Graduates & Students

Food for thought

With the long hours spent studying for exams we often forget about our diets, but certain brain foods can increase our concentration, memory or simply improve our mood! Here are some of the best foods to boost your revision.

Published: 27/03/2017

Broccoli

Your favourite green vegetable is a great source of Vitamin K and Choline. Vitamin K is known to enhance cognitive function and increase brainpower, while Choline has been found to improve memory – people who eat plenty of broccoli perform better on memory tests.

Broccoli also includes a sizeable serving of folic acid and studies suggest that a lack of folic acid can lead to depression, so eating plenty of broccoli could also keep you happy. Never underestimate the power of positive mental attitude!

Blueberries

Blueberries boost concentration and memory as they are full of antioxidants which stimulate the flow of blood and oxygen, effective in improving short term memory and protecting our brains from stress.

Another study, which involved feeding rats blueberries every day, led to a reversal of nerve cell damage. After eating their daily dose of berries, the rodents learned faster, had a better short-term memory and had improved balance and co-ordination. The humble blueberry is truly a superfood for your brain cells.

Dark chocolate

Good news, it’s not a fruit and veg! Cocoa can improve verbal fluency and cognitive function, while eating a daily portion of chocolate has been found to improve blood flow to the brain. However, before you grab the Mars Bar, chocolate with a higher concentration of cocoa (70% or more) is said to have better effects. So dark chocolate is officially guilt free. You’re welcome!

Oily fish

Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel or sardines, are packed full of essential fatty acids, Omega-3 being the most effective when it comes to brain health. Omega-3 is important for healthy brain function (as well as being good for the heart and joints). Oily fish also contains a sizeable portion of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which has also been found to boost neuron function in the brain.

According to University of Pittsburgh research, young adults who increased their Omega-3 intake over six months improved their scores on tests measuring working memory. ‘Mon the fish!

Whole grains

Like everything else in your body, the brain needs a steady stream of energy so it can concentrate and focus. This energy comes in the form of glucose in our blood, which can be found in whole grains with a low GI (glycaemic index). Opt for 'brown' wholegrain cereals, granary bread, rice and pasta to keep you mentally alert throughout the day.