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The food you eat has an enormous impact on your energy flow the entire day. If you start on junk, you’re going to feel groggy for the most part of your day. But when you start your day with a healthy balanced diet, not only will you stay alert, your mind will be focused. When preparing for exams, most students turn to unhealthy eating habits with the excuse of lack of time. Foods like energy drinks, crisps, chocolate, coffee, donuts, and French fries become their daily meals. While some may think that these foods keep their energy levels high, they are actually detrimental to their health. With that in mind, did you know certain foods can boost your brain function and improve memory? Turns out, eating specific types of foods can improve your exam performance. Eager to find out? Let’s jump right in.

How Does Food Affect Brain Function?

You’re probably wondering what food has got to do with improved performance? Well, for starters, a big meal of unhealthy diet on any day leaves you feeling fuzzy and exhausted. You try to study, but all your brain wants is to sleep. Your focus is down to zero, and you can’t seem to remember anything you read the last five minutes!

You see, the brain utilizes glucose to fuel cellular activities and that energy is derived from the foods you consume. Since the brain can’t store glucose, you have to up your levels daily. Eating the proper type of food provides the right fuel to keep your brain alert and focused. Feed it the wrong types of foods, and your concentration levels will drop drastically. That explains why on certain days you feel sad, irritable, have poor sleep, and experience difficulty in studying or solving problems.

Here are healthy food brains that you could try:

Dark Leafy Greens

All dark green vegetables are packed with natural nitrates and antioxidants. They are also rich in vitamins B6 and B12, which are associated with improving alertness and memory. Good examples of dark leafy greens include spinach, kale, chard, and broccoli.

Broccoli contains high levels of vitamin K, which is associated with better memory. Broccoli also contains several compounds that give it anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may help protect against brain damage.

Complex Carbohydrates

We mentioned earlier that your brain uses glucose for fuel. This glucose is derived from carbohydrates and sugar. While carbohydrates are the main source of energy, you need to choose the right carbs, such as wholegrain bread, rolled oats, barley, brown rice, corn, etc.

These have a low glycemic index and take longer to break down, hence providing your brain with a slow and steady drip of the much-needed glucose.

Up Your Protein Intake

Protein are the building blocks for muscles, hormones, bones, and the brain. There are many sources of protein, but you want to go for the most beneficial. Take oily fish like sardines, salmon, and mackerel, for example. They are packed with plenty of protein and omega 3, which is required for proper brain function.

The brain comprises about eight percent of omega-3 fats, and it’s recommended that we replenish it by eating omega-3 rich foods at least twice a week. Nuts, like walnuts, also contain omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats, which have been shown to improve cognition and prevent neurodegenerative diseases.

Eggs are one of the most abundantly available and healthiest food in the world. They are versatile too and can be eaten fried, boiled, or poached. Just one egg provides up to 6g of protein and vitamin B12, which helps convert glucose into energy. Plus, it has less than 100 calories, depending on your cooking style.

Fresh Fruits

Fresh fruits provide a natural sugar boost and are much healthier than chocolate bars. Darker fruits like blueberries are particularly rich in anthocyanins, which are believed to improve mental performance by increasing blood flow to the brain. This also protects your brain from inflammation and improves processes associated with cell production and cellular activities related to learning and memory. Other types of dark-colored berries include blackberries and strawberries.

Additionally, citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits are filled with flavonoids, such as naringin, hesperidin, rutin, and quercetin, which can promote learning and memory. So, instead of snacking on crisps and other unhealthy food choices, try pairing orange or grapefruit juices with mixed nuts for a more satisfying and healthy snack.

Green Tea

Caffeine, when taken in small amounts, can be beneficial to the brain. It helps you feel refreshed and improves your focus. However, over-drinking caffeine-rich beverages like coffee and energy drinks can impact your ability to focus.

Green tea is a healthier alternative to coffee for that caffeine boost. It also contains antioxidants and boosts your concentration.

Keep Hydrated

Most importantly, don’t forget to up your water intake. The brain is around 70 percent water and should stay hydrated for optimal functioning. Water helps to remove toxins and deliver nutrients to the brain. That’s why you need to take plenty of water when preparing for exams.

Brain foods can help you focus better and pass exams. Nutritionists say “You are what you eat.” So, indulge in these healthy brain foods not only for the short-term benefits of doing well in exams but also to optimize brain health and your overall health.

All images by Shutterstock

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