3 incredible foods for the brain

City student Zairee Izwan has been volunteering at the City of Adelaide in-between classes at the University of South Australia where he’s undertaking a Nutrition and Food Science degree. Who better to share some wisdom around foods, that research has shown, can better engage our brains.

What if there was a way that we could improve our brain and help ourselves perform better, maybe just in time for a big exam or to sharpen our everyday thoughts? Sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi movie doesn't it. Believe it or not, countless research shows us that something as simple as adding certain foods into your diet (as well as putting in the hours into your revisions), can set you up to get that HD. Try tucking into some of these if your diet allows.

If you love munching on blueberries, you’re in luck! You might just be doing your noggin a big favour. Blueberries are rich with an antioxidant known as anthocyanin, which has been proven to improve cognitive function in children as well as in adult humans. In one research, the blueberry group presented fewer errors in a test when compared to a placebo and the effects of these brain-boosting berries can be seen as quickly as within the hour.

Evidence suggests one cup of blueberries a day has shown to improve brain functions such as long-term memory. If fresh blueberries are a bit too pricey to add to your diet, consider purchasing frozen blueberries as an alternative. They work just as fine, if not better.

’There are plenty of fish in the sea’, however, not all of them offer the great brain benefits. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines are packed with healthy fats for the brain known as an omega-3 fatty acids.

Numerous papers have proven that consuming foods rich with this nutrient not only improves brain functions but also delays the onset of cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer's. Evidence suggests that 1000-2000mg of omega-3’s a day which is equivalent to about 500g of these fatty fish, can help improve your brain’s performance and may help you score on your next paper.

Who knew what was once used as a form of currency by the Aztecs and the Mayans is also great for the brain! The humble cacao fruit goes through many processes before becoming the all so familiar treat, chocolate – but the wait is worth it.

Components in chocolates known as flavonoids have been proven to increase blood flow to the brain as well as improving learning, memory, and focus. But be wary when choosing your chocolates, as studies have shown these effects are only seen in products that contain 70 per cent cocoa or higher.

Evidence suggests taking an attainable amount of 30g a day but no more than 60g will help you reap the benefits of this ‘ancient artefact’.

*some references used are missing due to unrecorded use of sources

The views, information, or opinion expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Corporation of the City of Adelaide.