Feel Great

6 Ingredients Essential for Exam Week

Did you know our brains need a constant supply of glucose to function correctly? The glucose we need for better brain function, mood, and memory should come from good foods. With finals coming in hot, prepare your brain to the max by adding theses extra six foods into your meals this week!

  1. Spinach. This ingredient can prevent dementia, aging, and damage to your DNA. These leafy green veggies are also a good source of foliate and vitamin E.
  2. Avocado. These are one of the best source of omega 3 and omega 6 needed for a healthy body. Avocados will help to increase blood flow to brain and lower cholesterol. Added bonus, they have vitamin K!
  3. Dark Chocolate. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a treat that will improve cognitive function and memory. Consuming this delicious cocoa will also improve mood, and it is packed with antioxidants.
  4. Nuts. Almonds and walnuts especially are good for healthy nervous systems and brain function. They have B6 and vitamin E to protect your brain for the long run.
  5. Quinoa. This complex carbohydrate will keep you full while you test and is great for keeping the blood oxygenated. Quinoa is also a great source of iron and vitamin B. Plus its gluten free!
  6. Broccoli. This awesome veggie is a superfood for the whole body! It is rich in calcium, vitamin C, B, and lots of iron. Eating broccoli will also decrease your chances of catching any viruses during your finals week.

Good luck with all your finals, and don’t forget to feed your brain! Food for thought: “What you feed your mind determines your appetite.” –Tom Ziglar

By Sydney Hughes

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Eat Smart · Feel Great · Nutrition · Student Life

5 Snacks to Power You Through Finals Week

Ah! Finals week. A week filled with endless papers, exams, and the occasional mental breakdown. As you start preparing for the end of the semester, it’s important to keep your energy levels up and your stress levels down (a girl can dream).  To do this, it’s important to fuel your body with brainpower snacks, so you can hit the books instead of hitting the wall. While sleep and exercise aren’t guaranteed things as finals week approaches, you can still be healthy and happy with these yummy brain boosting snacks that will keep your mind sharp and your stomach satisfied!


Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
Satisfy your midnight stress snacking with this delicious peanut butter and banana sandwich. Peanut butter is a great source of protein, which can help your brain perform at its best ability, and bananas are a great source of potassium, which will boost your energy levels once you hit that 2AM slump. If you really want a treat, sprinkle on some dark chocolate chips, which have been known to aide concentration and boost your mood!

Trail Mix
Trail Mix, often labeled a “danger food” of snacking because it is high in calories, can be healthy, and it is great for your brain! Dried nuts and fruits, both high in protein, have been known to aid in memorization and concentration, and make your brain sharper and quicker, which can help when studying. To create a healthier, lower calorie mix, try to incorporate unsalted almonds, dried berries, and if you must, a small amount of dark chocolate.

Mixed Berries
A sweet treat that will pick you up when you want to give up, berries of all kinds, especially blueberries, are considered to be the #1 brain food.  They contain nutrients that have been shown to improve memory and learning, and even help produce new brain cells. Whether fresh or frozen, berries are a yummy, low calorie snack to stress eat when you want something sweet and need a good boost.

Avocado on Toast
A trending treat that is taking the health world by storm, avocado on toast has become a popular snack for many. While avocados may be fatty, they contain “healthy” fats that keep the brain cell membranes flexible, which keeps you energized and ready to hit those books. The fatty acids in avocado help strengthen brain muscle, which makes it easier to memorize information and study for longer periods of time. Spread mashed avocado on whole grain toast, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, add any other ingredients you like, and you have a simple but yummy study snack to help you score that A on the exam!

Coffee
Of course, we cannot forget this dearly beloved, which has gotten college students through finals weeks and exams for hundreds of years. Although this does not necessarily count as a “snack”, it is a classic concoction to help you get through those all-nighters. Coffee is great for improving thought processes and helps repair memory loss so you will remember those anthropology terms you learned in the wee hours of the morning before the exam. Just remember to skip the high-calorie sugar laden drinks with whipped cream and flavor shots, because the only thing those will do is pack on the pounds and make your brain crash when you need it most.

 

By Annie O’Sullivan

Eat Smart

4 Smoothies to Boost Your Brain

As the cold weather nears, it’s important to keep your mind and your body healthy. This means exercising, getting enough sleep, and incorporating well-balanced meals into your diet. One of the biggest mistakes students make is not eating breakfast, a BIG no-no! Whether you aren’t hungry or don’t have time to grab breakfast, research has shown that eating breakfast boosts your metabolism, increases concentration, and even improves your grades in the long run. Here are some simple smoothie recipes to make in the mornings for a quick and easy breakfast.

Brain Booster Trio Smoothie

With the brain booster trio, you get a smoothie that tastes as good as it looks. While sipping the yummy flavors of blueberry, bananas, and almonds, you are simultaneously protecting your brain cells, boosting memory and coordination, and getting a yummy breakfast that will help jumpstart your metabolism and get your day off on the right foot.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 of a medium frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 5 unsalted whole almonds
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey

Directions: 

  • Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth, or about 1 to 2 minutes

Pomegranate and Strawberry Smoothie

The pomegranate and strawberry smoothie is especially good for boosting fiber intake, which affects the glucose levels in your brain. Boosting glucose levels has shown an increase in energy and concentration. With the yummy combination of flavors, this smoothie gives you a sweet treat that is low-calorie and chock full of good antioxidants to boost your brain power.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 tsp. raw honey
  • 3/4 cup frozen unsweetened strawberries
  • 2 tbsp. fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. flaxseed oil
  • 4 ice cubes

Directions:

  • Whisk pomegranate juice and honey in a small cup to dissolve the honey completely
  • Combine the strawberries, yogurt, oil, ice cubes, and pomegranate mixture in a blender
  • Process for 1 to 2 minutes, or until thick and smooth. Pour into a glass

Banana and Coconut Power Smoothie

If you close your eyes while drinking this smoothie, it’s almost like your tanning on a beach in some tropical island far away from all the stress that is college (almost, though we wish it were true!) This smoothie—packed with the protein from bananas, a coconut, and a scoop of protein powder—will have you determined and ready to take on the hectic day ahead of you. Coconut is low in sugar and high in fiber and vitamins, which will provide long lasting energy and even help with memory retention. To add an extra boost of delicious protein, add a tablespoon (or two) of peanut butter.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk (hemp almond, rice, or organic 1% cow’s milk)
  • 1 frozen banana, slightly thawed
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend well

“Happy, Healthy Self” Smoothie

This smoothie is what I dub the “happy, healthy self smoothie” because it affects your emotions, motivation, and pleasure senses in your body. This smoothie is great if you have a long day ahead of you and know you need to focus—something all of us will be experiencing with finals coming up in a couple of weeks. The key ingredient in this recipe is milk, because it provides a healthy amount of protein to boost dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for making you feel happy and motivated. An added benefit? This smoothie keeps your blood sugar level steady and gives you a small amount of caffeine to help “kick start” your morning!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup small banana, peeled and frozen
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup soy milk (vanilla or plain)
  • 1 double shot (approximately 1/2 cup) organic espresso
  • 1 serving whey protein powder (vanilla)

Directions:

  • Combine all the ingredients except the protein powder in a blender, and blend on high speed until smooth
  • Add the protein powder and lightly blend until incorporated

By Annie O’Sullivan

Nutrition

Brain Foods: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Feel like your brain could use a little boost? Follow these guidelines to make way to a happier, healthier, noggin! The Good: In general, stick to complex carbohydrates, which take awhile to break down in to simple sugars in the intestines. As a result, they provide a steady source of energy as opposed to a… Continue reading Brain Foods: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly