Avocado fruit and foliage (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
Avocado fruit and foliage (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

By ALEXANDRA WEE, Staff Columnist

Right after turkey feasting and before the holiday hullaballoo is a time college students dread year after year—finals week.

With only 15 days of class left, we’ll soon be stocking up on Monsters, bottled coffee drinks and midnight munchies for the all-nighters to come. To guarantee that you actually live to take your finals—and maybe even survive to enjoy winter break—be sure to include this list of power foods in your study schedule.

Apples: This sweet and crunchy treat has tons of memory-boosting antioxidants packed into its skin so be sure not to peel that part off. They even come in festive reds and greens so you can sneak in a little holiday cheer to your cram sessions.

Blueberries: You may not be able to get many fresh ones during this season but the frozen ones pack in just as many nutrients and antioxidents. Grab a handful (raspberries and blackberries work too), a banana and some yogurt for a smoothie your brain will thank you for.

Mixed nuts: Instead of furiously chewing pencils in stress, snack on almonds, pistachios and walnuts—high in amino acids and vitamin E—to help keep you calm. The high iron content in the nuts will also keep you focused on your flashcards. For variation, try a tablespoon of almond butter spread on whole-grain crackers.

Avocado: This super versatile power-fruit has nutrients that help improve blood flow to the brain and also lower blood pressure to keep you sane. These green guys are high in calories though so as much as you want an A on your chem exam, stick to just half an avocado and add on another power food to fill you up.

Peppermint tea: The minty scent has been known to help you focus (too bad Starbucks’ Peppermint Mochas don’t count).

Brewed tea—not the bottled kind—of any flavor really will do you wonders. With moderate amounts of caffeine, memory-boosting ingredients and mood enhancing powers, feel free to sip away.

Wheat germ and flax seed: They sound like Grandpa’s favorite food but this whole-grain duo is a small but mighty addition. Sprinkled onto cereal and salads, or layered with yogurt, fruit and nuts into a parfait, these grains are jam-packed with fiber, vitamin E and healthy fats that will help keep your thinking cap on and running strong.

Dark chocolate: To get the full benefits of cocoa’s natural caffeine stimulants, like enhanced focus and increased endorphin production (a.k.a. happiness), keep this in mind—the darker, the better. Also, eating a whole chocolate bar because you’re fretting a term paper might backfire into a nasty mood swing so remember to take it in moderation.

Omega-3s: Often found in fish, especially salmon, these fatty acids are one of your brain’s best friends. Omega 3s help to build the bridges between nerve cells which enables learning and memory functions. They also contain anti-inflammatory substances to keep you from breaking out. Yay!

Eggs: Scrambled, over-easy, or poached—however you take your eggs is good enough for your brain. Eggs, especially the yolks, contain a fat-like B-vitamin (choline) that helps enhance memory and minimize fatigue.


Sources: health.yahoo.net (Best and Worst Brain Foods), Psychology Today (What is Good Brain Food?), today.msnbc.msn.com (Forgetful? Eat Memory Boosting Foods), campustalkblog.com (Top 10 Brain Foods that Help You Study and Get Better Grades), WebMD (Eat Smart for a Healthier Brain), shape.com (11 Best Foods for Your Brain)