Welcome to Finals Week. Do you feel like your brain could use an extra boost? Did you know you can give your brain superpowers? That’s right. You are just a few healthy foods away from challenging Superman’s study habits.
Certain foods have been shown to sharpen memory, focus attention, prevent brain disease, and even alleviate your mood. Read on for a list of foods and recipes to give yourself an extra boost in school.
Carbohydrates have gotten a bad reputation, said to cause weight gain and brain fog. But your body needs a steady dose of energy to concentrate. Healthy carbs like wholegrain cereals, bread and brown rice have a low-GI, which means they release slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you focused on your long text books. Try this delicious brown rice stir fry for dinner: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/brown-rice-veggie-stir-fry/
Salmon and other fish
Essential fatty acids are vital in a diet because they can’t be made by the body. Plus, they help your brain, heart, joints, skin, and even your mood by calming depression. Wild-caught salmon is the healthiest option with the fewest toxins. Grilling it in foil is easy and delicious! https://www.wellplated.com/grilled-salmon-in-foil/
It’s important to give your body a protein-rich breakfast in the morning, and eggs are a nutritious and convenient option. Vitamins B1, B3 and choline regulate normal brain function and memory, and B6, B1 and folic acid reduce brain shrinkage. Take five minutes to scramble them in the morning, buy or boil your own hard-boiled eggs to pack in your lunch, or try this easy egg cup recipe: https://showmetheyummy.com/healthy-egg-muffin-cups/
Avocados are one of the most nutritious fruits God has made, which means you can justify Taco Wednesday, Taco Thursday, Taco Friday, and Taco everyday as long as you include guacamole. They have loads of good, mono-saturated fats, vitamins K, B, and C, folate, and the highest protein and lowest sugar count of any fruit. They improve memory, concentration, and lower your risk for blood clots. You can buy them smashed in individual packets at the store to pack in a lunch or spread on top of toast in the morning: https://gimmedelicious.com/how-to-make-the-best-avocado-toast-with-eggs/
Make yourself a creamy berry smoothie in the morning and protect your brain against disease and stress. Berries can also improve your short-term memory, so when you’re cramming before a test, grab a handful of blueberries to snack on. https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/mixed-berry-smoothie/
Salads come in all shapes and forms these days, but your body’s best bet is to go for the green kind instead of the macaroni kind. Romaine, spinach and kale can slow mental deterioration and strengthen your bones. Get creative with toppings of fruit, nuts, feta cheese, and balsamic dressing for a sweeter taste, or veggies, parmesan cheese and italian dressing for a savory version. https://www.thekitchn.com/spinach-salad-267495
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts
Broccoli and the other cruciferous veggies are high in vitamin C and K which can improve brain function. They also have plenty of compounds called glucosinolates, which can enhance your memory. Broccoli and cauliflower can be enjoyed raw at lunch dipped in hummus or at dinner in a pasta dish like this: https://www.forkknifeswoon.com/whole-wheat-pasta-with-broccoli-and-chicken-sausage/
Ever notice how much a walnut looks like a brain? Many fruits, vegetables, and nuts actually resemble the parts of the body they benefit. And it’s clear that walnuts have antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (especially vitamin E) that can boost your brainpower. https://www.thehealthymaven.com/how-to-build-a-healthy-trail-mix/
Zinc is the game changer in your favorite pumpkin-carving treat. It enhances thinking skills and memory and is packed with stress-reducing magnesium, B vitamins, and tryptophan, which helps produce the good-mood chemical serotonin. Pumpkin seed granola makes a great breakfast or snack: https://reluctantentertainer.com/pumpkin-seed-cranberry-granola/
We’ve saved the best for last. Yes, it’s true that dark chocolate is considered a health food! It’s rich in flavonoids that improve blood flow to the brain and heart and lower blood pressure. But the darker the chocolate the better, so make sure it’s 70% cocoa or higher to truly receive the benefits and not just the sugar. Try dipping two or three squares of dark chocolate in a dollop of peanut butter for a yummy after school snack.
With school finals coming up, now is the time to start that grocery list and have fun experimenting in the kitchen with meals and snacks that are simple, delicious, and helpful. Your body and your grades will thank you!