Turn Setbacks into Setups
Nutrition and Cognitive Function
March 18, 2019
Have you found yourself feeling a little off? Are you finding it difficult to concentrate during exams? Does your mind wander at night when you should be sleeping? Did you remember to do… that one thing? Or maybe it was two things?
You Are Indeed What You Eat
You might feel like you’re always suffering from brain timeouts and not focusing in class despite having downed two cups of coffee to offset the all-nighter fueled by pizza and a beer (or three). If it feels like a recurring battle, take a hard look at your diet and how it is affecting your brain could be the answer to getting your mind back in fighting shape.
Believe it or not, your diet has a tremendous impact on your cognitive abilities which, in turn, can prevent you from maximizing and performing at your true potential. As the epicenter of the body and regulator of its functions, think of your brain as royalty, the king of the body. Without it, the body has no governance leading to complete anarchy.
You don’t process information as quickly, you aren’t retaining anything, and your body simply can’t sustain enough energy to function. Just as you wouldn’t serve a king a plate of garbage, you shouldn’t serve your body foods that don’t positively impact your cognitive functions, mood and attitude.
What They Don’t List On The Rubric
We all need brain foods to function, but good brain food for students is particularly important. With brains that are constantly processing and receiving new information paired with a tumultuous work, school and social life, a student’s brain is one that greatly benefits from eating the right brain foods.
A student’s life isn’t usually the most financially glamorous and it can be hard to find affordable and healthy brain foods to supplement your studying efforts. It’s easy to put the necessary brain foods for studying at the bottom of the “must-have” list, particularly when there are so many cheaper, faster, and convenient options available. However, sustaining your body with the brain foods it needs and finding the key to academic success can be found right in your kitchen.
Best Brain Munchies
So when we think best brain foods for exams, what are the brain food snacks you should be stocking up on? Dr. Lisa Mosconi, author of Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power recommends keeping a steady diet of dark leafy greens such as kale or spinach, berries, extra virgin olive oil and flaxseed oil, raw cacao, water, and caviar in your meal lineup to keep your brain performing at top levels. Most of these items are relatively economical, can be found at your local grocer and can be afforded on even the most modest of budgets.
Don’t be turned off by the foods that may have you spending like royalty on a pauper’s salary! Looking at you, caviar. There are many healthy brain food alternatives that can easily fit within your budget while still providing your brain with the nutrition it needs. Look for foods that are full of antioxidants, healthy fats and oils, vitamins, and minerals to keep that brain moving.
Better Brain, Better You
A diet rich in nutrients and antioxidants has been linked to higher quality of sleep, heightened concentration, improved cognitive functions, enhanced mood, and overall stronger body functions. If all it takes is a delicious salmon and kale salad topped with extra virgin olive oil, washed down with a crisp glass of water and a dessert of raw cacao and berries to have you feeling and performing at your best, it kind of seems like a no brainer.
But don’t just read about it. Try it for yourself. Eat up and see how properly fueling your body changes your brain and improves your performance!