You’ve spent spin classes and morning runs trying to burn it off and you’ve made drastic choices in the dining hall in an attempt to avoid it. What’re you avoiding, you may ask? You guessed it, it’s fat.
Foods with high fat contents have been both villainized and glorified by the media. It seems like every day you hear something new about fats. They’re practically the Britney Spears of the food pyramid.
Though the “f” word has taken heat from just about every nutritionist at some point or another, the truth is that eating fat won’t necessarily make you fat. It also makes you smarter. Our brain is 60 percent fat, so eating fats can help to ensure that everything’s running the way it’s supposed to, even during the chaos of finals week. It’s just science.
Feeding your brain with healthy fats promotes a process called ketosis, which provides energy to the brain and helps protect you against future degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimers. Cognitive functions, such as memory and problem solving, have been shown to improve from eating foods high in fat.
Hold up, though. This doesn’t mean you should just start diving into a plate of fries come finals week (even though that upcoming Finance exam may make you want to). When it comes to fats, the thing that matters most is the type of fats you eat.
If you want to impress your professors with your stellar exam grades without sacrificing your waistline or your tastebuds, try adding these healthy, fatty foods to your diet:
You’ve probably heard the word “Omega-3”s thrown around by your roommate who’s trying to justify ordering 3 spicy salmon rolls when you get takeout sushi. As it turns out, she’s not wrong in trying to up her fish intake. Salmon is high in DHA, a fatty acid that acts like a sheath for your neurons. This covering allows you to produce neurotransmitters that are important for quick information transfer. As a bonus, DHA also makes sure that you’re less prone to memory loss, ADHD, and reduced brain volume.
No, this is not a joke. A study at Harvard Medical School supported that chemicals called flavonoids in dark chocolate boosts attention, quickens reaction time, and improves problem-solving skills. Besides making you a super-wiz in the classroom, dark chocolate will also keep you in a good mood. It’s full of those “feel good” chemicals called endorphins. Keeping a positive, happy mood through your finals week is important, so eat your chocolate, kiddies.
If you want to get an A on your Intro to Psych final, you probably shouldn’t dismiss the avocado toast trend as being “so last year.” The ultimate food trend of 2014 is jam-packed with monounsaturated fatty acids that help improve the blood flow to your brain. This means you’ll be able to make connections faster and avoid the grogginess that so often hinders test performance. However, complaining about your finals won’t get you free guac on your burrito bowl at Chipotle.
It’s not a coincidence that the walnut is shaped like a brain. Okay, maybe it is a coincidence. However, the unsaturated fats and Vitamin E in nuts actually do help to improve clarity of thoughts and mood. They’re also a great library snack; you can even eat them on the “quiet floor.”
In conclusion, eating fats is more fun and less work than studying. So, forget your cram sessions with your study group, head to the dining hall, and get yourself a salmon burger.