E N T E R T H E DA R K SI DE
BE R RY U P
S W E AT I T OU T
Good news for all you sweet tooths out there! Dark chocolate contains large amounts of flavonoids, which boost blood flow to key areas of our brain for two to three hours. The increase in blood flow enhances cognitive performance and general alertness over a short period.
Besides being blue, juicy and sweet, blueberries contain flavonoids that may improve memory, learning and general cognitive function. Studies have shown that blueberries contain more antioxidants than most other fruits and they even offer protection against memory changes caused by ageing. If blue isn’t your colour, strawberries and blackberries are options too.
While it does wonders for your physical health, cardio exercises like running or cycling increases your heart rate, which helps to pump more oxygen and glucose to the brain. In addition, it aids in reducing stress while lifting moods and improving attention levels. Of course, even with alertness levels of meerkats, most of us grapple with the problem of distractions thanks or no thanks to the many sights and sounds that our senses pick up each day.
Photo from shape.com
Introducing these friendly elements into your diet is just the tip of the iceberg to boosting your brainpower. It’s time to meet and greet some healthy habits that may run along nicely with your new year’s resolutions.
E G G ON C AT C H T H E M Z S A good provider of the all important omega-3 fatty acids that protect against cognitive decline and memory loss, eggs contain the key chemical that has been found to boost memory in people -- choline. With apparently more than 100 ways to cook them, they are definitely great to ‘eggsperiment’ with. Boiled, scrambled, poached, coddled, fried -- your pick!
As difficult as it may be to clock in a good 7-9 hours of sleep every night with our busy schedules at hand, sleep deprivation will only compromise your creativity, problem-solving abilities and critical thinking skills. Sleep is vital to learning and absolutely necessary for memory consolidation. You snooze, you lose, they say? I beg to differ.
C H O O SE YOU R BAT T L E G ROU N D W I SE LY A conducive environment is key in battling unwanted interferences. Create your own concentration bubble by first choosing a quiet or comfortable place to study. If you can’t study at home like me, head to the library, a study room or a quiet café. Being surrounded by other students with that same purpose may induce herd mentality. Minimize audio and visual notices
Yes, that means preferably having your phones on airplane mode, keeping away from the blaring television and even disconnecting from the Internet. Combat your urge to refresh your Twitter feed and focus on your specific task till you are ready to move on. BREA K IT U P Avoid studying for 3 hours straight. Instead, take a fifteenminute breather after every 45 minutes. Taking mental breaks will help to focus for a longer period of time. Make yourself a refreshing cup of tea or take a walk and stretch those legs. However, be sure to keep your breaks short to keep the momentum going. It’s never too late to bolster your mind or kick-start these healthy habits to boost your productiveness during your academic journey. No harm in introducing good into your life either! Ultimately, these methods of boosting your brainpower and keeping distractions at bay are based on your personal preferences. If listening to music keeps you going, good! It is what works for you that truly matters.
Photo from cookingchanneltv.com
March 2013 issue of THE RIDGE - the largest student-run magazine in the National University of Singapore