With the HSC just around the corner students should be making sure their brains are functioning at their peak. Here are 5 simple hacks all students should know to help boost memory, improve their ability to absorb and retain information, and for increasing concentration and focus.
FUEL YOUR BRAIN:
Your brain’s primary fuel source is glucose, which is the sugar found in our blood stream. If our blood sugar levels get too low (called hypoglycaemia) brain fog can start to occur. If the brain’s energy supply is reduced you will start to notice symptoms of brain fog including poor short-term memory, difficulty with focus and concentration, and a reduced ability to learn new things. Definitely not the symptoms you want when preparing for a big exam or during an exam.
Glucose is obtained from eating carbohydrate foods. Complex carbohydrates are the best choice, which are found in wholegrains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. These foods are digested slowly and their sugars are absorbed slowly into the blood stream, giving a nice steady supply of glucose for your brain to function optimally.
It is important not to skip meals and have wholesome meals that contain some complex carbohydrates. Some healthy choices to start the day off right include muesli or porridge with fruit and yoghurt, or grainy toast with some avocado and an egg or nut butter with banana, cinnamon and a drizzle of raw honey. Snack on some fresh fruit, trail mix, wholegrain crackers with hummus or guacamole, or healthy homemade muesli cookies. For lunch and dinner try a big salad with chickpeas, quinoa and roast veggies with some salmon, sourdough salad sandwich with plenty of salad veggies and some healthy protein, lentil dahl or a curry with lots of veggies with brown rice and some flat bread.
Eating eggs can help improve your memory. Eggs are one of the best sources choline, which is an important nutrient used to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory. Always buy organic free range eggs. If you’re vegan adding a spoonful of spirulina to a fresh vegetable juice, or sprinkling a tablespoon of lecithin or wheatgerm over your breakfast cereal, are great ways to boost your choline intake and help improve your memory.
BRAIN NOURISHING FATS:
Your brain fog could be caused by a deficiency in healthy fats. You need a good supply of healthy fats in your diet to improve the health and functioning of your brain cells and to boost your memory. Coconut oil is the perfect brain fuel due to it being abundant in medium-chain fatty acids, a fabulous energy source for the brain. Buy a good quality organic cold pressed coconut oil and use it to bake with, make healthy raw treats.
Salmon, sardines, trout and other oily fish are rich in DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a type of omega-3 fatty acid, essential for optimum brain performance and memory. Eating fish 2-3 times a week and taking a good quality fish oil supplement will help enhance your memory.
Snacking on walnuts is another great way to help boost your memory because they’re an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fat that the body uses to make DHA, needed to improve memory. Add crushed walnuts to muesli, trail mixes, porridges, salads or add to baked goods.
DRINK GREEN TEA:
Scientists have discovered that drinking green tea can boost your brain power. Studies have revealed that green tea can positively influence cognition and brain function.
Green tea has been found to improve memory and sustained attention and induces mental clarity. Green teas beneficial effects on cognition are due to its combination of L-theanine and caffeine. L-theanine has a calming effect which seems to mitigate the negative aspects of caffeine, such as anxiety and difficulty sleeping, while it enhances it’s positive effect of improving attention. Green tea is a much better option than coffee when studying.
You will find green tea in two of our award winning teas, ViridiTEA (Sencha green with jasmine) and CognitiviTEA (Sencha green, Sencha green tea, gingko, turmeric, bacopa, peppermint, lemon peel and lemongrass) which is designed specifically for improving memory and brain function. Aim to have 3-4 cups daily while studying.
Brahmi or Bacopa monniera has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine as a nervous system tonic for the treatment of a number of disorders, including anxiety and poor memory. Bacopa is a natural stress reliever that can enhance cognitive function and memory. It’s a brilliant herb for stressed out students studying for their HSC. Bacopa is often combined with other adaptogenic herbs like withania and Siberian ginseng. You can take bacopa in a liquid extract or tablet form or as a herbal tea. You will find bacopa in our Bodhi CognitiviTEA and our VitaliTEA (certified organic peppermint, spearmint, ginger, sweet orange peel, withania, Siberian ginseng and bacopa.
Written by Lisa Guy, naturopath and founder of Bodhi Organic Tea.