It’s back to school and work season again, meaning that it’s time for you to figure out how to hold a pen again! We’ve all been there, our first day back, you receive a bunch of paperwork only to realize that you’ve forgotten how to do the basics of reading and writing. But, don’t worry, that’ll come back to you. The real challenge is when the tests come around. Whether it be a skills test, a presentation, or an important meeting, you’ve got to get it together. And, like always we’re here to lend a helping hand and provide you with our secret weapon: brain food! Like our other organs, our brain needs not just fuel, but the right kind of fuel to do its job. Incorporating these brain foods into your diet could help improve your memory and mental clarity, and help land you that promotion or that perfect score! So, you can say goodbye to late nights in the library or at the office and start eating your way to an amazing school and work year with these brain foods:
1. Green Tea
If green tea is not already great enough, here’s another reason why you’ll want to start drinking it. Green tea has demonstrated some properties that may be able to help you recall information better. Green tea also contains a high level of antioxidants which can help protect your brain from any damage caused from putting your brain into overdrive trying to figure out that mental math question you got the other day. It can also help ease your anxiety and help you think clearly about the problems that are in front of you.
Bonus tip! A good old trick when it comes to boosting your memory is to drink green tea while preparing for a test, and while taking the actual test. By doing so, your brain may be able to associate the information with drinking green tea, and cause you to recall it any time that you’re drinking green tea. In reality, you could do this with any food or drink, but with green tea you get extra health benefits and an excuse to walk into class/the office with a drink in your hand.
Is an assignment driving you nuts? Then, you may need to eat more nuts! As silly as it may seem, nuts may help prevent you from going nuts! Nuts contain high levels of omega-3s and vitamin E, both of which have been associated with reducing inflammation and boosting brain power. Consuming a serving of nuts per day may help your brain wake up and take you out of zombie-mode. Additionally, nuts may even help to prevent brain related diseases like Alzheimer’s. Walnuts have been identified as the leading nut in this department. But, peanuts are a close second. And, if you’re allergic, don’t panic, you can also get these benefits from pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and other seeds too!
3. Dark Chocolate
Let’s be honest, we all need more reasons to eat dark chocolate, and this just happens to be a science-based one. Dark chocolate contains high levels of antioxidants, flavonoids, and anti-inflammatory properties that can promote mental sharpness and improve your ability to concentrate and retain information. It also has small levels of caffeine that may awaken your brain. Additionally, it is a natural mood booster, so you’ll get a little extra motivation to complete your task. And, we can only speak for ourselves, but there is nothing we find more motivating than chocolate! The only caveat here is that it must be sugar-free dark chocolate. Which, let’s be honest we’re not really complaining about that either! We’ve got so many delicious, sugar-free dark chocolate options that we’re more motivated than ever to get down to business!
Yellow is soon to be your new favourite colour once you realize that the lovely yellow-pigment we all know and love may be the secret to excelling at school/work. This Indian spice has a long history of treating brain-related conditions in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. And, over the recent years, it gained traction for its shown ability to dramatically improve brain function. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, promotes the production of cells that repair the brain. It can also help break down built-up plaque, reduce inflammation, save dying neurons, and reduce your chances of developing a brain-related disease, or improve a brain condition (e.g. TBI, Alzheiemers). You can either add this vibrant spice to your meals or drinks, or make yourself an iconic golden milk latte to reap the benefits!
They say some of the smartest animals on the planet, like dolphins, consume primarily a fish-based diet, and they may be onto something! Fish has a reputation for its ability to improve brain function; This is because fatty fish like salmon, trout, cod, and sardines are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation in the brain among other things. As a result, your brain’s performance and your ability to learn and memorize information may improve. But, if you prefer to keep the fish in the water and eat more plant-based foods, you can rely on kidney and pinto beans to get the same benefits.
This vegetable really does it all! Although often fed to pets under the dinner table, having this vegetable on your plate may be crucial for optimal brain performance. It has even been recognized as one of the top brain boosting foods available! Broccoli has high levels of three major brain boosting components, vitamin C, vitamin K, and choline. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that can help protect your brain’s structures from any big stressors. One serving of broccoli provides you with 150% of your daily vitamin C serving alone. And, vitamin K and choline, are key players when it comes to keeping your memory sharp. Given all the benefits, you may want to reconsider sharing your broccoli with your pet under the dinner table.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and in the case of school/work performance it just might make a difference! But, you don’t want to have just any breakfast, you’ll need a power breakfast, which is why we recommend oatmeal. Whether you’re an overnight oats fan or prefer a cozy, warm, bowl in the morning, oatmeal may be your best bet to get that A+. Oats have been recognized as being the ideal grain for the brain! Oats contain good levels of protein, fibre, zinc, potassium, B vitamins, and vitamin E, all which can work to improve your memory.
Blueberries take the crown as one of the best brain-boosting fruits out there! Blueberries contain high levels of flavonoids, fibre, and vitamin C and K. They’re known to have some of the highest antioxidant concentrations that you can find in food. And, as discussed before, antioxidants are crucial for maintaining the health of your brain. But, with blueberries, you also get the added benefit of taking in some gallic acid. Gallic acid can help keep your brain feeling young and reduce your chances of developing a brain-related condition. The best part is that blueberries are super easy to incorporate into your diet: smoothies, snacks, salads, desserts, and more!
Key Take-Aways & Final Thoughts:
Who would have thought that you could eat your way to a perfect score or a promotion? We often eat to improve our health or our sports performance, but forget that our brain is the one running the show! As demonstrated, consistently consuming a diet that incorporates the foods mentioned above can boost your performance in the classroom or in the office. Some other honorable mentions are: coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, pumpkin, whole grains, beets, avocados, eggs, rosemary, apples, olives, sweet potato, strawberries, cherries, onions, carrots, kale, and spinach. So next time you’re presented with a challenge at school or at work, you already know what you have to do...start eating!