‘Smart’ Foods

Trouble concentrating in history class?

Can’t remember the quadratic equation?

Want to boost your grades in chemistry?

Food is the answer!

Teenagers have a lot on their minds; grades, parents, friends, relationships, etc., so diet is probably not many people’s main concern. However, if what you eat can affect how well you’re doing in school, it’s worth thinking about, right?

Here is a list of 5 foods that help your brain to function, and avoid you saying:

Fish: improves memory, thinking ability and neuron functioning

Studies have shown that people whose diets include at least one portion of fish per week have better memory and thinking ability than those who do not eat enough or any fish. It also contains docosahexaenoic acid, which is important for normal functioning neurons in the brain.

Eggs: improve memory

Photo: Giphy

Eggs contain choline, which is a vitamin-like substance and is crucial for the production of memory cells in our brains. The more cells we have, the better our memory. However, eggs are also high in cholesterol so should be eaten in moderation.

Berries: improve memory control and brain activity

Photo: Giphy

Berries such as raspberries, strawberries, cranberries and blueberries contain antioxidants. Antioxidants are what the body uses to fight against free radicals, which are atoms or groups of atoms that are highly reactive and can cause chain reactions and cause major damage to cells – they can even lead to cancer and other diseases. Antioxidants react safely with these free radicals and stop the chain reactions. The body makes some antioxidants, but there are some types which our bodies can’t make, such as vitamin E and vitamin C, so these must be supplied in our diet. These vitamins are also found in the memory control part of the brain, and help keep the brain active. They also protect neurons, and it is thought that they reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s when you are older. Other foods containing antioxidants are avocado, sunflower seeds and nuts.

Dark green leafy vegetables: decrease neuron death

Dark green leafy vegetables contain folate, which lowers the levels of homocysteine (a type of amino acid) in your blood. Homocysteine triggers the death of neurons in the brain, and it is also thought that it can increase your risk for heart disease.

Neurons dying

Oatmeal for breakfast: improves memory

A study was done by Tufts University where school-aged children and teenagers were given a choice of oatmeal, other cereal, or no breakfast. Over several weeks, they tested their memory of maps. The results showed that the kids who ate oatmeal did significantly better than the rest. Many other studies have also shown that people who eat breakfast every morning do better academically than people who regularly skip the meal.

Photo: Giphy

However, the majority of breakfast-eaters don’t eat a good one. True, any breakfast is better then none, but a lot of people don’t realise that popular cereals like coco pops, cornflakes, cheerios and wheetabix are all high in sugar, as well as many others. Sugar is digested quickly and so results in a mid-morning energy crash. Good breakfasts should include protein and complex carbs, which are digested slowly. Vegetable omelette, toast, bananas and oatmeal are some good examples of healthy breakfast foods.

All of these foods help to boost your brain, but there is one other thing that is vital for a healthy, fully functioning brain: water.

Photo: Giphy

When you’re dehydrated, both your short-term and long-term memory are negatively affected and you can have trouble keeping your attention focused. Overnight you go hours without any intake of fluids, so when you wake up it is a good idea to make having a drink part of your morning routine if you want to have a productive day at school.

The information presented in this article does not necessarily reflect the views or beliefs of The Update. We are reporting either the facts or opinions held by third parties related to the subject of the article.

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