Food For The Brain, Sleep, & Stress

As a college student, there are ample opportunities for brain farts, lack of sleep, and high stress situations. Luckily we have discovered a few foods that might help with all of three these situations. Discover ways to boost brain memory, increase brain function, sleep better, sleep longer, and decrease stress.

 

Food For The Brain

 

Foods That Help With Memory & Disease

Tomatoes – The lycopene found in tomatoes helps protect the body from free radical damage. This damage has been linked to the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Pumpkin Seeds – Another important micronutrient for the brain? Zinc. Zinc helps with memory and thinking skills. Just a small handful of pumpkin seeds can provide the brain with enough zinc to handle all the day’s work.

Avocado – This delicious topping is a great source of vitamins E & C. These vitamins have been associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Berries – Different berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and acai berries have been found to help slow age-related cognitive decline. Snacking on a few berries might just help your brain stay sharp for a while longer.

Spinach – Lutein is an antioxidant that helps protect against cognitive decline. Spinach is a great source of this antioxidant and has been shown to help prevent disease.

 

 

Foods That Help With Brain Power & Energy

Whole Grains – The brain needs a consistent flow of glucose to function properly throughout the day. A great way to help supply this flow is through whole grains; whole grains are slowly broken down into glucose, unlike other forms of sugar that get broken down quickly, causing a sudden rush followed by a depletion of glucose to the brain.

Grass-Fed Beef – Iron helps transport oxygen through the body and into the brain. Grass-fed beef is a great source of iron and a healthier way to improve iron levels in the body.

Sardines – Ready to have an amazing mental focus? Eat a few sardines. They are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that increase the communication between brain cells and regulate neurotransmitters, improving mental focus.

Lentils – These legumes provide a double dose of brain power. As a great source of folate, lentils not only increase brain power, they can also reduce levels of amino acids in the body that impair brain function.

Fish – Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and other fish contain high levels of DHA, which is important for the normal function of neurons within the brain.

Dark Chocolate – This treat has just enough caffeine to help maintain mental acuity. But even more than that, the flavonoids available in dark chocolate improve blood flow, which can regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure, all of which are helpful to the role the brain plays.

Water – When a person becomes dehydrated the brain tissue can actually shrink; this shrinking can affect cognitive function and impair short-term memory.

Blackcurrants – Blackcurrants are full of Vitamin C, a vitamin believed to increase mental agility.

 

Delicious Combinations:

 

Sweet Spinach Salad – Use spinach, avocado, and berries to create a sweet salad full of memory enhancing and disease fighting vitamins.

Fish & Rice – Create a dinner of fish and whole grain brown rice to discover heightened brain power.

Black Currant Dessert – Eat a delicious treat of black currants and dark chocolate for a dessert that builds and protects your brain.

 

Food For Sleep

 

Almonds – These nuts are rich in magnesium. The mineral magnesium is necessary for quality sleep, and if the levels of magnesium throughout the body are too low, it is harder to stay asleep.

Dairy – Dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt contain both calcium and tryptophan. The calcium in these products helps the brain use the tryptophan to create the sleep-triggering hormone melatonin.

Chamomile Tea – This tea provides an increase of glycine to the body; glycine relaxes nerves and muscles, helping the body calm down.

Passionfruit Tea – This drink contains alkaloids that act upon the nervous system and make the body tired. Drinking a cup of this tea just an hour before bed might help cure a night of insomnia.

Cherries/Cherry Juice – While the hormone melatonin is produced throughout the body naturally, sometimes adding a little extra from outside sources is a great way to regulate your sleep. Cherries and cherry juice are a great natural source of melatonin.

Bananas – You may have heard before that bananas are a great snack to help prevent muscle cramps. In a similar way, this same snack is great for helping muscles and nerves relax and get ready for bed. This fruit also helps convert tryptophan into serotonin, which increases relaxation even more.

 

Delicious Combinations:

 

Chocolate Banana Smoothie – Drink this tasty treat for a post-dinner snack or for dessert and find yourself drifting off to sleep much more easily.

Granola Yogurt – Add some almond granola to the top of your yogurt for a great evening calming snack.

 

Food For Stress

 

Green Leafies – Vegetables like spinach, lettuce, and kale are high in folate, which produces dopamine; dopamine is a brain chemical that helps keep the body and mind calm.

Mixed Nuts – Stressing depletes the body’s store of vitamin B. This vitamin plays an important role in keeping neurotransmitters happy, and helps the body handle the fight-or-flight stress response. Nuts are a good source of this vitamin and a great way to replenish the body.

Red Peppers – This veggie is abundant in vitamin C; vitamin C helps lower blood pressure and allows the body to recover quickly from the cortisol surge it gets when people get stressed. This food might just help you cope a bit better next time you feel stressed.

Cashews – These little nuts pack a punch when it comes to zinc, a micronutrient the body needs to fight anxiety and depression. The body has no way of storing zinc, so finding outside sources is necessary.

Garlic – Stress lowers the immune system’s ability to fight off bacteria and infection. Garlic is full of antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and help fend off heart disease, colds, and more.

Sweet Potatoes – This vegetable is full of carotenoids and fiber; carotenoids help boost optimism. Plus, they are so delicious they can help curb a sweet tooth.

Spicy Food Capsaicin, a molecule in chili peppers, causes the brain to release endorphins.

 

Delicious Combinations:

 

Spicy Stir Fry – Add some chili, garlic, sweet potato, spinach, and red peppers to your stir fry next time you’re feeling too stressed.

Sweet Potato Casserole – Sprinkling a few marshmallows and nuts on top of your sweet potatoes and baking them to perfection allows you to boost your optimism and keep your neurotransmitters happy all at the same time.