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Food for Thought: Brain Foods for the Study Period

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

There’s no need for a drawn out, eloquently written introduction to set the tone … It’s time to cut to the chase and get down to business. Finals are here! And no matter how prepared you may feel, who couldn’t use an extra boost to help with those long study sessions to come? Preparing for finals can be as simple as snacking away on a few foods known to heighten memory and cognitive functioning. So check out these brain foods you should be consuming while studying for finals.

1. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds contain omega-3 and omega-6, making them a superfood with a calming effect on the brain. They are also known to possess anti-depressant properties by producing GABA, a neurotransmitter that produces a relaxing effect by blocking activating neurotransmitters, something we certainly need during this stressful time of year. Additionally, pumpkin seeds have been proven to assist in memory and thinking skills.

2. Yogurt

Care to be mentally alert? Yogurt is the answer. Amino acids in yogurt help produce neurotransmitters in the brain that results in heightened focus and alertness. A recent study conducted by UCLA also suggests that yogurt helps alleviate anxiety and stress by reducing activity in the emotional region of the brain. Perhaps this superfood will help keep you sane as your study load piles high.

3. Nuts

Cashews. Almonds. Walnuts. You name it! Nuts pack the vitamin E you’ll need to make it through study period. Studies show that vitamin E prevents cognitive decline by fighting memory loss. So when your mind draws a blank during that excruciating chem final…. you’re going to wish you had a bowl of nuts beside you as you crammed. Be sure to also give peanut butter a try. It’s known to manufacture neurotransmitters, chemicals needed for brain cells to communicate.

4. Berries

Who doesn’t love a good berry! They are yet another food that enhance memory function. Blueberries for instance are vital in delaying short-term memory loss. And let’s face it … you’re only attempting to retain your notes up until the final is over. In the long run, consuming berries can help preserve memory capacity as this ability declines with age.

5. Dark Chocolate

Supporting blood circulation in the brain, dark chocolate will make studying for finals all the more enjoyable. Even better, dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a chemical that encourages the brain to release endorphins. (Recall Legally Blond: “Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t!” Thank you Elle Woods, thank you!) We could all use an added dose of happiness while mundanely studying away.

6. Whole Grains

With your brain hard at work, it’s going to need energy. Whole grains will do the trick! Focusing for hours on end is going to require a sufficient amount of energy. The brain uses glucose as its fuel, which whole grains can certainly supply. This will allow you to concentrate as you get cracking during study period.

7. Green Tea and Water

With all of these superfoods you’ll be consuming, you’ll surely need your thirst quenched. Water and green tea will come in handy in your quest to improve your cognitive functioning. Water will prevent dehydration, which can impair short-term memory and green tea helps produce brain cells that enhance memory. So keep these beverages at your side.

For a complete list of brain boosting foods and their functions visit:


Summer is a Boston University graduate ('15) that received a BS in Journalism with a concentration in magazine journalism. Her interests include editorial design and lifestyle, fashion, and beauty content, as she aspires to be a fashion magazine writer and editor. She is currently a fashion and beauty writer for Bustle.com and previously served as a Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Boston University. Summer likes to think of herself as a lipstick enthusiast and smoothie connoisseur, so when she isn't writing for Bustle, you could probably find her sipping on a strawberry-banana smoothie and planning her next purchases at Sephora. Follow Summer on Twitter @SummerArlexis
Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.