Hoping to get As on your finals next week? Study skills and knowing the material is important, but don’t neglect your diet. Many experts believe that certain foods, when eaten in moderation, can improve test-taking performance.
Here is a look at seven tasty, affordable and accessible brain foods that we think could improve your cognitive abilities, along with instructions on how to maximize your consumption for top performance.
- Green Tea
On a chilly winter evening, green tea may sound inviting. It can also help your brain and keep you in a good mood due to its main ingredient, polyphenols, which earns high marks from Psychology Today. Just don’t indulge in too much tea or tea with too much sugar as it may cause you to crash. There are a number of places in and around campus to get your tea, including Brief Stop, 85°C, Starbucks and Titan Shops.
- Acai Berries
Popular for anti-aging and weight loss properties, acai berries can also help college students do better on their tests. The high antioxidant levels help blood flow to the brain, which in turn helps the brain perform better. An acai smoothie awaits you at Juice it Up, which has two locations on-campus (the Humanities Plaza and Titan Student Union).
A staple of every lunch I pack, bananas give you long-term energy, which is great for endurance if you have back-to-back finals or a long day at work followed by exams. Pick up a banana at the Gastronome on your way to class.
My favorite meat is also a great one for test-takers. Fish has omega-3s, which is essential to brain function. A little fish is also good for the heart and blood pressure, which might help keep you calm. Want something fishy to be part of your test experience? Try an albacore tuna sandwich from The Habit Burger Grill or enjoy Poke Express by Honda-Ya at 2504 E. Chapman Ave.
- Trail Mix
This is a very convenient and nutritious snack, with protein and a balanced mix of vitamins that help your immune system defend you from disease. Pick up a trail mix pack at Brief Stop, the Gastronome, LH Express, Titan Shops or any of the vending machines on campus and enjoy before your tests and during the breaks your professors give you.
It is a great breakfast routine and, due to the nutrient choline, helps with memory and cognitive performance. Mix it with some blueberries or nuts to have a very powerful combination. You can pick up oatmeal at the Brief Stop, Gastronome and Titan Shops, or at many retail stores off-campus.
- Dark Chocolate
It’s thrilling to hear that everyone’s favorite food is also great for brain power. Dark chocolate, when consumed in moderation, can help with focus and concentration due to flavonoids and caffeine. But it isn’t every chocolate that does the trick. Stick with 75% cocoa content or darker for the boost you need. Avoid mixing chocolate with coffee or tea, since too much caffeine can actually impair your performance. Inexpensive fine chocolates can be found at 99 Cents Only Stores and Dollar Tree, which both have locations near the corner of Chapman and State College. Or enjoy high-end delicacies at 85°C.