Have you been feeding your brain lately? If you’re looking to learn how to study more efficiently or improve your mental alertness in order to achieve better grades, you may have tried all kinds of different study techniques. But did you know that simply choosing foods that fuel the brain can have a significant effect on your academic performance?
It’s true—eating certain foods can improve your ability to focus, retain information, and remain mentally alert in order to get you through the most grueling of study sessions. Want to learn more? Read on for information about the top ten brain foods that not only fill your belly, but feed your brain as well, enabling you to get better grades.
How can eating fish lead to better grades? The answer lies in the high concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids found in most fish. These fatty acids are essential to proper neural function. Most of our brain is made up of fatty tissue, so it makes sense that eating fish and other foods high in fatty acids would help us focus more and learn how to study more efficiently. According to several studies reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating fish regularly can also reduce your risk of dementia as you get older, another indication of its impact on brain health.
Want to know how to study better? Go nuts! Like fish, many types of nuts such as almonds, pistachios, and walnuts contain high levels of essential fatty acids that help your brain to perform optimally. As an added benefit, nuts contain a good amount of iron and also provide oxygen to the brain which increases your mental alertness and ability to retain information. A minimum of one ounce of nuts per day is recommended for optimal brain health. Since nuts are high in unsaturated fat (aka the “good” fat) and calories, they make great sources of energy as well. Sounds like a perfect recipe for better grades!
3. Whole Grains
Eating lots of refined carbs like white bread and pasta is not only bad for your physical health, but it also leads to sleepiness, lethargy, and mental dullness. Luckily, whole grains tend to have the opposite effect and can lead to enhanced memory function and even better grades. Chow down on whole grain breads, crackers, and pasta while you study for a quick energy boost.
Apparently, an apple a day not only keeps the doctor away, but can also help you improve your study habits and academic performance as well. The peel of the apple includes a powerful antioxidant called quercetin that enhances memory function. Combine your daily apple with a plan for how to study effectively, and you can look forward to receiving better grades on your next report card.
5. Cruciferous Vegetables
In case you’re a bit rusty on your vocabulary, “cruciferous” vegetables make up a family of vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and bok choy. A long-term study conducted by Harvard Medical School revealed that these type vegetables had the most positive effect on memory retention, meaning they are the most likely to help you achieve better grades. Eating these vegetables raw is the best way to get the optimal nutritional benefit, since cooking them often cooks out the nutrients your body and your brain need most.
6. Dark Chocolate
Not just any variety will do, but a certain type of chocolate – dark chocolate – can feed the brain, not only by improving memory, but also by increasing blood flow to the brain, increasing alertness and clarity. The darker the chocolate, the more benefits your brain will receive.
Spinach definitely doesn’t top the list of popular vegetables, but it does make the cut when it comes to foods proven to boost brain power, and that could mean better grades for you. Spinach is chock full of folic acid and has even been shown to reverse memory loss. If you don’t like the taste of this dark green stuff, you can always use it in a recipe such as a quiche or smoothie to mask the flavor.
Here’s a quick solution for the problem of how to study better—pop a handful of colorful berries in your mouth as you prepare for your next test or exam. Colorful berries such as blueberries, cherries, black currants, raspberries, cranberries, blackberries, gooseberries, and even grapes have significant health effects directly related to brain function. Not only do these flavorful snacks reduce the level of toxins in your bloodstream, but they also contain phytonutrients and antioxidants that improve blood flow to the brain and enhance neural activity as well.
Think eating beans can’t possibly lead to better grades? Think again. “Magic” beans such as chickpeas, kidney beans, and lentils contain substantial amounts of protein which power the brain and make studying a breeze. In addition, legumes of all varieties contain high concentrations of folic acid which improves your ability to recall information.
In Eastern culture, onions have long been revered for their ability to improve important brain functions like memory and focus. Red onions in particular can help you achieve better grades, especially when combined with a program that teaches you how to study better using memory-boosting strategies. The compounds in onions, namely anthocyanin and quercetin, have even been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Adding these ten foods to your diet is a simple and effective way to supercharge your study sessions in your effort to get better grades, but don’t stop there. Eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated and paying attention to your overall nutrition is a great way to complement your study habits. By eating right, you’ll be more likely to remain alert, focused, and energized while you study. So, if you really want to know how to study properly and retain more information than ever before, start feeding your body and your brain the foods they crave.
About the Authors: Study and life skills experts Rick and Teena Kamal founded EduNova to prepare students to lead and thrive in the global economy. They worked with 33 top university education experts and many successful senior executives to produce resources that empower middle school, high school and college students to succeed. Learn more at www.HowToStudyBest.com.