Eating healthy when you’re on a student income can be a challenge, but it is important to help keep your brain at the right level of performance needed to help you learn to your best ability. Here are some great choices you could easily integrate into your diet to help keep your brain at optimum performance.
Avocados are chock full of certain nutrients that can improve cognitive function such as memory and concentration. They also have the added benefit of improving blood flow which can result in lower blood pressure,. Hypertension is a risk factor for decline in cognitive abilities, so lower blood pressure means healthier brain. So whack some avocado on your breakfast toast, add it to your salad, or try it on a sandwich. Yum.
Widely lauded as one of nature’s superfood, berries of all shapes and colours, help the brain stay healthy in a number of ways, berry fruits contain high levels of antioxidants which help protect cells from damage by harmful free radicals. Berry fruits actually change the way your brain communicates. This reduces the risk of inflammation in the brain that contributes to neuronal damage and improves motor control and cognition. Plus they taste amazing. Add them to muesli and yoghurt or just grab a handful nd munch throughout the day.
The nitrates in beetroot also increases blood flow to the brain which has a natural flow on effect to improving mental performance. This is a no - brainer ( excuse the pun). Plus beetroot has a rich, earthy flavour that goes well with so many things. Try it in salads, with your favourite salad vegetables and for extra zing, fetta or goats cheese. Or why not try it as a juice? Tres refreshing.
Chocolate has been getting students through late night study sessions since time began, but did you know it’s actually doing you some good? The magic ingredient is actually cocoa an essential element of chocolate. The compounds in dark chocolate have been proven to boost memory, attention span, reaction time and problem solving skills by increasing blood flow to the brain. But avoid the refined sugar rich chocolate bars which are mostly fat and sugar and opt for dark chocolate ( the darker the better) and with a high percentage of cocoa.
Eggs contain choline, which are vital for brain development in – utero and also in early childhood. But as we grow, they can also help us learn more readily and help us retain what we learn. Nothing like a poached egg on toast in the morning or as a quick dinner or snack when you really can’t be bothered cooking.
Good quality extra virgin olive oil is high in antioxidants and vitamins essential for brain development. Regular olive oil consumption also decreases the risk of depression and actually helps with new brain cell formation and can even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s later in life. Add to salads, use in cooking. No excuse to not use it.
Oysters are often seen as a decadent luxury food and are not everyone’s cup of tea, but because they are rich in zinc as well as iron, they can enhance the brain’s ability to stay focused and remember information. Eat them as fresh as you can get, natural with lemon and black pepper. Preferably accompanied by a glass of something chilled and a glorious sunset.
What’s your favourite brain food?