It’s easy to reach for those chocolate, potato chips, energy drinks or instant noodles when it’s 11pm and your tummy starts rumbling in the middle of your study session. But snacking on unhealthy food is not only harmful to your long-term health (and waistline), but it does nothing to fuel your brain. Here are 5 brain food recommendations that you probably already have available in your kitchen that you can snack on while studying to help provide you with a mental boost!
Who says you can’t have breakfast food at night? The ability to concentrate comes from a steady supply of glucose in our bloodstream to the brain, and a bowl of cereal with milk is great for achieving this. Be sure to opt for wholegrain cereal, as it releases glucose slowly, keeping you mentally focused and ensuring that your stomach will not go hungry in the midst of your revision.
I’m sure you have heard of fretting mothers making their kids drink ‘Essence of Fish’ before their PSLEs. Well, there is some truth to that! Fish, especially sardines and mackerels, are full omega 3 fatty oils, which cannot be made by our body. These fats are essential for healthy brain function, and they also aid in releasing serotonin, which helps in managing stress. An easy snack to make when you are studying is a sardine sandwich. Just pop open a can of sardines, eat them on some whole wheat bread, and you have a healthy snack that's going to power you through those hours of revising.
There are so many variety of nuts out there, you are sure to find one that you like. Whether cashews, macadamias, peanuts or pistachios; not only are they crunchy, salty, and a good source of protein, they are also proven to reduce stress levels. Just remember to take it easy on these addictive little things, you only need a handful or two to get your fix of protein, fibre and essential fats.
Potassium helps to keep oxygen levels normal and enhances brain functions by eliminating foggy thoughts. As one of the rare few food items to contain a high level of potassium, bananas are great snacks in ensuring your brain is able to work at its strongest capability. You definitely want that when you are studying. Bananas are also low in calories, delicious, and can give you an energy boost, since they contain fructose and healthy sugars that the body converts into energy.
If you like snacking on candy, a much better alternative in satisfying that sweet tooth is peanut butter. Candy is likely to cause a sharp spike in blood sugar levels, and then a crash that can leave your brain feeling lethargic. However, peanut butter releases sugar slowly, and this helps the brain to stay alert. One tablespoon full of peanut butter also has a lot of protein, which means a little goes a long way in keeping you full and alert for studying. Bonus: it does not expire very fast, so you can always keep a jar handy wherever you study in case you get hungry.
Now that you have some ideas for snacks which have positive effects on your brain, use it to your advantage when you are revising for your exams. Snack smart, and study hard!