When cramming for finals, it is easy to grab the nearby bag of Dorritos, the last can of Redbull or to finish off the bag of Oreoes. None of these are nearly considered brain foods, although, convenience tops the list of priorities when surrounded by stacks of books and binders full of notes. However, there are a few brain foods out there that are not only beneficial to the brain; they are also cheaper than junk foods. When students finally walk into the exam room, they are not only prepared by all the late nights of studying, but their brain will be just as ready.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
People have been nagged by that advice since grade school. The vital meal will give people the best boost for that long exam. Eggs are one of the best things to start the day off with. Not only do they provide 10 percent of the daily recommended protein, but a nutrient called choline is found in them. Choline is a memory booster.
If one does not find time to stop by Lawrence before an early exam, students can still get a square breakfast without picking up a sugary Pop-tart.
Bananas are a great breakfast food, or anytime snack. This fruit that contains natural sugars and fiber slowly releases energy to keep one going. Along with bananas, berries are the best fruit one can incorporate into a meal. One of West Chester’s own nutrition professors, Dr. Mary Beth Gilboy, gives some advice.
“Colorful fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals and are easy to add to your meals,” said Gilboy. “Carry in your bag for snacks throughout the day.”
Along with frequent snacking, it is better to avoid large meals that can weigh a person down, and make one feel sluggish.
“To fuel your brain to perform at its best, keep up your energy level by eating smaller meals at regular intervals,” said Gilboy. Small meals also help to avoid temptation of junk food.
Although studying can get tiresome, it is best to stay away from quarts of coffee, or six packs of Redbull. Caffeine will make you feel jittery and actually increase stress. Even though, two cups of caffeine is considered okay, and coffee can actually improve short term memory.
However, energy drinks and soda can damage brain cells from high glucose levels. Instead, drink a lot of water, which will metabolize stress hormones. But if you want something a little more flavorful, green tea will do the trick. It contains the same powerful antioxidants as berries.
Students should not try to eat their day’s nutrition in multi-vitamins, although vitamins will make up for what ones diet may lack. Vitamin C is better in a fruit than it is in a pill.
When an exam time finally comes, one nutriment can come with a student, peppermint. The scent of peppermint helps to focus, whether it is gum, a mint or some peppermint tea. It also boosts memory.
Before one begins to figure out their study schedule, take some time to plan a diet for the week as well.
“Plan ahead, and stock up on your favorite fruits and vegetables like clementines, carrots and apples, and do not forget the dried cranberries and blueberries,” Dr. Gilboy said.
As students hit the books in the next upcoming week, do not forget to load up on some brain food to get the most out of ones final exams this semester.
Lauren Gerba is a first-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at LG688551@wcupa.edu.