Imagine trying to run a marathon after a fast-food binge. How long would it take before you began to feel tired, light-headed and weak? Like our bodies, our brains need a high quality, steady supply of energy to focus, retain information and retain mentally alert.
Next time you find yourself cramming for an exam, make sure to work the following foods into your diet:
- Whole Grains – In order to concentrate over an extended period of time, our brains require a steady supply of energy.Whole grains with a low glycemic index (GI) — such as brown cereals, wheatbran, granary bread and whole wheat pasta) — release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you mentally alert for longer.
- Oily Fish – The essential fatty acids that occur naturally in oily fish (such as salmon, trout, mackerel and herring) promote healthy brain function and overall wellbeing.
- Pumpkin Seeds – A handful of pumpkin seeds is all it takes for you to get your recommended daily intake of zinc, which is crucial for boosting memory and thinking skills.
- Broccoli – Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.
- Walnuts – Walnuts are chock-full of polyphenols, which are thought to improve working memory by enhancing the communication between neurons.
- Spinach – The magnesium in spinach helps dilate blood vessels, accelerating blood flow throughout the body and brain.
- Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonoids, a class of plant pigments that boost blood flow to key areas of the brain for two to three hours.
- Peppermint – Some studies have found that you can significantly improve brain function simply by smelling peppermint. This is because the scent stimulates the hippocampus — the part of the brain linked to memory — and can help relieve mental fatigue.