It’s almost exam time and you’re starting to stress. You’re making revision notes and going through previous exam papers. Your notebook is filled with questions to ask your educator, and your reference list is so long you already have a headache. It doesn’t have to be this way. What’s the one thing you haven’t considered? Nutrition!
During that exam crunch most of us are usually so focused on making revision notes and getting as much studying done as possible, we forget about nutrition. Like the rest of your body, the brain thrives on good food and a healthy diet. With the correct combination of food taken in the right amounts, your brain can be your new favourite study buddy. We’ve compiled a nutrition list that will help boost your IQ and improve your memory.
This is not a trick. Dark chocolate is generally considered a healthier alternative to regular chocolate, and studies have found that cocoa can actually help prevent cognitive decline and dementia. The large amounts of cocoa found in dark chocolate make is a great source of nutrition for your brain.
Everything that you’ve ever heard about the magic of fruit, is true. They are a great source of nutrition for the brain because of the natural sugars and energy they provide. Instead of buying that tempting bag of sweets or chips, go for a bag of blueberries, apples, blackcurrants or oranges –go bananas!
Peanuts, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecan nuts –the possibilities are endless. Nuts are rich in Vitamin E (a vitamin that helps delay memory loss) and essential fatty acids that provide your brain with better circulation and, ultimately, better health. Snack on these whilst studying and, if permitted, nibble them in the exam room too. Nuts are an excellent source of nutrition.
We know you were expecting this and we can almost feel your disappointment. When mom told you to eat your veggies, she knew what she was talking about. Vegetables are a great nutrition group for your brain and mind, with benefits like increased memory power and enhanced cognitive function. The darker the vegetable colour, the higher the concentration of nutrients. Some particularly nutritious veggies are: broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers.
The fatty acids found in fish have been proven to have the potential to improve communication between brain cells and, consequently, ensure better brain health. Fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (which include DHA). These acids are good for cognitive functions, the heart, joints, and general well-being. According to research from the University of Pittsburgh, adults under the age of 25 who increased their omega-3 intake over six months, improved their scores on tests measuring working memory.
If you want to enhance your memory and thinking skills, pumpkin seeds are a great nutrition source and your new best friend. Just a handful of these a day provides you with the recommended daily amount of zinc. Zinc plays a big role in the general health of the brain, and gives it just the right amount of energy to keep you alert for as long as you need to be.
Good nutrition doesn’t stop at what you eat. How much you eat, and how often, also play a role in how much your brain can take and how much information it can store. Instead of having three large meals a day that will slow you down mentally and physically, try having 5 or 6 smaller, well balanced meals. Meet daily vitamin and mineral requirements, eat at regular intervals, get enough sleep, and stay hydrated. Eat well and good luck!
By: Lonwabo Nodada
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