From my experiences of late-night studying in college, I have learned “brain food” is an umbrella term, often used to describe the snacks that someone eats during hours in the library: that can be anything from a protein-packed granola bar to beloved Sour Patch Kids. However, it was not until recently that I learned that it is actually possible to feed your body vitamins and minerals that can literally act as brain food, stimulating connective thought processes and sharpening focus.
Having a healthy brain is all about balancing the vitamins and nutrients your brain craves in order to function properly. Though you don’t have to leave your favorite study snacks behind, it might be a good idea to incorporate these five foods into your diet to increase your memory, focus, and overall health.
1. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate may seem like just another indulgent treat, but it actually contains a lot of antioxidants that not only keep your body healthy, but also help increase blood flow in the brain.
Plus, eating dark chocolate can also help you stay alert. Unlike a cup of coffee that is sure to make you wired and lead you into a crash, dark chocolate has the right amount of caffeine to keep you on-task.
In recent years, kale has earned the title of “superfood” because of its nutrient density. However, the fad of green smoothies and kale salads should not become a passing phase, because kale contains nutrients that are essential to brain function.
Because the brain is a fatty organ, keeping one’s brain healthy is directly correlated with choosing the right fats to consume. The plant-based omega-3s in kale are linked to preventing foggy thinking and cognitive blocks.
If you’re looking to prevent an embarrassing memory lapse when standing in front of your class or office for a presentation, try adding blueberries into your diet. Like dark chocolate, blueberries are also high in antioxidants. Blueberries are known for improving memory, higher levels of cognitive functioning, sharp decision making, and better comprehension.
There are many reasons to keep a baggie of almonds or a nut-based protein bar in your purse, but one of the lesser known reasons is that nuts can help to keep your brain from deteriorating in the long run. It’s no wonder that the ultra-healthy walnut is shaped like a brain, because it is the best nut for maintaining cognitive function–followed by almonds and hazelnuts.
Though none of these foods can grant you superpowers or make you a genius, they have been proven to keep your brain functioning at a high level for a longer period of time. So, whether you’re slammed with paperwork or have a 45-minute speech to give, try incorporating a improve the health of your brain.