* Verified by a US-based board-certified doctor. Biohacking to gain a competitive edge academically isn't new. The use of nootropics is safe and effective for getting the best out of your study sessions. They can help you to be focused, clear thinking, motivated, creative, and maintain mental energy throughout. Let's look at the best nootropics for studying. Why Nootropics Studying is difficult and can be exhausting. In a world of smart drugs, it's all too easy to go the way of stimulants. Nootropics can have a similar effect without the risks of a crash. Nootropics are naturally deriv...Keep Reading
10 Awesome Smart Foods For The Brain
* Verified by a US-based board-certified doctor.
Taking exams is stressful and can be taxing on your mind and your body. While you’re learning the material and going over the exam strategy, don’t forget to make a plan for the foods you’ll be eating. Nutrition plays a vital role in your intellectual, emotional, and physical state leading up to the pressures of exams.
If you consider how you would like to feel on the day, you might say you’d like to feel calm, alert, focused, and confident. Despite the ideal, a poor diet will work against you. So, let’s talk about 10 awesome smart foods for the brain as you prepare for exams.
Related: Brain Exercises You Should Try
Change Your Diet Before Exams
Don’t wait until game day to improve your diet. It can take time for the nutrients in many foods to benefit you. A healthy brain can’t be built overnight, so if you want to perform at your best, you’ll have to make changes early on.
A healthy brain is beneficial for:
- A strong working memory
- Powers of concentration/focus
- Mental energy
- Mental clarity
- Less stress
But to enjoy these benefits, you must build a healthy brain with a nutrient-rich diet.
What to Eat Before The Exams
So, what kinds of foods should you include in your diet? Research shows that real brain foods will cause improvements in your learning, focus, and memory by doing the following:
- Increasing blood flow to your brain
- Supporting the formation of new neurons (brain cells)
- Protect brains cells from damage and aging
- Promote healthy brain cells
- Repair brain cells
- Facilitate the production of neurotransmitters
A healthy brain will expand your capacity to learn and recall information. It will make focusing easier by providing you with ample energy and mental stability.
What to Eat
Here are 10 smart foods to eat for a healthier brain while preparing for exams.
1 Foods Rich in Omega-3
Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are readily available for the body to use. They can only be obtained in the foods you eat, from sources like oily fish in the form of DHA and EPA. They can also come from plant sources like soya beans, flaxseed, walnuts, chia, hemp, pumpkin seeds, and their oils. In addition to a fit brain, essential fatty acids support strong joints and a healthy heart.
Examples of oily fish are salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, pilchards, herring, and kippers.
2 Whole Grains
The mental energy you need to focus and think clearly comes from the food you eat. Your brain requires a steady supply of energy from your blood. This energy comes in the form of glucose, which is best obtained from whole grains. These complex carbs have a low GI, so they release energy slowly and steadily into your blood - just the way your brain likes it. This prevents the peaks and lows of simple carbs like sugary treats. Go for brown whole grains in pasta, bread, rice, and cereals.
Egg yolks are full of choline, which is the precursor to the memory-boosting neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Eggs are also rich in B vitamins which are essential to healthy brain function. Other foods rich in the B’s are green leafy veggies, dairy, chicken, and fish. If you don’t eat animal products, consider plant milks, breakfast cereals, and other foods fortified with B12. You can find B6 in nutritional yeast, nuts, seeds, soya, and avocado.
Finally, eggs contain a chemical called bethane. This chemical produces hormones that make you feel happy. And let’s face it, during exam time, you need a happiness boost!
Related: How to Memorize Material Faster
When we think of study aids, our minds often go to caffeine. Caffeine blocks adenosine, the neurotransmitter that regulates sleepiness. This will prevent drowsiness, leaving you feeling mentally sharp. As long as you don’t consume too much of it, caffeine can keep you alert and awake, as well as improve your focus, learning, mood, and overall productivity. Experiment with varying sources and amounts of caffeine in your day to see what’s optimal for you. Once you’ve consumed too much, you’ll know because you may feel irritable, anxious, and your sleep may be interrupted.
The source of caffeine matters. The best sources are traditionally brewed coffee, teas, yerba mate because they are abundant in flavonoids, antioxidants, and other brain-protecting, brain nourishing substances.
Caffeine sources like energy drinks and caffeinated sodas aren’t good sources of caffeine. They come with lots of sugar and other harmful chemicals.
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5 Green Tea
Green tea has less caffeine than coffee, but enough for a positive effect. One of the best benefits of green tea is that it contains the amino acid L-Theanine. L-Theanine reduces stress and provides a sense of well-being. With caffeine, it puts you in a state of relaxed wakefulness and boosts working memory and focus. One study found that people who regularly drink green tea had higher brain function and better-organized brain regions than people who did not.
Avocados are a superfood that is high in healthy fats and loaded with fiber. They also have many health benefits for the whole body.
7 Red, Green, and Orange Vegetables
Vegetables support efficient brain function. These veggies contain carotenoid pigments - lutein and zeaxanthin, which accumulate in your eyes and brain. These carotenoids have been associated with intellectual ability and cognitive function.
The best sources are parsley, basil, peas, spinach, kale, leeks, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, and peppers.
Beets are abundant in nitrates and produce nitric oxide in the brain. Nitric oxide aids in nerve cell communication, blood circulation to the brain, and efficient brain function. One study of people drinking beet juice showed nitrate concentration in the blood was increased, and so was reaction time in mental tests.
9 Citrus Fruit
Citrus fruits are nutrient-dense and associated with brain health. They’re rich in flavonoids, which may promote working memory and learning. These fruits also contain substances that protect brain cells against cognitive decline.
Nuts are abundant in nutrients, including vitamin E and zinc. Nuts are easy and convenient to snack on and provide loads of healthy fats, fiber, and protein. One study showed that snacking on walnuts improved the interpretation of verbal information in college students and increased test scores.
During the stressful time of exam prep, consume the above foods to support brain health and improve cognitive functions.
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