Have you ever noticed that from time to time during the exam preparation period your mind switches to thinking about what you can eat? At the time when you are trying to focus, your mind is craving for food, in particular, sugary snacks that apparently boost your energy and improve your concentration. But you have probably noticed as well, that very soon you will be craving for chocolate again… and again. Eating lots of sugary and fattening foods during concentration times comes unnoticed which over time leads to such unpleasant problems as overweight, allergies, and high cholesterol.
For a more profound understanding of what is our “focus” about and how to maintain your attention, check Daniel Goleman’s Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. Goleman, who’s a journalist and a psychologist, updates his readers about the latest scientific advantages concerning our attention. There are obviously multiple components that one should modify to build up one’s focus, and consuming the right foods is one of them!
Below we have gathered some ideas of snacks that will help you stay focused to keep up with your college homework or other work and, at the same time, that will not lead to extra kilograms and extra centimeters on your waist.
Types of Snacks you should Prioritise
To stay healthy, you should start with long-term goals: like you do not put sunflower oil into your car to drive long distances, the same way you should not put only chocolate into your body and expect good performance. Food influences your mood, your mental state, your strength, and resilience levels as well as the ability to stay focused. Apart from keeping a balanced diet, between your revising periods you should try to keep your snacks healthy. These are the concentration-boosters:
According to scientists’ research, blueberries are exactly what you need for good memory and concentration for up to 5 hours. They contain the antioxidants that stimulate the flow of oxygen in your brain and help to refresh you. Moreover, these berries contain anthocyanins that help to protect you against cancer, heart disease, and dementia.
Despite the fact that avocados contain more calories per gram than any other berries, all these calories have nutritional benefits; in particular, they help improve your blood flow. Other benefits include protection against nerve damage and oxidation as well as stimulation of the area of the brain which is called the prefrontal cortex that supports your ability for critical thinking. A wholegrain toast with avocado slices is an ideal healthy snack to recharge your brainpower during revising times!
Nuts, in general, are good for your body because they contain the antioxidant vitamin E that sharpens your cognitive functions and calms down your nervous system. According to Harvard scientists, they contain oils and amino acids that will help you not only succeed but also live longer. The healthiest types of nuts are walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds that lower your blood pressure and improve your memory. Prepare nuts for your library sessions and you might find that you are more productive with revising!
- Flax Seeds
This is a super food which has nutritional ingredients rich in magnesium, omega-3 acids, fiber and B-vitamins. Flax seeds are very important for your mental focus, digestive system and weight loss. Although you cannot eat these seeds alone, you can add them to your daily salads, cereals, yogurts or porridge. If you happen to suffer from a stomach ache, flax seeds infused in hot water has a proven healing effect on your gastrointestinal tract! Here is the action plan: you pour hot water into a pot with flax seeds and cover it for 15 min. Afterward, you shake the pot and drink the water which has taken the nutrients of the flax seeds. It is important to make sure that you do this ritual 30 min before eating a meal.
- Dark Chocolate
There are a lot of misconceptions linked with the nutritional properties of chocolate. Here we would like to emphasize that it is only dark chocolate with the glycaemic index of 30 which should be part of your healthy snacks routine. Milk chocolate has the glycaemic index of 70, i.e. it raises your glucose level in the blood 2.5 higher than dark chocolate. This leads to such problems as weight gain, insulin resistance and diabetes.
Dark chocolate contains magnesium which explains its well-known de-stressing qualities. Magnesium stimulates the release of endorphins and serotonin which are the hormones of happiness. In result, you feel better and more positive. Dark chocolate has a high concentration of cocoa which means you do not need to eat tons of chocolate to feel good; on the opposite, a small dose will help you to concentrate and will raise your mood.
Drinking 8 glasses of water every day is one of the most important life hacks for a healthy lifestyle nowadays. Very often you are not hungry and it is enough to drink water to refresh yourself and boost your focus. Therefore, it is always a good idea to keep a bottle of water when you are revising. And the need to fill it in is a way to keep up with a bit of exercising and stretching when you spend most of your day sitting!
- Green Tea
It contains caffeine and the acid called theanine which is great for focusing and staying awake. Moreover, after drinking a cup of green tea your anxiety level will drop down since caffeine is released more slowly in comparison to coffee. Therefore, if you are planning on doing an all-nighter, green tea is always a healthier option than coffee without compromising on your ability to stay alert.