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Food for thought

With exam week on the horizon, students might be too focused on memorizing the intricacies of the nervous system or understanding gross domestic product to think about what theyre eating. But what we ingest while studying can go a long way toward ensuring our brains are working properly and efficiently.

The Oracle has compiled a list of dietary necessities to ensure you get the most out of the hours spent between textbook pages.

Fruit

Monster energy drinks and blueberries both contain sugar, but one of them contains the right kind of sugar.

Studies at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center have shown that consuming dark-colored berries greatly benefit brain health by warding off free radicals, which can damage our brain. Citrus, melons, olives and bananas are also recommended as excellent, natural sources of vitamins and potassium. An all-organic fruit smoothie from the Marshall Student Center (MSC) Jamba Juice might be more expensive than an energy drink, but higher test scores are worth it.

Omega-3

Some chemicals that benefit brain function are not naturally produced by our bodies. To get omega-3 fatty acids, we have to consume fish or certain plants and nut oils.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to increase cognitive function, which includes brain memory and performance. Fish such as salmon and tuna contain high concentrations of this essential fatty acid. So, when youre heading to the Chik-fil-A counter in the MSC, think twice and go grab some sushi instead.

Dark Veggies

Just like with fruit, darker vegetables contain higher concentrations of the nutrients our brains need.

Veggies such as spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are rich in antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment. Oxidative stress is a byproduct of metabolism that can damage and even kill cells in the brain and body. According to fitnessrepublic.com, antioxidants act as scavengers of toxic molecules that lead to this kind of stress.

Water

It might seem like a no-brainer, but not staying properly hydrated can make you a dead-brainer.

Almost three-fourths of our brain is water, according to medhelp.org, so its fairly logical that more water makes for a better brain. Without a steady balance of water, our brain cells become less efficient.

Dehydration can impair short- and long-term memory, as well as the ability to solve problems or calculate things in our minds, according to an article on psychologytoday.com.