Top 10 brain foods for finals

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Brandee Lima

Donʻt skip a meal during finals, the food you eat could be the difference between a "B" and an "A."

Final Exams week is all about staying up late and studying. A lot of people forgo meals to cram a semester-full of information into their brain. This is the worst thing you could do. There is food that specifically aims at helping your brain think better and faster, and this doesn’t include energy drinks and fast food.The most important thing is to eat regularly and in moderation. Here are a few things to munch on during a college studentʻs most stressful week.

10. Make sure to start the day off with breakfast. The fifteen minutes it takes to eat some oatmeal will save you hours of trying to decipher and memorize notes. Eating breakfast allows your brain to switch gears and refuel on glucose. Glucose, a simple sugar, is what provides your body energy and is the brain’s basic fuel. Oatmeal is rich in fiber, vitamins B, vitamins E, potassium and zinc which allows your brain and body to function optimally. Most importantly though, it has a low glycemic index, providing an even, perfect amount of glucose over a long period of time. This helps to energizing you without the crash.
9. Beans, deliver a steady amount of glucose to the brain. Since it can’t store the sugar, the brain depends on a constant delivery of fuel. Beans are also a great source for magnesium, potassium, protein, dietary fiber and folate. Magnesium helps your brain transmit messages while relaxing blood vessels, allowing more blood to flow to the brain. Folate is a B-vitamin that helps strengthen memory. All beans will help but the best are black beans, garbanzo beans and lentils. Hummus is made out of garbanzo beans, so eat it with some pita chips.

8. Sometimes it’s difficult to eat on the run. The best solution for this is fresh fruit. Here are two delicious fruits that are great for you. Blueberries are one of the greatest ways to get in your antioxidants. They pump you with these antioxidants and deliver a nice gradual dose of glucose. Blueberries also help to reduce stress and its effects. For a change of pace, they taste great frozen. Antioxidants improve memory, help your brain stay sharp and they keeps general cognitive functions running. Avocados are chock full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that promote healthy blood flow in the brain along with tons of folate, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E and copper. Go ahead and grab some chips and guacamole.

7. A small amount of caffeine helps your brain stay alert and helps relieve and prevent headaches. The best way to get this caffeine  is freshly brewed green tea. It gives you just enough energy without that jittery feeling. Green tea is packed with antioxidants, specifically one of the most important, Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). It also features L-theanine, an amino acid that increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain. The best time to drink your caffeine is the period between your breakfast and lunch.

6. Nuts and seeds are a great grab-and-go snack, with huge amounts of benefit for your brain. Walnuts and Pumpkin seeds are the the way to go, they’re chock full of Vitamin E, folate, melatonin, omega-3 fats and antioxidants. The also have a pretty good amount of protein and polyunsaturated fats. Melatonin helps adjust out your sleep schedule. So for those late-night study sessions, grab a cup of these nuts and seeds to help you stay up.

5. It’s sucks to eat the same thing over and over again. Here are a couple things to change the taste of your food. Honey is a great way to sweeten things up, like oatmeal or yogurt. Honey provides your brain with B-Vitamins, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and antioxidants. It is also great for preserving memory. Olive oil is a great salad dressing and bread dipper. It has monounsaturated fatty acids, which replaces saturated and trans fats, allowing blood to pump easier and flow to your brain. It also increases proteins that grow nerves and strengthens brain receptors.

4. Curry contains the curcumin spice. It is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. Curcumin is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, making it a promising neuroprotective agent in a wide range of neurological disorders. It is one of the leading treatments for Alzheimers. Curcumin has been shown to improve memory and stimulate the production of new brain cells. Throw in some red meat, such as beef, to add vitamin B12. It is vital for healthy brain function. People with low levels of vitamin B12 are more likely to have lower scores on cognitive tests and a reduction in brain size.

3. Salmon and Dark chocolate are two well-known superfoods. Salmon is exploding with omega-3 fats. This fatty acid plays a fundamental role in learning and cognition. Dark chocolate houses some of the most potent antioxidants ever discovered in nature along with several natural stimulants that can enhance focus and concentration.

2. The nutritional fire power in dark leafy greens is unrivaled. They provide the full spectrum of brain-protective nutrients, including a huge dose of vitamin C and vitamin A along with 18 essential nutrients. They are jam-packed with the antioxidant phytochemicals and some omega-3 fats as an added brain-health bonus. A great way to eat your greens, besides in a salad, is sauteed with butter. Butter helps to lower inflammation in the brain, which decreases the risk of headaches. It has beneficial fats that promote health in your brain and contains a great balance of omega-3 and omega-6.

1. Make sure to hydrate and drink a lot of water throughout the day. Water is really good for you.