As the semester ticks away, coffee and Red Bull consumption are an increasing parallel to the amount of students packed into the 24-Hour Room. Strenuous workloads may be negatively affecting students’ food choices, which can have a direct impact on academic performance. When it comes to studying, an increase in nutrient consumption is more beneficial than an increase in caffeine consumption. Two nutrients: Choline and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, can be added to everyday diet to nourish the brain and improve the ability to concentrate.

Choline, a nutrient associated with B vitamins, is important in the production and release of the nuerotransmitter Acetylcholine.  Acetylcholine is crucial in the function of the nervous system.  High sources of this nutrient can be consumed through these following animal and plant sources:

  1. Egg yolks.  It is common to only consume the whites when looking for a pure protein source, but those who choose egg whites are skipping over this concentration-enhancing nutrient.  The yolk is composed of Lecithin which contains the Choline.
  2. Soybeans. Many veggie burgers found frozen in stores are made up of soybeans.  Chickpeas, lima beans, and lentils are also a good source of this nutrient.
  3. Cauliflower and Broccoli.  As well as other cruciferous vegetables; cabbage and bok choy.
  4. Nuts and seeds.  Almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and peanuts are all excellent for snacking.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are polyunsaturated fats that contain anti-inflammatory properties.  These fatty acids can improve the brain’s cognitive function and concentration. Omega-3 can be found in these sources:

  1. Oily fish:  Salmon, trout and other fatty fishes are good sources of Omega-3.  College students may have a problem consuming these types of fishes often.  Fish oil supplements are commonly taken as a replacement.
  2. Flax seeds:  This vegetarian source of Omega-3 is normally overlooked.  Flax seeds can add unique crunch to oatmeal and trail mix.  However, to get the most of the nutrients they should be ground up before consuming.  Add them to smoothies to receive the most out of it.
  3. Walnuts.  Walnuts are a good snack for studying, especially when mixed with other nuts.

As you are feeding your brain with knowledge, be sure to feed your body with nutrients as well. When planning this week’s study schedule, try to add these foods to your daily diet.  Your academic performance will benefit along with your mind and body.