Boosting your brain power

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University life is a cocktail of revision, hefty readings of endless explanations and theories and the occasional brisk jog to your seminar due to a slight miscommunication between you and your alarm clock. With tiredness a strong contender for your attention it is vital that you fill your body with the energy boost it needs to keep you awake during your lectures and seminars. Munching on a banana ten minutes before an exam might not produce the highest results you were hoping for, but it’s definitely a start.

It’s quite surprising the amount of foods that have scientifically been proven to help boost our brain power. As I’m sure, like myself, the majority of you aren’t scientists. It all seems very wordy and precise about how these foods are going to help us get that upper class degree we desire but my guess is that we should believe this science babble they have preaching for decades and stock up on some super-fruits.

Blueberries seem to pop up on a lot of the research associated with brain power and, according to  a university in America, improve short term memory loss, which is definitely a plus when attempting to tackle a last minute cramming session before an exam. These fruits are said to increase the number of cells in the part of our brain which is responsible for the memory.

Along with Blueberries, we have bananas and broccolis. Bananas are commonly known to be good brain food because of their high levels of potassium helping our brain to transmit messages faster and more effectively. Broccoli, although maybe not your favourite green, manages to enhance brain power and cognitive functions. Maybe we should replace snacking on Doritos with broccoli during our studies!? It should also be mentioned that tomatoes and pumpkin seeds are found to increase the healthiness of our brain too. Additionally tomatoes, in the long term, protect against damage to cells which tends to occur during dementia with the zinc in pumpkin seeds enhancing our memory and thinking skills too.

We can, however, benefit from a lack of shellfish, coffee, ice cream and artificial flavourings in food which have all earned themselves the title, bad brain food. Although shellfish isn’t at the top of most student’s diet, maybe it’s still worthwhile to mention the oceanic toxins and pollutants contained in shellfish are useless when trying to energise the brain. However, something that is popular with students is coffee. It might be keeping you awake to finish your essay but from a scientific point of view, it flushes out essential minerals in our brain such as potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Unfortunately, although it would probably be a unanimous wish that ice cream was healthy for our brain, the truth is that the saturated fat can begin to clog blood vessels and prevent the flow of nutrients and blood to our brain so be warned. Ben and Jerry may seem likes your best friends at the time but they definitely won’t be in the long run.

To avoid food damage to our brain, it is a good idea to avoid artificial flavourings, colourings and sweeteners as the whole ‘crash and burn effect’ is not great if you’re hoping to finish that essay. A similar effect can be shown with excessive amounts of meats such as pork and beef as they take longer to digest and therefore don’t help you stay alert consequently making you sleepy and longing for your bed before you’ve even finished your introduction.

Eating pumpkin seeds before you write your coursework might not enhance your thinking skills instantaneously, but it will definitely help prevent the sleepy head bop in lectures which is never a good look.