We’ve all heard of so-called “brain food.”
Brain food should be healthy foods that stimulate your thinking, but I mainly use it as an excuse to eat during finals. When I started feeling sluggish after downing a bag of Skittles during my most recent study-a-thon, I decided to put down the bag of Sun Chps and look into what really constitutes “brain food.”
Here are the top 4 foods you should be eating to help stimulate your brain power in both the short and long term.
Fatty fish: Fish high in omega-3 fats, such as salmon, bluefin tuna, and anchovies can help your brain in multiple ways. A study in Finland determined that frequent fish eaters are less likely to be depressed than those that eat fish less frequently. Another study found that eating fish or seafood at least once a week can diminish your risk for developing dementia later on. This in no way means that you should pile your plate sky high with sardines in hope to avoid dementia. While fatty fish contain high levels of omega-3s, they also contain trace amounts of mercury which can actually cause harm to the body in large amounts. To get just the right level of omega-3s to stimulate that brain, look to eat about 2 to 3 servings of fish per week.
Blueberries: Blueberries, along with other fruits and vegetables, have been shown to decrease the onset of brain degeneration due to Alzheimer’s disease. Blueberries, due to their high phytochemical content, have also been linked to improved memory status and function. Although blueberries are one of the best, other fruits and vegetables with high antioxidant contents can be just as effective. Nosh on other (seasonal!) fruits and vegetables to get your daily dose.
Coffee: Everybody knows about the energy-boosting effects of caffeine. Caffeine is one of the quickest ways to give you a quick jolt of energy to get through studying, driving, or a long night. What makes coffee extra great, however, is it’s antioxidant content. Coffee is the single largest source of antioxidants in the American diet. Antioxidants, like those in blueberries, can improve memory and brain function. Just be sure that you don’t drink too much coffee as it can make you jittery and sleepless, which can actually decrease brain power. (Not to mention all that study time lost to frequent trips to the bathroom.)
Egg Yolks: This one is constantly moving on and off of nutrition’s s**t list. While egg yolks are infamous for having a high cholesterol content, they aren’t all bad. Egg yolks have the highest concentration of naturally-occurring choline, which can increase the function of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine works as a signal between the brain and the body so it can carry out nerve functions. It has also been linked to decreasing the onset of “senility” in subjects. Scramble a few eggs in the morning to get your fix.