Five Foods to Fuel Your Brain for Finals Week

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Finals week is coming up and while that means alternate sessions of studying and crying, it

could also mean stress-eating. A lot of times we overeat to feel better when we are stressed.

Foods high in carbohydrates and fats release dopamine which can make us feel better… until we don’t. Instead of reaching for sweets and fried foods in between study sessions, use food to fuel your brain. There are many studies that link different foods to brain health and prove that snacking and studying can go hand-in-hand when implemented healthily. These snack ideas are perfect for studying when you need a little boost to get your head in the game.

A is for Avocado: Roughly 75% of an avocado is made up of monounsaturated fat. The fat found in avocados is helpful for producing neurotransmitters that help with memory and brain function. They also contain a variety of vitamins that aid in brain functions, as well as contribute to the synthesis of hormones that boosts motivation and focus.

Snack idea: top a slice of whole grain bread with avocado and a bit of salt and pepper. (Better Buzz has a great avocado toast!) If you are looking for a low carb option, cutting an avocado in half and eating it with a spoon is never a bad idea. Berry Smart: Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and any other berry are packed with antioxidants. A special group of antioxidants found in berries are called flavonoids. Flavonoids help the brain fight against oxidative damage and enhance cognitive functioning. Keep berries on hand when you want something sweet and refreshing.

Going Nuts?: Nuts are full of proteins, mineral, and healthy fats that are good for your brain. Nuts are a rich source of B vitamins which are important for processing involving neurons. Walnuts are especially good for the brain because they have a polyphenol that keeps the brain from becoming inflamed. There are even studies linking walnuts to improved learning and memory recall.

EGGcellent Grades: Start your morning off with eggs and have improved brain function for the rest of the day. Eggs are one of the most complete forms of protein and also contain many vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Eggs contain the nutrient choline which is necessary for the synthesis of acetylcholine; the neurotransmitter that positively affects memory and learning.

D’s Get Degrees: And D in this case is for dark chocolate. It’s true this food that tastes good can also be good for you, too! Dark chocolate is full of many minerals that can cause a variety of reactions from feeling good to enhancing focus. The presence of cortisol which has been named the stress hormone blocks the ability to learn and recollect. Dark chocolate can reduce the levels of cortisol which make you feel less stressed. Not only will dark chocolate reduce stress, but it will also increase the production of endorphins that increase happiness.

Super Snack 1: Make this as a snack for studying or start you day off with it for brain power all day long. Scramble one or two eggs and place it on top of a slice of whole grain bread along with some avocado. Enjoy with a side of berries.

Super Snack 2: A great study snack to keep with you is trail mix. However, a lot of prepackaged trail mixes include chocolate and dried fruits which are packed with artificial sweeteners. For a healthier alternative, make your own with your favorite nuts, (don’t forget the walnuts), add in sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds. For even more of a brain boost, add dark chocolate chips and dried berries without any added sugar in them. Make up a big bag you can keep with you all of finals week so you always have a healthy snack to reach for.

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