I am sure you know the saying, “You are what you eat”. In today’s world of fast food – and fast everything for that matter – all the processed foods that we commonly consume are so high in unhealthy fats, salt and preservatives and do little to support brain function and optimal academic performance.
These are some top 10 Superfoods for success leading up to exams:
High in healthy unsaturated fats, avo improves blood flow to the brain allowing brain signals to travel effectively and efficiently helping with memory recall when writing exams. Avo is a very versatile food that works well on toast, in a smoothie and delicious on a salad or even on pizza.
Your brains main source of energy is glucose from carbohydrates. Since your brain cannot store glucose like other muscles in your body, your brain needs a steady supply from your diet. Beans are a great source of long-lasting protein energy as they are slow to digest and generally packed full of goodness. Also very versatile and cost effective.
Packed full of antioxidants, blueberries can help sharpen your brain’s ability to send signals quickly and improve the capacity to store info. So these little treats will help when taking a test and while you are studying. Add them to your morning bowl of cereal or to a fruit smoothie. Woolies does a handy pack of frozen berries that you will find in the frozen foods section – add a handful to some yogurt for a nice refreshing, nutritious smoothie
Aren’t you glad to see chocolate on this list? Yes, chocolate can be healthy in moderation but it must be the dark, natural variety in order to be of benefit to your brain. Like blueberries, minimally processed cacao is full of antioxidants which can aid your brain function. Dark chocolate is a bit of an acquired taste, but so worth it for a guilt free treat.
Eggs are excellent memory boosting food. They have the nutrient choline inside their yolk which is important for the functioning of a specific brain chemical involved in memory recall. So get your exam day off to a good start with 1 or 2 scrambled, poached or boiled eggs for breakfast.
Just like beans, oats are slow to digest and provide the hardworking brain with a steady supply of energy and vitamins for improved function. Oatmeal is typically considered a breakfast food but it is also great for a delicious and energising snack or addition to a smoothie at any time of day. Just watch out for all the other ‘sweet’ ingredients that you so often find in oat based products that can cancel out all the good nutritional benefit. E.g. if you look closely at the ingredients of many oat based snack bars, you may be surprised to see that up to 50% of the product contains sugar based products.
This oily fish contains one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is essential for proper brain function, memory and recall. If your kids can’t face eating the fish, it’s worth it to purchase the capsules to supplement the diet of growing kids.
Spinach is rich in the vitamin folate which helps to maintain proper blood flow to the brain. Sneak a bit of spinach into your diet in a salad or even in a smoothie.
Nuts are great for your brain. High in both antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, these nuts boost energy and assist your ability to concentrate. Nuts are great sprinkled on breakfast, salads or enjoyed on their own as a snack – try and go for the raw variety over the roasted and salted options.
Yogurt is full of brain-friendly B vitamins that can help boost concentration. The calcium in yogurt helps brain signals travel more quickly and the protein in yogurt will help you stay full and prevent a growling tummy during exams.
Cultivate some good eating habits, you will feel better for it and your body will thank you.