It’s that time of year again: For college students everywhere, finals are approaching and professors are dying to cram a few more assignments in before finals and winter break. There’s no question that we can all benefit from a few more good grades, but getting them is definitely easier said than done.
While getting plenty of sleep and managing your studying time are essential, an easy way to improve mental health and focus during these stressful times is by controlling what you consume. Here are 10 of the most beneficial foods and beverages to consume to make those hours of studying count.
1. Green Tea
In addition to caffeine, green tea contains L’Theanine, which helps to release caffeine slowly into your body rather than all at once, preventing a crash in energy later on. In addition, L’Theanine increases relaxation, making studying slightly less awful.
2. Dark Chocolate
Despite being delicious, this treat contains flavonols, which are said to lower blood pressure and calm you in stressful situations. If you’re not a fan of the bitterness of dark chocolate, you can always temper it by trying dark chocolate covered nuts or fruit.
While all fruits and berries are delicious and nutritious, blueberries contain gallic acid, which protects the brain from stress. To avoid over-indulging in these easy to eat treats, try making a smoothie or juice with a healthy amount of berries. Your brain will thank you for it later.
Celery is often viewed as that green stuff served with wings, but there is much more to these underrated veggies. Celery is high in antioxidants, which aid in reducing inflammation and can help you study without any discomfort or feelings of sickness. An easy way to enhance this otherwise boring snack is by adding a light salad dressing or a nut spread.
While there are a lot of different nuts out there, walnuts are the ones you’ll need at your study session. They contain a variety of vitamins like vitamin E, which helps improve memory, increases alertness and reduces future susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease. Also, this brain food is extremely shareable, making for a perfect addition to any study session.
Popcorn isn’t just for movies. This fun and easy snack is loaded with fiber and carbs, both known to improve alertness. Whether you’re popping your own or grabbing a party sized bag of SkinnyPop, revel in knowing this fan favorite has some solid benefits too.
7. Coconut Oil
At some point, every student needs to take a break and eat a meal. Why not make that meal work for you? Cooking with coconut oil is a perfect alternative to heavy, greasy oils that will weigh you down and make you tired. Coconut oil fights inflammation, boosts memory and fulfills salt cravings. Some easy ways to incorporate this beneficial ingredient into your kitchen is in coffee and smoothies, as well as replacing things like butter, olive oil and mayonnaise.
8. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are one of nature’s greatest gifts to us. This superfood is loaded with B-vitamins, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which all assist with mental clarity, weight loss and focus. Another easy snack to grab-and-go, these seeds are a perfect addition to any late night work in the library.
Citrus is a great snack to enjoy early in the day. In addition to vitamin C, these fruits contain flavonoids and sugar, which both increase alertness. You aren’t limited to simply eating an orange to reap these benefits. You can also drink citrus juices, incorporate citrus into smoothies or add citrus juice to your beverage of choice.
Some known benefits of drinking water include increased energy, fatigue relief, weight loss, improved skin quality, boosted immune system, headache relief and cramp prevention. Known disadvantages of drinking water do not exist. Drink water!
So, now you know what it takes. Unfortunately I cannot write your paper, take your exam or study for you, but I can promise you that eating well and taking care of your body will help your mind get to where it needs to be to succeed.
Eating mindfully may be the easiest way to be aware and proactive about mental and physical health while simultaneously working for your grades. So work hard, study harder and eat up!