I was recently asked by Mont Rose College of Management & Sciences to create a resource for their students about how to eat better for studying.
( If you have problems concentrating this article is for you. It doesn't have to be so hard! )
As I was writing, I realised that we could ALL do with tips on how to eat for better concentration and memory – whether it’s to focus on your work at the office, help teach your kids new things, memorise Bible verses (as I have been trying to do lately!) or concentrate during an important meeting.
My tips for eating better to boost your brain power.
Studying or working in an office can be hard.
Sitting down and concentrating for hours at a time requires discipline and focus, as well as a degree of energy and enthusiasm. Although we may not think so because it doesn’t involve strenuous physical activity – reading, researching, e-mailing, evaluating and writing are all the highest and most advanced types of bodily activity.
If we are to really succeed in the area of our work and studies, we must treat it more like athletic training for a sporting event. If you are training for a marathon, you become very mindful about the amount of sleep you are getting and what you eat and drink, in order to give yourself the best chance of doing well and preventing yourself from crashing and burning. Similarly, we need to fuel ourselves properly to facilitate effective and efficient periods of study.
Let’s look at some foods that can really help you improve your study skills..
.. particularly memory, retention and concentration.
1. Good Fats
Your brain requires the most energy of all your body parts and organs and it requires even more when you are studying. It runs exclusively on glucose, (unless you’re lucky enough to be in ketosis). Your bloodstream will deliver a constant supply of this precious fuel when you lower your carbs to less than 25g per day, obligating your liver to produce ketones.
Some great high-fat snacks you can eat before or during a period of study are eggs, raw goat or sheep’s cheese, almond butter, whole milk Greek yoghurt or a keto green smoothie, which delivers alkalizing minerals to your brain too. It's great for overall health, fat loss, clear skin and healing of minor and major illnesses and diseases.
Here’s my easy and delicious ‘Activator’ Green Smoothie Recipe.
Blueberries are great brain fuel! They specifically help with memory retention. The flavonoids in blueberries help to improve the communication between neurons, improving memory, learning, and all cognitive function, including reasoning, decision making, verbal comprehension, and numerical ability.
- A study carried out in the College of Medicine at University of Cincinnati found that people who drank blueberry juice every day for two months significantly improved their performance in learning and memory tests.
3. Whole Grains (not keto)
It’s great to include grains like brown rice, quinoa, millet, and bulgur wheat into your daily meals. You can grab these from your local, health food shop or online cheaply and in bulk. They are wonderfully rich in complex carbohydrates, fibre, B vitamins and some omega 3 fatty acids that enhance brain-power and general good blood flow and mood.
Throw some brown rice together with some vegetables like mushrooms, peas, broccoli and red pepper, add a vegetable stock cube and some spices like cumin and turmeric and you’ve got a quick, easy, delicious and brain-boosting meal.
4. Dark Chocolate
Good news forchocoholics! The flavinols in chocolate help improve blood vessel function, which in turn improves cognitive function and memory. Dark chocolate also improves mood, can ease pain, and is full of antioxidants, which are great for anti-aging and helping to prevent cancer.
One study of healthy volunteers showed that 5 days of consuming high-flavinol cocoa improved blood flow to the brain significantly.
5. Bananas (not keto)
Forget Macas. Bananas are the ultimate fast food.
If you’re in a hurry, grab a banana to eat on the go. Not only are they sweet, tasty, cheap and nutritious but they have also been shown to boost concentration.
A 2008 study found that students who ate a banana before an exam did better than those who didn’t. Bananas contain potassium, an essential mineral that plays a key part in keeping your brain, nerves, and heart in great working order.
6. Popeye's Secret.
Spinach is known as brain food because it contains lutein, folate, and beta-carotene. These have been linked with prevention of dementia and increasing brain functioning and concentration.
Include spinach in a big leafy green salad with tomatoes, peppers, herbs and a handful of walnuts with a balsamic vinegar dressing. Or you could try my Activator Green Smoothie Recipe (see above link).
Ok, it’s not a food but still a vitally important part of your diet. Hydration is often overlooked by students. Keeping your brain hydrated is crucial in making sure you are able to study well.
Cut back on sodas, alcohol and coffee and opt for what your brain needs most – H2O. Make sure you are drinking at the very least, 2 litres of fresh, alkaline uncontaminated, fluoride and chlorine-free water every day and more when exercising.
Some Great Brain-Boosting Recipes
For a great way of eating and recipes that help to boost brain power, concentration and memory, as well as keeping you lean and energised throughout the day, check out Laura's new book, The Alkaline 5 Diet, which show you how to eat 5 delicious meal types per day that are very affordable and quick and easy to prepare.