What are healthy brain foods?
Just like any other organ in your body, your brain needs plenty of a variety of nutrients to keep working at its best. Whether that’s a plentiful supply of omega-3 fatty acids, or antioxidants to fight free radical damage, you can supply your brain with many of these through your diet.
While the popular myth goes that your brain is made up of mostly water, that’s actually not the case. Rather, an astonishing 65% of the brain is made up of fat! Indeed, one type of omega-3 fatty acid, called DHA, is the most common type of fat in the brain. Now you can see why getting your omega-3s is so important.
Omega-3 can be found in oily fish and some algae in the ‘brain-ready’ form – DHA. However, another type of omega-3, called ALA (alpha-linoleic acid) can be found in plant-based foods such as linseeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds and walnuts.
Your body converts ALA to DHA and another form of omega-3 called EPA, so it can be used in your normal processes. Meanwhile another fatty acid called omega-6 also plays a role in keeping you sharp.
The two omegas work together to provide you with a range of health benefits. An easy way to get both at once is to take hemp seed oil. It has the ‘perfect’ 1:3 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 to keep you in the right balance.
Best brain foods to eat before an exam or presentation
Looking for the best brain foods for test day? Our main advice would be to stick to your usual healthy diet of whole foods.
Avoid snacking on processed crisps or chocolate and choose healthy options instead. Why? Well, foods such as fruit and vegetables contain lots of antioxidants. Your brain is especially in need of these as it’s susceptible to damage caused by free radicals. So, snack on blueberries, aronia berries or any fruit you like while you study.
If you eat fish, you might like to include a portion of an oily variety the night before your exam, such as salmon or mackerel. These are full of omega-3. If you are vegan, try drizzling walnut or hemp seed oil over your porridge or in your salad dressing, or throw a handful of chia seeds into your morning smoothie.
Your brain will thank you for giving it the nutrients it needs, but don’t forget to take care of yourself in other ways too. Get a good night’s sleep and try to relax the evening before your exam so you can go in feeling rested. And most of all: have confidence. You can do it!