It’s not breaking news. Getting sufficient sleep is extremely important for brain function. Students of all ages are constantly being told how vital it is to always get enough shuteye, particularly before exams or other major school assignments. This advice is sound, but there are other ways to improve brain function even further.
What many don’t know is that it’s also possible to boost brain function with food. Nuts, seeds, berries, cruciferous vegetables, avocados and fatty fish have all been shown to positively affect brain health. By incorporating these into your diet, you may be able to improve memory, cognitive function and general brain health. Need some inspiration? These simple snack ideas are the perfect brain food for studying.
1. Seasoned kale chips: A great alternative for potato chips, kale chips will pick up whatever seasonings you desire. Kale – like all leafy greens – may decrease cognitive decline and improve memory. Simply toss fresh kale leaves with olive oil, salt and whatever combination of spices you like; and then roast them in the oven until crispy. Or save yourself the time and oven energy with a pre-made bag of nacho-style kale chips.
2. Fresh or frozen berries: Instead of reaching for the gummy worms, pick up fresh strawberries and blueberries. Berries are full of antioxidants, which are great for brain function. Also, blueberries have been shown to reduce effects of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Try snacking on frozen blueberries for a sweet snack that’s a bit lighter on the budget.
3. Avocado toast: Combining the healthy fats from avocado with a hearty, whole grain bread is a great way to improve blood flow throughout the body; and improved blood flow sends a healthy dose of oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Luckily, avocado toast is quick and easy to make. You can even take it up a notch with a dash of salt, chili powder and lime juice, which nicely complement the neutral flavor of avocado.
4. Dark chocolate nut mix: This power duo combines the forces of nuts and dark chocolate to make one superfood snack. Cashews, almonds and sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E, which helps support a healthy brain throughout your lifespan. Dark chocolate is another food high in antioxidants. It also contains low amounts of caffeine, which, in small doses, is great for improving concentration. Throw together some high-quality, low-sugar chocolate with a variety of nuts and seeds for a satisfying snack. Make sure to include walnuts for an extra brain boost!
5. Dark chocolate-covered espresso beans: As you now know, both dark chocolate and caffeine have brain-improving powers. So, it only makes sense to combine them. Dark chocolate-covered espresso beans are a quick pick-me-up if you’re starting to doze off and lose focus. Be careful to not overdo it, however, since too much caffeine can lead to anxiety and shakiness.
6. Roasted chickpeas: Beans are great at keeping blood sugar levels in check, so there’s a steady flow of energy to the brain. It may seem difficult to snack on beans alone, but the trick is in how you prepare them. Rinsing, peeling, seasoning and roasting chickpeas is a simple, delicious way to enjoy beans – and makes them more portable when you’re on the go. Try wasabi-flavored chickpeas if you’re looking for a kick of spice.
7. Tuna salad on crackers: Fatty fish, such as sardines, tuna and salmon, are high in omega-3s. Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that help keep the brain working efficiently. Add some olive oil, garlic powder and salt to your canned tuna. Spread it on crackers for a snack you can easily eat while looking over those chemistry notes.