10 Ultimate Brain Foods for Revision

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With exams and essay deadlines looming, revision can be tough at the best of times, but by encompassing these superfoods within your diet, you can really enhance your learning and brain power to get the most out of your study, as well as boost your performance in exams.

Walnuts

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If you want to improve your memory and boost your thinking power, walnuts are a good place to start. They have the highest level of omega-3 fatty acids in all nuts and protect the brain, enhancing the functioning of neurotransmitters, and consequently improving memory and cognitive skills.

As well as this, they improve the flow of oxygen and nutrients through blood vessels in the brain reducing stress and contain memory-protective vitamin B6 and magnesium. As a healthy revision snack, walnuts should be top of your list, just one-quarter of a cup, for example, provides 100% of the daily recommended value of plant-based omega-3 fats.

On top of this, studies have shown walnuts to help weight loss, induce sleep, prevent heart disease and prevent diabetes, as well as cancer.

Blueberries

Flavonoids protect the brain from free radicals which can harm healthy tissue (causing memory loss), thus blueberries can also protect you from age-related mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as cancer. During revision, to give your brain a boost have a snack on half a cup of blueberries.Blueberries are great for keeping your memory sharp, perfect for revision and going into exams. Flavonoids, antioxidant compounds in blueberries, play a key role in improving memory, learning and cognitive functions by interacting directly with aging neurons.

Wild Salmon

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If you’re looking for a healthy dinner during revision, how about salmon? The brain is made up of nearly 60% fat and requires essential fatty acids (omega-3s) to function to its best ability. Salmon is the perfect source of omega-3 fats and so a brilliant superfood to boost brain power. The omega-3 fatty acids also reduce inflammation and support increased blood flow to the brain, helping to reduce stress.

Salmon’s high vitamin B levels also work together to maintain optimal functioning of the brain and nervous system. In addition, salmon’s high DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) levels can help to prevent Alzheimer’s, as well as improving heart, joints and general health.

Broccoli

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Broccoli can be extremely beneficial for the brain due to a compound called choline. Choline spurs on growth of new brain cells and neural connections that are essential for a sharp memory. Broccoli also contains a mighty source of vitamin K, boosting cognitive function and brain power.

Additionally, broccoli includes folic acid, studies suggest that lack of folic acid can lead to depression, so eating broccoli can keep you in a good mood, needed to get the most out of revision. Add broccoli to a few meals a week to get the best result.

Dark Chocolate

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We all need a treat sometimes, and having something to work for makes revision much more productive. Why not swap those unhealthy treats and snacks for dark chocolate? It still tastes good, but has lots of health benefits also. The antioxidants within dark chocolate are beneficial for your whole body, as well as your brain.

High levels of flavonoids improve blood flow to the brain, developing concentration, response time and recall. It’s caffeine content also plays a vital role in maintaining mental acuity, enhancing revision focus. Studies have shown that dark chocolate can reduce your tiredness and mental draining, improving performance, especially in maths. So don’t feel guilty about treating yourself to some dark chocolate every now and then.

Green Tea

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Fancy a cuppa whilst your revising? Why not opt for green tea instead? Studies have shown that green tea extract increases the brain’s electrical connectivity which enhancing cognitive functions, as well as preventing/treating dementia and Parkinson’s. The small amount of caffeine mixed with amino acids creates a different type of stimulant to higher dosages of caffeine allowing your brain to function and focus at a higher level, consequently enhancing memory performance. Drinking two or three cups a day will really boost your brain power and engage you in your revision.

Sage

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Thinking of adding some herbs to your meal, why not add sage? Scientists have now proven that sage can boost memory power. Evidence also suggests that it may protect the brain from processes that lead to Alzheimer’s, protecting acetylcholine, a chemical messenger in the brain critical to memory. In addition to this, carnosic acid, an antioxidant in sage, can cross the blood-brain barrier to halt free radical damage in the brain, improving memory and recalling. Carnosic acid also increases our production of glutathione, an anti-aging antioxidant, that improves circulation to the brain preventing headaches and improving concentration – useful for revision.

Tomatoes

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Tomatoes can be used in a wide range of meals as well as a snack on their own. This fruit is packed with nutrition and an antioxidant named lycopene that strengthens cells, preventing attack from toxins. This aids towards protection of your health, from diseases of the heart and cancer.

As well as protecting the brain, enhancing memory and concentration. High source levels of potassium in tomatoes also helps to reduce high blood pressure, keeping you calm and focused for revision and exams.

Wholegrain

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Why not switch up your diet and make a change to whole grain foods? The brain receives energy from the glucose found in the bloodstream, a deficiency would thus lead to a decline in your concentration and focus. Eating foods like brown pasta, bread, rice and cereals provides you with greater levels of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, releasing glucose at a slower rate than other foods, enabling you to stay mentally alert, awake and focus for longer periods of time – perfect for those long and hard days of revision. Wholegrains also reduce the risk of heart disease, promoting cardiovascular health, which, in turn, promotes good flow to the organ system, including the brain.

Pumpkin seeds

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Small, pumpkin seeds are packed with nutritional goodness. Only one handful of pumpkin seeds a day provides you with your daily recommended allowance of zinc, vital in improving memory and thinking skills – a must for revision.

These seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids, known for improving mental health, developing memory and also promoting healthy brain development. On top of this, their containment of magnesium has a calming effect on the brain, making these seeds the perfect food to de-stress you in revision. The best thing is they can be added to almost any meal, as well as eaten as a snack.

These 10 superfoods are perfect for helping you get the most out of your revision, and enhancing your performance in exams, however do not rely on just eating these foods to do well. Make sure you maintain a balanced diet, drink lots of water, and exercise to uphold your health and brain power. But most of all, revise hard, don’t just rely on food power to get you through those exams.

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History student and aspiring journalist

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