Why are you up so late? Why, it’s finals, of course! This is the time when many students indulge in sugary, caffeinated beverages to keep them focused through long hours of studying. Though you think sugar is exactly what you need to boost your energy, you’re actually plunging yourself further to “the point of no return”. Although sugar gives you an initial energy boost, it won’t last nearly as long as you think. Soon after consumption of large amounts of refined sugar, blood glucose levels rapidly spike, then decline, and can possibly leave you feeling more fatigue and irritable.
What’s a better energy booster? Check out these options below:
During late night study sessions, the mind can often mistake dehydration for fatigue. Squeeze half a lemon into a 12 oz cup of ice water for a refresher that’s packed with electrolytes and vitamin C.
Apples and Peanut Butter
Opt for a brand of peanut butter that doesn’t use partially hydrogenated oils (check the ingredients!). Oils are partially hydrogenated by adding hydrogen gas at a high pressure to prolong the product’s shelf life. Though the percentage of hydrogenated oils in peanut butter is usually low (1-2%), there are also brands that omit hydrogenated oils altogether. Peanut butter is high in mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fatty acids (healthy fats), which can reduce “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels when consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.
A medium-sized apple (about 3” in diameter) contains around 4g of fiber. An apple contains approximately 30% soluble fiber and 70% insoluble fiber. Soluble fibers dissolve water to form a viscous substance, which can then bind to fatty acids (like cholesterol) to help reduce blood cholesterol levels. Insoluble fibers bind to water and assist in bowel movement by facilitating the movement of substances through your digestive tract.
Berries and Cream
Have a sweet tooth? Chop up half a cup of strawberries and mix in a bowl with a half cup of blueberries. Top with a dollop of Nonfat Cool Whip and you have yourself a guilt-free treat with more vitamins (provides 90% DV of Vitamin C) and minerals (Calcium, Iron) than a candy bar. Vitamin C is a necessary antioxidant that can defend the body against harmful free radicals and is utilized for the growth and repair of tissues. Excess vitamin C is secreted from the body via urine and because the body cannot synthesize its own vitamin C, it is important to receive an adequate amount through diet every day.
Many types of nuts such as almonds, pistachios, and walnuts contain high levels of essential fatty acids that help your brain to perform optimally. As an added benefit, nuts contain a good amount of iron and also provide oxygen to the brain, increasing your mental alertness and ability to retain information. A minimum of one ounce of nuts per day is recommended for optimal brain health. Since nuts are high in unsaturated fat (aka the “good” fat) and calories, they make great sources of energy as well. Sounds like a perfect recipe for better grades!
Most of the neurotransmitters in your brain are made from amino acids derived from the protein in your diet. To keep your neurotransmitter levels up, eat high-protein foods such as cheese, eggs, or meats. For a quick protein punch, whip up a high-protein smoothie with protein powder, plain yogurt and a cup of fresh fruit.
Snacking healthy is just as important for the body as it is psychologically for the brain and these foods are sure to keep you satiated throughout your studies. What are your favorite foods to snack on when studying? Feel free to comment below!