Could What You Eat Improve Your Educational Performance?
March is National Nutrition Month, and while much of the focus is on losing weight, at NCU, we’re focused on healthy study foods. Research shows that what you eat can boost brainpower and memory, something from which all students could benefit.
So next time you’re cramming at 2:00 am, reach for one of our five favorite study foods:
- Blueberries: A study from Tufts University found that this low-calorie treat is a healthy study food, which can improve and delay short-term memory loss. Other studies have found that blueberries protect the brain from oxidative stress and significantly improve the learning ability of aging rats. Aim to get a cup of the berries a day by eating them plain, in a smoothie or sprinkled over Greek yogurt.
- Avocados: Finally, a good excuse for guacamole! Avocados are a close second to blueberries for a great study food. While it’s high in fat, because it is monounsaturated fat, it helps blood flow, which improves brain function and lowers blood pressure. Avocados are also rich in Vitamin K, B and C and have the highest protein of any fruit. Because of its high-fat content, it’s important not to go overboard- less is more-stick to ¼ or ½ of an avocado at a time.
- Salad: Make yourself a big salad for a pre-study meal. Start with dark leafy greens like chard, kale or spinach, which are shown to slow cognitive decline. Add in broccoli, which has vitamin K and choline to boost memory, beets, which bring natural nitrates that increase blood flow to the brain, and top with a small piece of omega-3 rich salmon that decreases brain fog.
- Walnuts: A recent study found just a few walnuts a day increases memory, concentration and cognitive processing speed. This healthy study food staple works because of its high antioxidant concentration, mix of vitamins, minerals and alpha-linolenic acid.
- Dark Chocolate: Many people like chocolate, and it is especially good for your brain. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and flavanols, which can improve energy, focus, concentration, memory and can help regulate moods. Again, moderation is key here. Aim for ½ to one ounce per day.
Keep these healthy choices in mind next time you need a snack to give you the boost to finish that study session, complete your research paper, or prepare to defend your diseration.