Food For Thought
Exam time is the most stressful period of the academic year, and for many deciding what they eat is less of a priority than hitting the revision books.
Revision time is precious for students, meaning nutrition often slides down the priority list. However, what you eat is as important as what you study, according to nutritionist Ruth Tongue, so the right nutrition from food can boost brainpower and prepare students for the mental marathon.
Nutritionist Ruth Tongue says: “Late nights and stress can play havoc on concentration and focus when cramming for exams, so it’s important to eat regular meals for basic brain fuel. A surprising amount of our favourite takeaway meals contain ingredients that can help boost brainpower and help aid learning at the same time.”
Check out Ruth’s guide to the best brain-boosting food and order your study fuel on Just Eat!
Eat meals rich in turmeric like Chicken Tikka Masala
Turmeric, the key spice in a Chicken Tikka Masala, is arguably one of the most powerful medicinal herbs on the planet. Studies have found that the compound curcumin in turmeric, could help increase the growth of brain cells by as much as 80%.
Get a boost with Fiorentina Pizza
Toppings on a Fiorentina pizza include folic acid-rich spinach and nutrient dense eggs. Keeping folic acid levels high with dark green leafy veg such as spinach can help avoid mental sluggishness. Similarly, olives, capers and anchovies found on a Napoletana pizza, contain high levels of polyphenols associated with increased cognitive function.
Whole grains and pulses like Indian Dal
The brain uses about 20% of the body’s total energy, so having a steady supply of energy will help boost concentration and focus. Whole-grains and pulses such as lentils have a low-GI, which help to stabilise blood sugar levels and provide a slow release of energy to the brain. Indian meals are packed with all the goodness of whole grain and pulses.
The importance of Egg Fried Rice
Eggs are one of the best protein-rich foods for improving memory, thanks to its yolk which contains essential nutrient choline. A recent study by Boston University tracked the eating habits of nearly 1,400 healthy adults for 10 years and found that choline intake correlated positively with better performance on certain types of memory tests. Making the Egg Fried Rice dish a real brain performance optimiser.
Add Omega-3 to your diet with a Salmon Teriyaki
Salmon is an oily fish packed full of the brain-friendly omega-3 fatty acids known as DHA. DHA is one of the main structural components of the brain and as such plays an essential role in learning and memory. Studies have also shown that people with high levels of DHA are less likely to suffer from depression. Salmon Teriyaki is packed full of Omega 3 fatty acids.
Get a lift with Falafel
The main ingredient found in falafels are chickpeas – not only are they a great source of protein and slow-releasing carbohydrates but they are also high in magnesium, which helps to speed up the rate at which messages are transmitted to the brain.
Chicken Burrito – with extra guacamole
Chicken is a source of the amino acid tryptophan which helps to produce serotonin. Higher levels of serotonin can improve learning, particularly when the brain is under stress such as at exam time. Guacamole, made using the humble avocado, is packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, which can increase blood flow around the body, including the brain, making the Chicken Burrito a learning feast.
Satay King Prawns
Prawns are a good source of protein, required by the brain to produce the neurotransmitters that transmit information to the brain – essential for revision. This is complimented by the satay sauce rich in peanuts, which are high in the brain-boosting antioxidant Vitamin E, crucial for neuronal health
About Ruth Tongue:
Ruth is an MSc qualified Nutritionist, health content specialist, online editor and Pilates teacher with a background in Sport and Exercise Science and dance. She has worked in the health and well-being industry for over ten years, providing health coaching and nutrition and fitness advice to a range of clients – from individuals, to magazines, a corporate audience, schools, athletes, footballers and fitness centres.