Readers, Digest: Brain food for finals


After finding a quiet spot at the library, you take a seat and wonder if you should have gotten another coffee before starting your study session. Social norms tell us that coffee consumption and studying go hand in hand.

When passing Peet’s coffee, you see the painted window enticing you to study there since they have free Wi-Fi with a purchase of a drink. TV shows like “Gilmore Girls” makes anyone’s coffee habit seem recreational.

Crystal Vasquez, a nutrition graduate student drinks coffee regularly.

“Oh boy —I drink quite a bit, probably three to five cups on average,” she said, laughing.

However, is drinking coffee the best way to give your brain energy to study? If you are looking for an alternative to coffee, here are five snacks that will boost your brain and give you that extra needed energy for finals.

Omega-3s in salmon prevents inflammation. Photo credit: Christina Saschin

Salmon: This fatty fish decreases inflammation, which in turn protects the brain. Try adding it to a salad for a light lunch or as an afternoon snack.

Blueberries prevent short-term memory loss in this parfait. Photo credit: Christina Saschin

Blueberries: This fruit contains antioxidants and vitamin C, which can help with short term memory loss. You can add them on top of oatmeal or yogurt.

Oatmeal provides energy throughout the day. Photo credit: Christina Saschin

Oatmeal: The carbohydrates in this breakfast gives you sustained energy instead of a burst of energy then a subsequent crash, as with coffee. To cut down on time, make overnight oatmeal by adding milk to old fashioned rolled oats and let it sit in a refrigerator overnight.

Try snacking on a handful of almonds between meals. Photo credit: Christina Saschin

Almonds: These nuts provide vitamin E which helps with immunity and cell communication for brain function. Almonds are nutrient dense so eating a handful is a perfect sized snack.

A red crunchy apple. Photo credit: Christina Saschin

Apple: An apple is a good snack right before a final as the carbohydrates and sugar give you a boost of energy. Apples are light, refreshing and provide a crunch that cleans your teeth giving you a fresh feeling.

Christina Saschin can be reached at [email protected] or @Stina127 on Twitter.