Take 5: Brain foods for finals

In addition to studying and getting plenty of sleep, eating a well-balanced diet is crucial to performing well on final exams, which begin Friday. Christine Clark, a dietitian with Northeastern Dining Services and University Health and Counseling Services, says the following five types of foods will fuel your brain in order to help you succeed.

1. Whole grains, such as barley, oats, brown rice, millet, quinoa, and corn, are naturally low in fat, contain some protein, and offer lots of fiber as well as a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Grains provide a great source of carbohydrates, and the glucose from carbohydrates is the fuel your brain prefers.

2. Fish is a great source of protein and is linked to boosting memory and reducing stress hormones. If you don’t like fish, choose other foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids such as walnuts, flaxseeds, and canola oil.

3. Citrus fruits such as grapefruit, lemons, limes, and oranges have been known to improve mood. They are loaded with plenty of vitamin C and phytochemicals, which are thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect.

4. Berries contain an incredible amount of nutritional goodness in a small package. They provide lots of antioxidants and phytochemicals, which help protect the brain and have also been linked to promoting mental acuity.

5. Dark chocolate will provide antioxidants and natural stimulants that can help to improve focus. Stick to about an ounce a day.

And do not skip breakfast. Eating a breakfast that includes a combination of whole grains, dairy, and fruit may improve your short-term memory and attention.

The best way to boost concentration is to eat a well-balanced diet. If you eat too much of any food it may leave you feeling full and sluggish, making it hard for you to focus on your studies. If you do not consume enough food each day, it will likely leave you feeling hungry and distracted.