Do you find it hard to concentrate in class?
Do you read the same sentence over and over when studying?
Is your brain fog getting in the way of exam prep?
Do you lack motivation to study?
Simple nutritional changes can help, even on a budget! Here’s how…
The Technical Side
Acetylcholine is the key neurotransmitter that helps with memory, learning, and concentration. Our body makes it using the key nutrients B5 and choline.
How do we ensure we have adequate amounts in our diet? Some food sources to beat brain fog include:
B5: Avocado, egg yolk, green vegetables, lentils, liver, brains, mushrooms, milk, oranges, royal jelly (supplement), sweet potato, whole grains
Choline: Liver, egg yolk, lecithin, milk, peanuts, split peas, soybeans, spinach, whole grains
Stress often comes hand in hand with the demands of studying. Unmanaged stress can put pressure on your adrenal glands; leading to fatigue and anxiety. Managing this can help you avoid high anxiety levels whilst preparing for an assessment, and help your body cope with late nights of study and early morning classes.
Nutrients to support your stress response include magnesium and vitamins B3 and B6.
Some food sources include:
Magnesium: Brazil nuts, cashews, cacao, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, peanuts, egg, brewer’s yeast (supplement), parsnip, quinoa, pine nuts, mackerel, white beans (canned), tuna, artichoke, brown rice
Vitamin B3: Peanuts, chicken, veal, pork, lamb, fish, cheese, mushroom
Vitamin B6: Eggplant, pistachio, veal, sunflower seeds, cod, peanuts, salmon, chicken, oysters
Vitamin C: Citrus fruit, parsley, tomato, strawberry, cauliflower, broccoli, capsicum
Brain fog can be attributed to poor blood sugar levels, depriving the brain of the much-needed glucose it needs and uses as brain fuel. Aim to avoid lengthy periods of time between meal times and ensure your diet is rich in chromium. Some food sources for chromium include:
Chromium: Parsley, olives, cheese, spinach, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, asparagus, apple, brewer’s yeast (supplement), egg yolk, liver, molasses, mushroom, nuts, oysters, peanuts, wheat
How can we include these nutrients in the diet and beat brain fog on a budget?
Brown rice salads
Lentils, split pea, and tomato soup
Muesli with nuts and seeds
Chicken and broccoli stir fry
Tips for beating brain fog and keeping within budget:
Buy bulk lentils and split peas to use in salads and soups.
Utilise your freezer. Cook a batch of soup and freeze single portions. The same can be done with fresh smoothie ingredients. Being prepared can help you avoid the expenses of convenience foods.
Make a frittata and it cut into single portions for snacks, breakfasts or lunches.
Start a small herb garden to avoid buying expensive fresh herbs. Parsley is particularly easy to maintain.
Invest in some pantry items to boost your smoothie. Whey protein, cacao powder, lecithin…These can all break the budget initially, though will boost your daily nutrition and last a long time.
Oranges are convenient to take to class, they can be eaten whilst studying or serve as a snack in between meals or food shops.
Include eggs in your food shop. They can be used in a variety of ways: frittata, omelette, boiled egg (as a snack), added to salads or stir frys, or added raw to a smoothie.
If you’re considering a supplement go for: Activated B complex, magnesium, royal jelly, brewer’s yeast, multivitamin, vitamin C
Enjoy! And good luck for your exams and studies this semester!