Struggling to stay focused while you’re staring at your computer screen for class? Trying to use toothpicks to keep your eyes open while doing homework?
Grab some almonds!
Does that idea sound too “nutty” for you? Don’t jump to conclusions just yet. The solution to help you through school may just lie in your kitchen, and I’m not talking about that bag of potato chips.
Here are six foods that may give your brain the boost it needs to wake up and help you focus:
- Almonds. Almonds have more health benefits than I have fingers, and one of those benefits is reportedly boosting energy production.1 A small handful of raw or roasted almonds are the perfect snack when you need something more than pure determination to help you through class. If you’re not a fan of raw nuts, consider making yourself an old school PB&J sandwich—just switch out the peanut butter for almond butter!
- Apples. If you have a case of the yawns, grab an apple. It’s been suggested that an apple can give you the same amount of energy as a cup of coffee. Instead of coffee’s stimulating effect, the steady supply of glucose from apples can give you a boost. 2 As an added bonus, you’re absorbing natural sugars with an apple, so your energy levels can remain higher for longer—more than they would with your cappuccino or latté.
- Whole Wheat Bread or Pasta. Fiber, which helps keep your blood sugar levels stable, is great for concentration and motivation. 3 Pull out the toaster or start boiling some water for whole wheat breads or pastas. Don’t think of substituting whole-wheat items with white bread or pastas, though. Without the “whole grain” in the label, you’re missing the nutrients that can help you feel alert all day. (In fact, white bread and pastas could likely make you tired.4
- Tomatoes. Fruit or vegetable? It doesn’t matter as long as they’re packed with an antioxidant that reportedly promotes optimal brain function! 5 You can add cherry tomatoes to your salads, eat them by the handful them like grapes or you can add tomato slices to your sandwiches.
- Go for the Green. Greens are gold when it comes to keeping your brain healthy for the present and the future. It’s been suggested that green vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli help prevent cognitive decline as you age.6 It’s hard to find creative ways to make leafy greens sound appealing, so try out different cooking techniques to see what you like! Not a fan of raw broccoli? Try placing broccoli florets in boiling water for five minutes, then top them with parmesan cheese.
- Dark Chocolate. You may be thinking, “Finally! Enough of this healthy stuff.” If that’s the case, this one’s for you. Not only is chocolate supposedly a mood booster, but reports suggest that it improves brain function and memory. The key here, however, is dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is less processed than white or milk chocolate, so you reap the natural benefits of cocoa. To get the most benefits, look for at least 70% dark chocolate – this number indicates the total percentage of everything in the chocolate that comes from the cocoa bean. 7
So the next time you’re struggling with your schoolwork and want to give your brain a wake-up call, head to the kitchen! The foods with mental benefits may just become your new favorite study companion.
Looking for more study tips? Find them here on our blog.
What are your favorite items to snack on while you are studying? Share with us in the comments!
1. Jong, Nikki. “Super Snacks: 5 Best Snacks for Energy.” Retrieved from https://www.caring.com/articles/best-snacks-for-energy. (Visited 11/09/16.)
2. “Do Apples Give You More Energy Than a Cup of Coffee?” Retrieved from http://www.superfreshgrowers.com/blog/2013/9/do-apples-give-you-more-energy-cup-coffee. (Visit 11/09/16.)
3. Hargreaves, Claire. “Six Foods That Help to Improve Concentration.” Retrieved from http://www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk/nutritionist-articles/six-foods-that-help-with-concentration-and-why. (Visited 11/09/16.)
4. Breslau, Ellen. “6 Surprising Foods That Make You Tired.” Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/6-surprising-foods-that-make-you-tired_us_55b0f6bce4b0a9b94853c8a1. (Visited 11/09/16.)
5. “15 Power Foods to Improve Your Brain Health.” Retrieved from http://www.mommyedition.com/foods-to-improve-your-brain-health. (Visited 11/09/16.)
6. “The Search for Alzheimer’s Prevention Strategies.” Retrieved from https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/preventing-alzheimers-disease/search-alzheimers-prevention-strategies. (Visited 11/09/16.)
7. Alban, Deane. “9 Brain Boosting Benefits of Dark Chocolate.” Retrieved from http://bebrainfit.com/brain-benefits-dark-chocolate/. (Visited 11/09/16.)