Brainfood: Boost your brain performance with these ingredients

Written by Christina Pichler, Nov 18, 2021

Is it challenging for you to concentrate for long periods of time? The slightest distraction takes your thoughts elsewhere and not even short studying sessions help you memorize? Don’t worry, you’re not alone with this. Quite a few people feel that way and explanations for this vary.

Most of the reasons have to do with our lifestyle. Lots of sitting, little movement. A lot of computer work, not enough fresh air. A lot of stress, not a lot of relaxation. All of this plays a major role in our ability to concentrate. As humans, we have a complex organism and our mood changes from day to day.

Some days we are bursting with energy and we could soak up all the information at once. But some days something is off and nothing seems to work out when it comes to studying. During exam periods you have to study a lot in a short period of time and can’t wait for the good days. Especially not on the day of the exam. But what can you do?

There’s a simple answer. Brain foods, also known as performance foods, are healthy foods that really get your grey cells going. Your diet is one of the most important foundations for your brain to function well and an additional guarantee for a positive mood. We have put together a list of foods that will help increase your mood.

However, we are not saying that brain foods make you smarter. Unfortunately, you cannot change our IQ with a good diet, but you can improve your brain’s performance and your mood! With the right ingredients and nutrients, both can really flourish.

A healthy diet is a boost for the human data center and your whole body will thank you if you provide it with a good nutrients. In addition to sufficient exercise and plenty of time outside, it is very important to pay attention to your diet.

Even if it saves time and is practical, stay away from frozen pizza, premade soups and so on. Here are your brain boosting nutrition tips for optimal brain performance, strong nerves and a good mood.

1. Nuts

A handful of nuts can go a long way. Nuts are a real classic among brain foods. Even a small portion of hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts provides you with valuable omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and important minerals such as magnesium, sodium and potassium.

Fun fact: Walnuts not only look like human brains, they are also the best antidote to fatigue, nervousness and calcification of cerebral vessels.

If you crack them open yourself, you can give your brain a break and eat each nut more consciously, since nuts are also little calorie bombs. Another advantage of nuts is that they are easy to carry and really easy to store.

Nevertheless, they are suitable as healthy snacks in between meals. As a snack, they are far healthier than fatty potato chips, but they crunch just as wonderfully in your mouth.

2. Raisins

Once reserved for high society, raisins have become an indispensable ingredient in all kinds of desserts. Together with nuts, they form the main components of the famous trail mix that perks up tired students. Unless you have a strong aversion to the cute little things.

Granted, raisins, also called sultanas, are not for everyone, but they are pure energy suppliers. This is due to the high dose of fructose, which supplies the body with energy. A constant blood sugar level is important for the brain.

Divided into small portions, raisins are an ideal energy booster. When nibbled in the morning, raisins reduce cravings for sweets throughout the day. Thanks to the flavonoids and antioxidants they contain, raisins are said to boost memory.

3. Green vegetables

Iron, calcium and magnesium are among the most important minerals and are found, for example, in green vegetables such as broccoli or spinach. At the same time, green vegetables contain a large portion of vitamin A, which is important for the functioning of our brain and nervous system.

Every now and then, preparing an easily digestible dinner with gently steamed green vegetables not only contributes to a sporty figure, but also supports your brain to work perfectly.On hot summer evenings, a quick salad with mixed green vegetables is an ideal dinner.

The next time you’re juicing fruit or making smoothies, we have a particularly healthy tip for you: Add a few spinach leaves, cucumber or herbs to your fruity smoothie. It will have a pleasantly tart note in addition to the valuable ingredients and the great green color. Small (!) servings of kale or salad are also ideal for smoothies. Green smoothies are very popular right now and it is clear why. Not only do they taste great, but they can also have a positive effect on your brain performance.

4. Pears

They are wonderfully juicy and sweet and have a long harvest season. Even though there are many types of pears, they all have something in common: Pears are real brain activators and at the same time low in calories. In addition to all possible minerals and trace elements, one pear covers seven percent of our daily vitamin C needs.

Wash it well and eat it with the skin on because most vitamins are in the peel. Overall, pears have less acidity than apples and are therefore suitable for people who have to be careful around acidic foods.

Also you will be happier with pears because they promote the production of happy hormones such as serotonin. This makes it easier to cope with the stress of exams or the next deadline.

5. Berries

Whether freshly picked strawberries from the field, blackberries from the supermarket or blueberries harvested on the edge of a forest. The small berries are secret weapons for our health and especially good for our brain because they contain many antioxidants. These protect us from so-called free radicals, which are an intermediate product of our metabolism. Free radicals can lead to oxidative stress, the disruption of cell function and metabolic processes in our body. They can cause many diseases. Our nervous system and brain are also exposed to the influence of free radicals on a daily basis. Hence, it is important to consume antioxidants as a counterbalance.

Snacking on berries supports signal transmission in the brain and counteracts memory loss. Therefore, you shouldn’t underestimate berries as a fitness stimulator. They are beneficial to our health and definitely deserve a place on our brain food list.

Bonus: Isn’t it fantastic when healthy food also tastes so good?

6. Avocados

From a botanical standpoint, avocados are also (very large) berries. The popular fruit of the avocado tree started as a trend on menus in hipster cafés or in the spicy guacamole in Mexican restaurants. Now avocados have taken a firm place in many student kitchens. The avocado is so beautifully uncomplicated and healthy at the same time.

It is rich in valuable vegetable fats, a real source of energy and contains a large amount of lecithin, which benefits our short-term memory. This makes them a popular upgrade for quick meals. Meal preparation often has to be quick, especially during stressful exam periods. As a creamy spread, a tasty highlight in fresh salads or as a basis for vegan desserts, the avocado is somehow an all-rounder, even in the brain food category.

7. Chia seeds

We have already talked about the positive effects of omega-3 fatty acids and chia seeds contain an extremely high amount of them and have the ideal ratio (3: 1) of omega-6 fatty acids. This is important for the formation of new cells and the support regular brain function. The high number of antioxidants, proteins, fiber and trace elements speak for the small miracle seeds.

You don’t need more than two tablespoons a day (measured in raw state). Please do not forget to drink a lot of water, as the seeds swell up in your stomach considerably.

Our recipe: Chia pudding! Soak chia seeds in cow’s or vegan milk over night. Optionally you can add cocoa, vanilla powder or cinnamon and honey. You’ll have a healthy pudding in the morning!

8. A lot of water

In addition to all the brain food recommendations, you should of course also make sure to drink enough water (not sugary soft drinks). Without sufficient hydration, even the best brain food won’t help.

Poor hydration manifests itself in poor concentration, fatigue or headaches. You should be drinking around 2.5 liters a day. If it’s hot outside or you tend to sweat a lot, you should drink even more than that.

Nutrition is a complex matter and affected by many different aspects. Maybe you can implement some of these brain foods into your diet and make some place for them in your kitchen in your STUWO dormitory apartment. In any case, pay attention to your diet and choose food not only for its taste, but also for its benefits.


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