4 Brain Foods to Eat Before Finals


Sydney Young, Staff Writer

No matter how late you stay up staring at your notes, or how endlessly you practice those equations, your hard work will never come full circle unless you address every component to make your brain work at its peak. Brain function is put to the test every day at school, so it’s integral that we have our brains running smoothly and efficiently. Here are some delicious foods to eat to power through that last week of finals.


  1. Salmon:

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are important parts of our diet, can be most easily found in salmon. This acid is important for cognitive functions, which are responsible for brain memory and performance. When choosing at the market, it’s usually best to go for wild salmon over farmed because they has been shown to contain more than three times the amount of saturated fats than wild salmon. Instead of helping your brain health, high intake of saturated fats (which are also found in butter and red meat) raises your cholesterol, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Salmon is a very versatile fish that can be found easily prepared in many different forms. Try putting some lox on your bagel for breakfast, making baked or pan-seared salmon, or simply having some salmon sushi.


  1. Nuts:

Nuts are a perfect snacking food that are cheap and tasty. It’s always better to keep your meals smaller with periods of snacking in between, because eating one big meal causes your body to release hormones that cause drowsiness. Being hungry at the same time also releases hormones that can keep you from focusing on the task at hand. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, and hazelnuts are all great for snacking. Eat them roasted and salted, in trail mix, or topped on salads. Almonds are especially great because they have been shown to improve memory, enhance problem solving skills, and increase attention. All these are integral skills needed to perform well on tests or tasks where you’re under pressure.


  1. Leafy greens:

Vitamin K, found in dark leafy greens, is essential for the formation of new neural pathways, which physically makes you able to learn new things. Leafy greens also contain vitamins B-6 and B-12, which help improve your memory and alertness. Though you can also find these vitamins in supplements, it’s usually recommended to try to get them directly from the natural source of food instead of from synthetic ingredients. Kale, spinach, and mustard greens are all great sources of these vitamins that are perfect as side dishes to accompany meals. Another easy method of eating kale if you don’t quite have a taste for its bitterness is to bake them in the oven until they’re dry, and then season them to make your own kale chips. Pre-cooked kale chips can also be found at places like Sprouts or Trader Joe’s.


  1. Avocado:

This creamy, dreamy fruit is packed full of nutritious fats great for creating a steady blood flow to your brain, leading to increased brain function. They have also been shown to lower your blood pressure, which is beneficial because a high blood pressure can lead to a decline in cognitive abilities. But careful, avocados do contain a high amount of calories, so make sure not to over do it in your servings. One of my favorite ways to eat avocado is on toast with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, but you can add them to almost anything. Salads, with chips, in sandwiches–the deliciously mouthwatering possibilities are endless…