We’ve always known that we are what we eat, and that it’s important to eat a healthy diet in order to look after our bodies. But it’s not just about how food affects our body physically anymore, we also need to be mindful of how foods improve or aid in brain functioning. With this in mind, eating clean has never been more important. Keep reading to learn about 8 of the best brain foods that can enhance your studies.
The importance of quality food for your brain
Foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants nourish the body and the brain. Under the same principle, unhealthy food has the opposite effect—diets high in refined sugars are harmful to the brain, promoting inflammation and oxidative stress that impairs brain functioning. Sadly, junk food is easily accessible almost everywhere in the world. And it causes not only obesity or an increased risk of developing diabetes, but it can also affect your memory.
1. Whole grains
The ability to concentrate comes from a strong and steady energy supply of glucose into the bloodstream. Whole grains with a low-GI are good for concentration as they are digested relatively slowly and therefore consistently and slowly release energy into your body. Whole grains help to keep your brain function high and yourself mentally alert throughout the day. This is the opposite of a quick ‘sugar high’ which is generally followed by drained feeling afterwards.
2. Oily fish
Essential fatty acids and omega-3 are crucial not only for the heart, joints, and our general well-being, but they’re important for healthy brain function. Our bodies can’t produce these fatty acids, so we need to get them from external sources. The best sources for these essential fatty acids is oily fish, such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, consider adding seeds like linseed and chia to your diet, or consider a plant-based, omega-3 supplement.
This study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that a good intake of vitamin E might help to prevent cognitive decline and poor memory—especially in seniors. Nuts are a great source of vitamin E along with asparagus, olives, seeds, eggs, brown rice and whole grains. In addition, nuts are easy to carry, can be eaten as an everyday snack, and are very filling, making your daily Vitamin E intake easy.
4. Green, leafy veggies
Green leafy vegetables are way up there in the list of the best brain foods as they’re packed with vitamins A and K which help fight inflammation and keep bones strong. In fact, just one cup of raw kale has more than 684% of your recommended daily serving. Think spinach, silverbeet, kale, and romaine lettuce. Additionally, these vegetables make for a great base in every dish—try swapping empty carbohydrates, such as pasta or white bread, for leafy greens instead.
Blueberries are a great brain food. For starters, they’re one of the highest antioxidant-rich foods known to us, and they include vitamin C, vitamin K and fibre. To top that off, blueberries also have high levels of gallic acid, which is great for protecting the brain from degeneration and stress. Unfortunately, we know blueberries can be expensive, so try adding just a few to your breakfast or smoothie everyday.
Avocados are not just good for making smashed avo, they’re actually one of the healthiest fruits we can consume. While it’s true that avocados have quite a high fat content, we should be paying attention to what type of fats they’re packed with. Avocados contain monounsaturated fats, also known as the ‘good’ kind of fat, that keeps your blood sugar levels steady to help you concentrate throughout the day.
7. Dark chocolate
While the one we know as ‘milk chocolate’ isn’t healthy at all, dark chocolate can be quite good for you (as a rule of thumb, the more cocoa it has, the better). Dark chocolate is full of flavonols, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and can also help to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to both the brain. This means chocolate can actually help you concentrate. However, it’s important to know that dark chocolate is still high in calories—so you probably shouldn’t eat a whole block in one sitting!
Broccoli is one of the best brain foods out there. It has high levels of vitamin C, vitamin K and choline, which helps in keeping your memory sharp. It’s also high in fibre, which means it’ll make you feel fuller faster.
Healthy food = healthy mind
Eating healthily is important, not just to achieve a healthy body, but a healthy mind, too. Make sure you include these brain foods mentioned above in your diet and watch your mind reap all the benefits.
Good brain function is particularly important when studying, which Lonsdale Institute knows all about. If you’re interested in studying abroad in Sydney and Melbourne, contact us at Lonsdale Institute today.