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Nutrition for the brain: How to get your brain fit with brain food

The unprocessed slides pile up, the exercise sheets look like hieroglyphs and nothing has stuck - many students find themselves in this situation during the exam period. When the next exam is only three days away, the pressure to learn ultimately forces you to perform at your best. In order to achieve this, the brain is in constant operation and we have to be highly concentrated and receptive. But what kind of nutrition for the brain can best achieve this?

The classic: The energy drinks are piled up in the fridge, the thermos bottle is filled with coffee and, if time allows, the good frozen pizza is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Most people know that this is not healthy, but the examination phase is considered a state of emergency and the end justifies the means, as is well known. Energy drinks, coffee and glucose are said to improve our brain performance and increase our ability to concentrate. The booster keeps what it promises and we are ready for the moment. The problem is that the briefly increased blood sugar level then falls just as quickly and even lower. So we are even more broken than before.

What is nutrition for the brain, or also brain food?

Food for the brain: brain food. Foods that have a particularly positive effect on brain functions are referred to as brain food. If you supply your brain with the right substances, you will also be able to perform well in the long term.

The optimal conditions for our brain

Whether the brain can work optimally depends, among other things, on the oxygen supply, hormones, specific messenger substances and neurotransmitters. You can influence these parameters through your diet.

How to get the best out of yourself with nutrition for the brain

Drink plenty of water - the overall proposal par excellence, but it still has its raison d'etre. Adequate hydration ensures that our brain is adequately supplied with oxygen and nutrients. At least 1.5 liters of water or unsweetened tea are ideal so that the body functions can run optimally.

Iron and chlorophyll are important for the transport of oxygen.

These foods are particularly high in iron and chlorophyll:

  • spinach
  • lenses
  • Green plants
  • Seaweed
  • Red meat
  • millet

The right carbohydrates - what keeps your brain fit in the long term

Carbohydrates provide our brain with the energy that we need especially in the learning phase. Single or double sugars cause the blood sugar level to rise rapidly and high. This gives the desired energy in the short term, but it is nothing if you have to get through a learning marathon. In particular, sweets and energy drinks, which are often used, do more harm than good.

Long chain carbohydrates help you to concentrate better for a longer period of time and to be ready to perform. How it works?

The body needs more time to convert the individual chain links into glucose. This causes your blood sugar level to rise slowly but steadily, which means that your brain has more energy to use.

Carbohydrate-rich brain food that provides you with energy is:

  • whole grain products
  • oatmeal
  • Blueberries
  • vegetables
  • Spelt
  • rye

How amino acids help you think better

Serotonin and Melatonin - These messenger substances are real boosters for your brain performance. Serotonin is known to most as the happiness hormone, but it also helps to increase memory and thinking. Melatonin ensures that you can get enough and good sleep.

These brain foods improve your thinking skills:

  • lean meat
  • fish
  • Eggs
  • Soybeans
  • reduced-fat dairy products


Good fats for good performance

Polyunsaturated fatty acids form most of our structural fat in the brain and are therefore essential for brain function. Omega-3 fatty acids in particular play an important role in the development of intelligence in the womb. Fatty fish such as salmon and herring are particularly rich in valuable omega-3 fatty acids. But there are also alternatives for vegetarians and vegans: algae and walnuts are good resources for supplying your brain with omega-3 fatty acids.

Before you start the exam, you should only eat a small, light portion - for example porridge with blueberries for breakfast! Immediately after eating, the body begins the digestive process, which costs energy that you now need for the exam. If you should get tired during the exam and absolutely need a fitness maker, you can fall back on the tried and tested glucose. It supplies your brain with energy for a short time.

A healthy diet makes you more productive all round. So it is not worth starting with the exam phase.