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Food for Thought: 5 Brain Foods to Help Your Finals Studying

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

Every month of December during finals week, students are put to the test of pulling our attention away from the infectious holiday festivity around the city and into our textbooks and notes.  Our brain is then further evaluated on how much information it can withhold in a week. We can only help ourselves by giving it enough nourishment it needs, in order to fuel this exhausting process. Here are some five food types that can help in enhancing memory and concentration during your studying.

1. Nuts: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts and even nut butters (unhydrogenated)

Conveniently, all these nuts are great natural sources of Vitamin E. Studies have shown that consumption of Vitamin E correlates with less cognitive degeneration during aging. Walnuts have especially been associated with improved memory and other cognitive functions. Weirdly, they even look like little human brains. You can easily purchase a large bag of assorted nut mix from Provigo or Metro and distribute them into little zip-lock bags to munch on at the library, or even during your exams.

2. Salmon

Lucky for us, we happen to be living in a country where fresh salmons are easily accessible in nearby grocery stores. These fishes are not only delicious, but also full of omega3-fatty acids. Our body is able to take this kind of fatty acids from a fish source easier than those from a plant source. Research has shown omega-3 fatty acids fortify the synapses, related to memory, in our brains. You can cook it according to your preference.

3. Spinach

Some of you may be cringing from the time your parents force-fed you these evil little green leafs. But turns out they aren’t so evil, they actually contain vitamins that contribute in making red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the brain, and folic acid that protects the neurons. Mix them in salads, omlettes, etc. 

4. Beans

Beans are also easily purchasable and can be found in cans or tofus in all grocery stores. It contains omega3-fatty acids and helps in providing a steady flow of glucose to our brains, which continually needs it as a fuel to function. 

5. Dark Chocolate

Now don’t get too excited. It’s still not healthy to have high blood sugars, nor ideal to have extreme sugar highs during your exams. However, moderate consumption can enhance mental concentration by its natural stimulants and relieve stress by its stimulation on endorphin production. A Harvard study also suggests dark chocolate is related to improved blood flow in the brain. Although these results are debatable, it requires no science to know that chocolate helps to temporarily boost our mood and fill that loneliness in our hearts, while melting so wonderfully in our mouth, all simultaneously.


Of course it’s impossible to be eating all of these every day, but at least try to incorporate some of them into your food groups and hopefully it will keep your brain strong and focused during this (soon to be over!) distressing week. Good luck!









Images obtained from: http://nutribulletblog.com/nuts-about-nuts/