eat play an important role in keeping your brain healthy and can improve specific mental tasks, such as concentration. That is why I made a list a foods you might want to consider adding to your diet during this exam season.
I know everybody will be very happy about this one, as one of the must-have students' drink. You’ll be pleased to know that if you start your day with a cup of coffee, the caffeine and antioxidants will help your brain.
The caffeine has a number of positive effects on the brain, including:
Fatty fish are abundant sources of omega-3 fatty acids - healthy unsaturated fats that have been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
These fats are important for healthy brain functions, the heart, joints and our general well-being. Although some studies are at an early stage there is some suggestion that adequate amounts of omega-3 fats in your diet may help to relieve depression.
Broccoli is a great source of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower.
Researchers found that because broccoli is high in compounds called glucosinolates, it can slow down the breakdown of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which we need for the central nervous system to perform properly and keep our brains and memories sharp.
In a 2012 study published in Annals of Neurology, researchers at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that women who consumed two or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each week delayed memory decline by up to two-and-a-half years.
Blueberries and other deeply coloured berries deliver anthocyanin, a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that can help improve communication between memory cells.
Nuts are excellent sources of protein and healthy fats, and one type of nut in particular might also improve memory. A 2015 study from UCLA linked higher walnut consumption to improved cognitive test scores.
Several nutrients in nuts, such as healthy fats, antioxidants and vitamin E, may explain their brain-health benefits.
Vitamin E shields call membranes from free radical damage, slowing down mental decline.
Eggs are a good source of several nutrients tied to brain health, including vitamin B6 and B12, folate and choline.
Choline is an important micronutrient contained in egg yolks that your body uses to create acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and memory.