At the start of every semester, we always find ourselves making promises; usually along the lines of, “I’m going to do better academically” and, “I’m going to stick to a healthy diet plan.” And some how, some way, we find ourselves stretched to the very thinnest of threads at the end of the semester, scrambling to complete the work, filled with angst and frustration and too stressed to eat or think about what we are eating.
But what we eat and how many times we eat, is extremely important to our bodies and our brain. It may seem hard to grasp and it may seem challenging, but the answer to the problem is simple: EAT.
Eating every 2-3 hours is what keeps our metabolism running! Crazy, right? Yes, collegiettes, you must eat to lose weight. But, not only does this benefit your weight, it also benefits your brain. Try snacking on these 5 “brain foods.” Not only will you feel better, you’ll be able to think better. Mental clarity brings serenity!
Pecans: Dr. Oz and renowned neurologist Dr. Majid Fotuhi have shared this super food on his show. Pecans are a must in your diet for they have many benefits. According to researchers at Tufts University, 1 oz of pecans (dry roasted) contains 0.3 g of omega-3 fatty acid. According to researchers at Tufts, they also help prevent heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. They also play a role in improving mood and sharpening memory. You could find pecans available in Au Bon Pain (usually in a container with mixed nuts) or even at the salad bar as a side in Bits n’ Bytes.
Snack ideas: In keeping up with eating every 2-3 hours, count out a handful of pecans and zip-lock them into a baggie and stick ‘em in your bag—a quick easy way to stay prepared!
Blueberries: Blueberries are a great snack with many benefits. Blueberries contain fiber, which according to researchers at Tufts University, 1 cup of fresh blueberries, for example, contain 4 grams of fiber. In particular, they contain soluble fiber, which aids in lowering cholesterol and helps to slowly absorb glucose. Blueberries are rich in anti-oxidants and aid in helping in the loss of belly fat. According to womensfitness.net, blueberries even heal damaged brain cells and neuron tissues and can help keep your memory sharp.
Snack ideas: Grab a handful of blueberries in the Student Center along with your favorite Greek yogurt. (My suggestion: plain, non-fat, maybe even Chobani). Throw your blueberries in your yogurt and you’ve got your mix of protein (from the yogurt, of course) and anti-oxidant fill for the day!
Dark Chocolate: Who doesn’t love chocolate!? For all you chocolate lovers out there, dark chocolate is the way to go. The best part is: the health benefits. According to allchocolate.com, dark chocolate contains Theobromine, or the “cousin” of caffeine. It’s known to reduce coughing. Dark chocolate also contains caffeine, though not as much as coffee—a perfect pick-me up while you are at work! It also contains Phenylethylamine (PEA), the compound responsible for the wonderful feelings you receive when eating chocolate. It releases “feel-good” endorphins. In other words, dark chocolate is a great mood booster as well.
Snack ideas: Enjoy a dark chocolate Hershey bar you can purchase at the Student Center or even at Bits. I like to keep an “emergency chocolate” space in my bag with a little less then half of the bar in a little ziplock bag, storing the rest in the fridge to save for the week. Little cubes are the perfect 3:00 pickup me that beats 5-hour energy shots- so much healthier and happier.
Spinach: As little kids, we all dreaded eating our vegetables, but moving forward, thus learning of the health benefits, spinach is a must-have in your diet. According to researchers at Tufts University, ½ of cooked spinach contains 3 0.1 g of Omega-3 and 3 g of soluble fiber. Can’t beat those results!
Snack ideas: Next time around Bits n’ Bytes, I recommend you make your salad with spinach. The greener, the better! Try staying clear of iceberg lettuce and opt for your spinach leaves when making a salad in Bits or the Student Center.
Carrots: Carrots contain so many benefits; it’s just hard to pass up! According to Diana Herrington from care2.com, carrots are beneficial in that they help improve vision, are cancer fighting, anti-aging, a power antiseptic. Vitamin A, which is contained in carrots, can help keep your skin glowing radiantly and keep your teeth gleaming as well. Who knew a carrot stick would contain all these benefits?
Snack ideas: Instead of the container of gummy bears, look for the container of carrots that you can find primarily in Café on the Quad, Bits, or even the mini-cafe in CV Starr. A perfect in between snack to munch on!