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Healthy Snack Suggestion for Studying & Working Concentration

TFrazao is a registered Veterinary Practitioner for ten years and a Comp. Science Master recent grad. She believes in the fusion of things.

Help Your Brain and Body - Healthy Snacking while Studying

While you are studying you need to eat to maintain your concentration. Your brain needs energy and when you are in the flow you forget to eat. Then you feel your stomach grumbling and it is time to snack. You don't have prepared anything so you grab what appears in front of you. Is this situation familiar?

Normally when we need to snack, we don't make the right choices. We are tired and the brain needs sugar, so it is easier and more convenient to grab sugary or even salted snacks. We associate snacking with heavily salted, sweetened, and high-fat foods such as chips, desserts, and sugar-sweetened beverages. And why? Because these are the most frequent easily accessible snacks.

Motivation to snack depends on external factors such as the time of day, type of food, food availability, and location, among others. Yet, the impact of frequent eating unhealthy foods can have an impact on our health. The literature suggests that the consumption of nutrient-poor snacks may be associated with high BMI (weight gain), diabetes, or hypertension. It's time to re-image “snack foods” to prevent “snack time” from becoming an occasion for overeating nutrient-poor foods. (Hess, Jonnalagadda, & Slavin, 2016)

My healthy solution is: put on your front of you a bowl of diverse sliced fruit and nuts.

I will show you how to prepare a delicious snack food bowl for your brain and why you may need to give it a try.

Recipe for a Healthy Bowl of Sliced Fruit and Nuts

Figure 1. Representation of a typical healthy snack bowl.

Figure 1. Representation of a typical healthy snack bowl.

You can choose any type of fruit you like. But when it comes to studying which ones help your Brain and Body?

- first, a bit of dark chocolate at the bottom for a luscious reward taste in the end,
then you can have these fruit options:

  • apples;
  • berries, especially blueberries - studies have shown that blueberries help to improve memory and may even delay short-term memory loss (Krikorian et al., 2010);
  • grapefruit;
  • banana;
  • kiwi;
  • orange;
  • nuts;
  • almonds;
  • hazelnuts;

and don´t forget a fork so you don't get your fingers dirty.

Here is a small tip: if you don't add citrus fruit to your bowl and you have apple slices, you can sprinkle with drops of lemon juice so it doesn't oxidate.


Hydration Matters

Everyone knows how water plays an important role in our body functions. Our brains depend on proper hydration to function optimally. Brain cells require a delicate balance between water and various elements to operate, and when you lose too much water, that balance is disrupted. Your brain cells lose efficiency. (“Why Your Brain Needs Water,” 2010), and because of this, your brain may become sluggish.

In front of you, besides the snack food bowl, you can have a full glass of water or even a big bottle (more or less of 1.5L) and I guarantee, you will want to drink from time to time, and you won't even note it. At the end of your study or working marathon, you will have drunk the water you need to properly function.

If you don't like to drink plain water, here is my suggestion: you can add a slice of lemon and mint to your water to make it even more refreshing!

Figure 2.  An example of water in a bottle.

Figure 2. An example of water in a bottle.

Hope you liked my suggestion. From my personal experience, this works wonderfully and also increases my motivation to study. Happy study!


References

Hess, J. M., Jonnalagadda, S. S., & Slavin, J. L. (2016). What Is a Snack, Why Do We Snack, and How Can We Choose Better Snacks? A Review of the Definitions of Snacking, Motivations to Snack, Contributions to Dietary Intake, and Recommendations for Improvement. Advances in Nutrition, 7(3), 466.

Krikorian, R., Shidler, M. D., Nash, T. A., Kalt, W., Vinqvist-Tymchuk, M. R., Shukitt-Hale, B., & Joseph, J. A. (2010). Blueberry Supplementation Improves Memory in Older Adults. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 58(7), 3996.

Why Your Brain Needs Water. (2010). Retrieved December 13, 2018, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-illuminated/201010/why-your-brain-needs-water

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 DVM MSc Tania Frazao