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Study food for your mood

Did you know that our brain uses more energy than every other part of our body? And because it can’t store energy it needs constant feeding (kind of like my 17-year old). Without fuel you’ll feel hangry, tired and foggy – making it hard to get motivated or concentrate, let alone sit an exam.

When it comes to studying it’s all about protein. Protein delivers energy to the brain over a sustained period - as opposed to lollies, biscuits, bread or white rice which give your brain a short-term energy boost that will wear off long before a 3 hour exam is over.

Here's some great study foods which can boost brain function, memory and academic performance:

  • Nuts: high in protein for sustained energy as well as mood-boosting healthy fats and zinc. Pop a jar of your favourite nuts in your study area.

  • Bananas: a low GI fruit (meaning it will keep you feel full for longer) packed with B6 which is great for sleep, memory and mood

  • Avocados: packed with good fats for brain health. Smash one on some wholegrain toast or Life Changing Loaf of Bread for a gourmet brekkie.

  • Berries: increase blood flow to your brain – improving mental performance

  • Citrus fruits such as oranges & kiwi: promote memory and learning

  • Eggs: deliver sustained brain energy, boost memory and overall brain health. Have some boiled eggs ready for the morning munchies.

  • Red, green and orange veggies: can boost your academic and mental performance. Nutrition hack: cut them up in advance so they’re ready when you’re feeling snackish.

  • Oily fish: great for memory (opt for low-mercury fish such as salmon).

  • Sugar-free dark chocolate: high in flavonoids for memory and learning

  • Water! Your brain is 73% water and dehydrates easily so keep hydrated!

Need a pre-exam snack?

Eat some nuts or a high protein, low sugar muesli bar right before an exam to give your brain sustained energy. I like Carmen’s Salted Dark Choc Almond Gourmet Protein Bars. Remember these are a ‘sometimes snack’ as they still have quite a bit of sugar in them.

Need to talk to someone about mood or food? Penny Dillon is a counsellor and nutritionist who's passionate about mood and food. Book an appointment.

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