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Brain Foods: An Extra Boost for Finals

Brain Foods: An Extra Boost for Finals

By: Sofia C. Pablos-Aguirre & Christine Tellez, RD

Published February 26, 2014

Hey, Panthers! I think we all could agree that any little extra boost for finals is always welcome. So why not indulge in some healthy food that is also good for your brain? Here are ten food items that can help boost brain function, memory, and are good for you, too.

Blueberries

Blueberries are fruits that are rich in antioxidants named anthocyanins that increase mental function. Studies show that blueberries aid in improving memory function, prevent free radical damage and can also reverse age-related declines in cognitive function.

Flax Seeds

Flax seeds contain ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) are a vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids - which may help the cerebral cortex function better. The cerebral cortex is responsible for sensory information, and therefore extremely important.

Coffee

Coffee contains antioxidants called tannins and has been shown that drinking 2-3 cups of coffee a day is good for the brain. Coffee consumption is linked to lower rates of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. To keep calories low, it is important to choose plain coffee or coffee with low-fat milk instead of high-fat products such as whole milk, whip cream, flavor enhancers, etc.

Grapes
Grapes, much like blueberries,  are rich in antioxidants.  Grapes contain resveratrol, which not only can improve memory and slow the aging process, but can also help promote heart health.  Grape juice provides the same benefits, but limit consumption to 8 oz. a day.

Salmon

Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA, which is present in in the brain at the end of nerve endings and helps in memory function.  Additionally, low levels of DHA are linked to an increase rate of Alzheimer’s and other age-related cognitive disorders.

Walnuts

Walnuts are another vegetarian form of omega-3 fatty acids and studies have shown that they can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which has been linked with poor brain function and a decline in memory and other neurological diseases.  Try adding walnuts to cereal or eating them as a snack.  One serving of walnuts is about ¼ cup or 1 oz.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is rich in anti-oxidants called flavanols and helps improve focus and concentration. Remember to stick to small servings of dark chocolate—a little goes a long way. 

Source: Directory Journal