You are what you eat, so how can you literally eat smarter? With the school year fast approaching, you may want to make some changes to your diet to help promote brain health, memory and focus. When planning your back-to-school meal plan, consider adding some of these brain-fueling ingredients.
Blueberries are known for boosting memory, and a blueberry-rich diet has been shown to improve learning and muscle functions in aging rats. Pair it with a dairy source like yogurt, and you’ve got a great brain-boosting parfait for breakfast. In fact, students who eat breakfast perform better than those who don’t, so get eating!
- Green Tea
Green tea provides a nice source of caffeine, which increases alertness. Thanks to l-theanine, green tea’s caffeine releases slowly, which means you can enjoy the benefits without the crash. Green tea also promotes a feeling of tranquility, which is perfect for study sessions.
- Nuts and Dark Chocolate
Here’s a sweet treat that’s actually good for you. Nuts and seeds contain Vitamin E, which keeps the mind sharp. Pair this with dark chocolate’s natural kick of caffeine, and you’ve got a powerful (and oh-so-tasty) on-the-run snack. Keep your nuts and chocolate under an ounce of day to enjoy the benefits without adding too much sugar, calories and fat to your diet.
- Fatty Fish
Who’s in the mood for sushi? Oily fish like salmon, trout and mackerel contain powerful omega-3 fatty acids known to boost memory and concentration. They’re also great for improving your mood and keeping you from getting fatigued.
- Avocado Toast
No wonder so many millennials are eating avocado toast—it’s amazing for your brain and health. Avocados enhance blood flow, which helps your brain (and other organs) function to the best of their abilities. Whole wheat toast is also great for blood flow and contain Vitamin E, so pair them together for a deliciously simple heart-and-brain-healthy snack.
- Leafy Greens
Two or more daily servings of vegetables can give you the mental focus of someone five years younger. An easy way to meet this daily amount is by adding some leafy greens to your diet. Add them to a breakfast smoothie or sandwich, or take a lunchtime salad to school. You can also juice your veggies, which adds even more potential health benefits.
- Broccoli and Eggs
Both broccoli and egg yolks contain choline, which improves memory functions. They also pair well together; for a choline-packed breakfast, make a yummy broccoli quiche.
- Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds make a great autumnal snack—perfect for the early school year. They’re packed with magnesium, which improves learning functions. But that’s not all! The iron in pumpkin seeds helps you focus, so take some seeds with you to your next test.
- Coconut Oil
The benefits to coconut oil are many—it’s a supremely versatile ingredient in and out of the kitchen. Add it to your favourite recipe to feed your brain some glucose. Coconut oil also aids in blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. As we said with avocado, improving blood flow and circulation improves your whole body—including brain functions.
- Oranges and Fresh Orange Juice
We all know Vitamin C keeps you from getting sick, but did you know it also protects your brain from free radicals? Free radicals can damage brain cells, so the vitamin serves as defence against mental decline. Oranges are one of the easiest sources of Vitamin C—just one medium-sized orange gives you the recommended daily serving, along with a bit of glucose to kickstart the brain.