Boost your exam success with brain food

Grilled salmon with spinach, lemon and thyme

The brain works better when you give it the best food for the job. We all know how good that sugar high feels but it the longer burning foods that will really help you get to the exam finishing line.

Pick a fishy dishy

Sardines, salmon, trout and mackerel are full of EPA and DHA, supercharged omega-3 fatty acids that bolster communication among brain cells and help regulate neurotransmitters responsible for mental focus. In the run up to exam time make sure you’re eating plenty of fish dishes such as creamy salmon pasta and grilled kippers to ensure your levels are up.

Go bananas for sugar

Bananas are great for those moments when you’re flagging and in need of a sugar boost. When you eat refined sugars, such as sweetened cereals and chocolate, your body quickly exhausts the carbohydrate, especially sucrose, leaving you lethargic and hungry. The dietary fibre in a banana slows the breakdown of its sugars (mainly fructose) into your bloodstream. Because your body uses fruit sugar more gradually than refined sugar, these potassium-packed beauties are a great and steady brain fuel.

Snack on seeds and nuts

They may be small but nuts and seeds pack a mighty nutritious punch. Just a handful of pumpkin seeds a day will give you your recommended daily amount of zinc, something you’ll need for enhancing your memory and cognitive skills. Keeping up your levels of vitamin E might help maintain cognitive health. Nuts are a great source of vitamin E, as are leafy green vegetables, asparagus, eggs and wholegrains, including brown rice and pasta.

Water

Sometimes all you need is a glass of water. It has been proven that a glass of water can make the brain work 14% faster. It has also been noted that children who drink water before a test can perform up to 33% better than those who don’t. Just one more percentage to throw at you: The brain is 73% water and the only way to keep it in peak condition is by keeping it topped up. Sparkling or straight up, there’s just no substitute. If you really need a smidgeon of taste simply squeeze a fresh orange or two and turn it into flavoured water.

Tell us works best for you and maybe we’ll feature your own smart food recipe.

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