Keep That Noodle Happy
Something about writing papers (or blog posts) makes me hungry. Maybe it’s a lot of work that tells my brain “Hey! It’s time for chocolate now!” Or maybe it’s because I have a few favorite go-to foods for writing.
Maybe you’re thinking: Why should I eat something when I write? Eating healthy food gives your brain some hard-earned fuel to keep going. Have three exams in the morning and two papers due? Grab a bite to eat!
As a student with a lot of dietary restrictions (I’m vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and essentially processed foods-free) it can be difficult to find things to eat that taste good and make you feel good. I’ve developed a list that should be neutral in terms of dietary restrictions so hopefully, anybody can find something they like and can add into their diet.
Here are my top 7 writing-worthy foods to snack on while typing (or scribbling) away:
1. Water. This may seem like a no-brainer, but because our brains are mostly water, they do crave more H2O to keep functioning. If nothing else, add more water and less soda, juice, even coffee to your day to help your brain out. Keep a bottle of water nearby as you’re writing and remember to drink it throughout the day.
2. Green tea. If you aren’t a huge fan of plain water, try some green tea. It’s caffeinated, which helps us stay alert, but it also has a chemical called l-theanine that affects how caffeine is absorbed. I’m not a science major, but I believe that it aids in releasing caffeine more slowly which keeps you from the caffeine crash. Sounds good to me. (Note: moderate amounts of coffee will have the same caffeine effect for alertness, but not the same anti-caffeine-crash effect. Sorry, coffee lovers.)
3. Dark chocolate. Okay, so I must admit that I’m a bit of a chocoholic. Any kind of chocolate (or chocolate something) screams my name. What’s great for the chocolate-lovers out there is that dark chocolate has been scientifically proven to help brain function. If you happen to love chocolate like me, then head straight to the dark chocolate section. Note to vegans: check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain milk. If it’s truly dark chocolate, then it shouldn’t have anything else besides the usual ingredients without milk or any animal product derivatives. Always double check to make sure. (Milk chocolate and white chocolate won’t give you the antioxidants that are so beneficial in dark chocolate.)
4. Blueberries. As we’re mentioning the importance of antioxidants for brain health, blueberries are an awesome addition to the snack food repertoire. Numerous studies have been conducted on the benefits of blueberries, due to their high concentration of antioxidants, so be sure to pick some up next time you’re snack shopping. (Bonus points: dark chocolate-covered blueberries!)
5. Avocados. I am by no means a huge avocado fan. In fact, I don’t like them except in non-avocado-ey guacamole. (Pathetic, I know.) But, I did read that avocados stimulate blood flow: perfect for getting blood cells into the brain to aid in productivity. That may be just enough to get me to start eating avocados…but maybe not.
6. Walnuts. If you’re nut-free, then skip to #7. Walnuts can reverse brain aging, according to a study cited on this site. They also have those lovely antioxidants I mentioned in #3 and #4.
7. Dark green, leafy vegetables. Add some spinach and kale to your diet: not only are they all-around superfoods, but they have brain-boosting properties like increasing cognitive function and information flow.
Remember, junk food is not the best option for your brain. It will certainly help with supporting your blood sugar, but the fat and carb contents may not be the best option for optimal brain function.
Okay, you say, that’s great. But I don’t want to eat raw spinach by itself. What do I do with these foods?
If you’re able to prepare your own meals, then try making a salad with spinach, walnuts, fresh avocadoes, and blueberries.
If you’re on a meal plan, see if it’s possible to integrate more of these foods into your daily diet to boost your brainpower.
If you’re tight on time, grab some water, green tea, dark chocolate if you can, and get to work!
Keep your brain (and your grades) happy. Coursework keeps it limber, but it can only stay limber if it’s happy. Treat it well and you will reap the benefits of a healthy diet.
P.S. If you’re now hungry, then I do apologize. But that means you can try out these brain foods!
(Disclaimer: I am by no means a medical professional or nutritionist. Do your own research, be wise about what to include or not include in your diet, and if you have any concerns, contact a medical professional.)
For more information, check out these websites:
Emily– peer tutor