These foods can fight stress and give your brain a helpful boost while you study for midterms, says Stony Brook University dietitian Stephanie May.
1. Avocado: High in stress-relieving B-vitamins and potassium, avocados make the perfect addition to a sandwich, salad, or meal.
2. Fish: Salmon and other fatty fish such as tuna contain stress-fighting nutrients like heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.
3. Greek Yogurt: Yogurt contains many vitamins and nutrients that help relieve stress. Replace that pint of ice cream with Greek Yogurt. It’s a satisfying snack full of protein and probiotics that give you energy during late-night study sessions. Try topping your yogurt with a handful of whole grain cereal.
4. Nuts: The vitamins and zinc in almonds, pistachios, and walnuts boost your immune system, which is depressed by higher stress levels. Try making your own trail mix with ¼ cup nuts, ¼ cup of whole grain cereal, and 2 tablespoons of dried fruit.
5. Eggs: Those bright, round yolks are rich in B vitamins. When you eat eggs, your brain uses these vitamins to maintain memory and communication among brain cells. Hard-boiled eggs are an easy portable snack option – or try an omelet with vegetables.
6. Dark Chocolate: That’s right: chocolate can be good for you. The flavonoids and antioxidants in dark chocolate have been shown to lower stress hormone levels and improve your mood. In addition, cocoa contains caffeine to boost your energy levels and help you power through your study period. Remember to limit your portions, and select chocolate bars that have a higher percentage of cocoa.
Stephanie May is the campus dietitian-nutritionist at Stony Brook University. Stephanie works with chefs and managers to develop menus that are flavorful and healthy. She is available to all students for nutrition counseling by appointment. Stephanie earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics from SUNY Oneonta and completed her Dietetic Internship at Stony Brook University Hospital with the Department of Family Medicine.