Some parents are so eager to help their children get good scores that they try every possible way to improve their brain ability, hoping to have instant or long-term effect. In fact, it takes a lot of energy for our brain to operate, this tiny organ which takes up about 2% of our body weight can consume 20% of calorie! To stay focus or remain high efficiency after using our brain for a long time, we really need some nutritional food to fuel up.
Avocado, which is known as “superfood”, is rich in vitamin B and potassium, it can help lower blood pressure and reduce stress hormones during exams. On top of that, avocado is rich in meta-unsaturated fatty acids, which can improve blood flow in the brain, and together with the whole grain sourdough bread as breakfast, it can help to boost up the students at the exam day.
- Wild Salmon
Fatty fish (such as wild salmon) is an excellent dietary source of omega-3 which can help build the cell membrane of every cell in the body, including nerve cells. A 2017 study reported that people with high levels of omega 3 fatty acids, blood flow of the brain is increased. Researchers have also proved that there’s a connection between Omega 3 and the thinking ability, a type of omega-3 DHA in particular, can improve memory and shorten recall time. New Zealand researchers have found that daily supplementation of DHA to young people can improve their memory and response time; the amount of DHA supplementation is almost equivalent to eating a 100-gram serving of salmon. So during the exam time, you may prepare more wild salmon for your children.
- Dark Chocolate
Now it’s the time for kids to try dark chocolate! Dark chocolate contains a powerful antioxidant – cocoa flavanols, which was proved by research that it can reduce stress hormone levels and improve your mood. In addition, this kind of flavanols may be beneficial to the brain. According to a 2013 study, flavonoids may promote the growth of neurons in the brain and increase blood vessel growth in areas involving memory and learning. It is recommended to choose high-quality chocolate (not chocolate sweet), the dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content is a good choice.
Evidences have shown that eating blueberries may effectively improve memory and cognitive function for the elderly groups. One of the nutrients in blueberries is anthocyanins, this element exists also in other blue and deep red color fruits like strawberry, blackberry and blackcurrant. In fact, a 2014 scientific study showed that berries (not limited to blueberries) have various positive effects on the brain which include improving connections between brain cells and promoting the interconnection of newly created cells. June is the exam season as well as the peak season for berries, so it’s a good time to enjoy some berries at breakfast or after meals.
- Cherry Tomato
顏The bright color orange and red vegetables contain the highest amount of carotenoids; among the carotenoid family, lycopene is one of the members! Most people may have heard that lycopene can help to prevent prostate cancer, but another not-so-well-known efficacy of lycopene is that it can help increase brain power and improve memory. Lycopene is mainly found in tomato skin, so the smaller the tomato, the larger the skin area, which means higher content of lycopene. As a result, cherry tomato has the highest lycopene content among different kinds of tomatoes.
One thing we need to know is that lycopene is best absorbed by the body with fat, so for brain health, you may also add a little olive oil and black vinegar as dressing for your cherry tomato dish.
Zeng Xinxin-Registered Dietitian