While you are preparing and completing your college applications, it is important that you also maintain the health of not only your body but also your most valuable asset - your brain.
Your brain is an energy-intensive organ that utilizes approximately twenty percent of your body's calories. And as such, it necessary that you provide a balanced diet of good foods to properly sustain your ability to pay attention and function throughout the day.
With standardized tests, high school classes, extracurriculars, and volunteer work exercising the brain's ability to operate, it is even more vital that students remember to feed themselves adequately.
In order for your brain to stay healthy, it requires specific nutrients.
For some starting points, think of Omega-3 fatty acids that help construct and mend your brain cells. Or perhaps antioxidants that aid in decreasing cellular stress and inflammation, both that is connected back to the aging of brains and degenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease.
If you are interested in learning on the best foods that will increase your brain's health and functionality, see the list below of food along with the scientific evidence on how they enhance the brain and neurocognitive operations.
They are in no specific order, but let's start with one of my favorites: c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e.
Dark chocolate is comprised of cocoa, also known as cacao.
Cacao contains flavonoids, a form of antioxidant. Antioxidants are beneficial to all because they improve brain health, as mentioned previously above.
In particular, a student's brain is susceptible to oxidative stress - an imbalance between the free radical and antioxidants within one's body. Oxidative stress contributes to any potentially age-related cognitive deterioration or neurological diseases.
The cacao within dark chocolate has shown to be beneficial to the brain, according to a 2013 British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study, where cacao was shown to have supported neuron and blood vessel retention inside areas of the brain involving memory and learning. It was furthermore demonstrated as a stimulate for blood flow within the brain.
Don't believe in the wonders of dark chocolate for your brain yet? There is additional research on how snails were able to reverse recollection loss and complications through the flavonoids within chocolate. The 2018 study was published in the FASEB Journal.
This has yet to be verified for humans specifically but provides an opportunity to understand the strong advantages of dark chocolate.
If this isn't convincing enough, there was another research conducted in the same year supporting brain-boosting impacts of dark chocolate. The researchers were able to utilize an imaging procedure that allowed them to observe the activity in participants' brains after chocolate consumption of at least seventy-percent cacao. The final results determined that eating dark chocolate can possibly strengthen brain resilience - a pivotal component of learning.
If you are looking for a sweet alternative to snack on while studying for your SAT, ACT, or other standardized testing, take a bite out of some dark chocolate.
In recent years, the love and fascination with putting avocadoes in food have increased. Many put the go-to ingredient for guacamoles dips and are now incorporating the produce into salads, smoothies, and more.
Avocadoes are a great source of unsaturated fat, which may essentially diminish your blood pressure. Individuals with high blood pressure have been linked to cognitive deterioration. Consumption of monosaturated fats may lower blood pressure, and as a result, avocadoes are favorite for improving brain functionality.
They offer approximately twenty vitamins and minerals within every serving and contain fiber, which aids in making you feel full for a longer duration.
According to a released study by the Center for Nutrition Research at Illinois Institute of Technology, titled “Using the Avocado to Test the Satiety Effects of a Fat-Fiber Combination in Place of Carbohydrate Energy in a Breakfast Meal in Overweight and Obese Men and Women: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” meals that incorporate fresh avocadoes as a replacement for carbohydrates can substantially subdue appetites and enhance food satisfaction without calculating additions or subtractions to your calories.
Not only will avocadoes help in satiating your hunger when studying for school, but you will also be supporting a healthy blood flow for your brain. Note that avocadoes are high in calories, so 7EDU suggests adding either 1/4 or 1/2 of an avocado to one of your daily meals.
Nuts and Seeds
You may have probably guessed the next food that will improve your brain health and memory.
Nuts and seeds are foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. As stated earlier in the blog, Omega-3 fatty acids repair and build your brain cells.
In a study conducted in May 2014, people who had a comprehensively higher consumption of nuts demonstrated improved brain operation and functionality in later years of their lives.
Walnuts especially contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a foundational and essential Omega-3 fatty acid that encourages brain performance. DHA has been proven to defend brain health in newborn babies, strengthen cerebral performance in adults, and substantially hinder or alleviate cognitive impairment.
If you consume just a quarter cup of walnuts, you will be receiving almost 100% of the recommended daily intake of DHA.
Be sure to bring along some nuts or seeds on your next outdoor extracurriculars are school, you can never start too early with brain development and maintenance!
Similar to dark chocolate, berries include flavonoid antioxidants. In particular, berries contain a compound of antioxidants of anthocyanin, caffeic acid, catechin, and quercetin.
Students should consume berries to keep their memorization sharp and increase brain operationality.
Researcher of USDA-AR Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Marshall Miller, states
"In addition to their now well-known antioxidant effects, dietary supplementation with berry fruits has direct effects on brains."
It has long been demonstrated that eating berries provide advantageous impacts on the human mind involving inflammation and cellular death. Research and studies that support berry consumption moreover may delay or prevent age-related brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
Blueberries, an all-American's fruit that tastes absolutely delicious in hot oatmeal or an afternoon snack, are a strong weapon in the battle of age-degenerative diseases.
As they are a phytonutrient, blueberries improve communication between your brain cells and postpone cerebral decline while strengthening and preserving the health of your brain.
Grab a cup and consume some berries to ensure the longevity of your brain memorization and functionality!
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