This time of year is always stressful for students, especially when the holiday hustle and bustle is right in the thick of trying to write papers and study for exams. But . . . throw a pandemic into the mix and stress levels are sky high. So, how do you stay focused and calm during these taxing times? Luckily, we have plenty of blogs for things that you can do to alleviate your stress & anxiety. But did you know that you can also optimize your studying by eating certain foods? It’s true! And Chef Soraya Plant-based Macro Meals happen to be the perfect combination of brain-boosting superfoods that you need right now.
But First, The Naughty List
Let’s first rule out the foods that are not great to eat when you are trying to stay focused and productive. Enter . . . processed junk. Processed foods are often loaded with refined sugar and sodium but lack important fiber and real nutrients. So, while candy bars, soda, and ramen noodles may sound appealing when you are up late cramming in a final study session and can’t be bothered to cook, these foods should be avoided. Processed junk food will spike your blood sugar, giving you a quick burst energy at the cost of an unfortunate energy crash. This will leave you feeling sluggish, foggy in the head and ultimately wanting more processed food to keep the short-term “sugar high” lasting longer. It’s a 'no bueno' cycle -- to say the least.
The Nice List
Conversely, whole foods actually give your brain the nutrients it’s looking for, so that you can enjoy steady energy levels to think properly. You see, the brain needs all three macronutrients to thrive (healthy fat, complex carbohydrates and protein). This is why Chef Soraya Plant-based Macro Meals make for ideal brain-nourishment! Plus, our bowls are just as easy to make as instant ramen, which saves you the time and energy you need to stay 'in the zone,' without the side-effect of a blood sugar crash. Now, let us breakdown how the beans, rice, quinoa, and hemp seeds in our bowls all work together to feed your brain.
Beans are wonderful for so many reasons! For starters, they are high in antioxidants which help fight stress in the body. More importantly, antioxidants help boot immunity, which is extra important during the pandemic, (nobody wants to be sick during finals).The high fiber in beans also supports a healthy gut bacteria, which plays a role in serotonin levels through the gut-brain axis. The healthier your gut is, the happier your brain is. Beans can actually help you stay more positive and motivated to 'get the job done!' Beans are also high in resistant starch which is a type starch that stabilizes blood sugar and keeps you fuller for longer. This means you can stay focused on the task at hand without being distracted from a grumbling stomach.
Especially when paired with beans, the fiber of rice and beans improves blood flow to the brain and other organs. Rice is also a satisfying, filling way to add some healthy calories and energy to your meal for the critical brain food you need. Yes, your brain actually uses more energy when you are studying, so you need to ensure you're feeding it plenty of healthy calories.
On that note, did you know that the brain uses up 20% of consumed carbohydrates? This is A LOT, considering your brain is just 2% of your body mass. So, complex carbs are brain food and quinoa is a solid way to consume them. This ancient grain is also loaded with iron and b vitamins, which will give you an additional supply of steady energy that you'll need keep your eyes open on those late nights studying.
Last, but certainly not least, are the trusty hemp seeds. Hemp seeds are one of the best sources of plant-protein, antioxidants, and essential omega fatty acids. The brain loves omega fatty acids, which is why though tiny, these seeds really pack a pack a mighty punch. Of course, hemp seeds are also high in protein, which is why when paired with the beans, rice, and quinoa, you'll get a whopping 10-12 grams of protein in our bowls -- and protein is critical for neurotransmitter function!
Feed Your Brain To Stay Sane
Students -- we want you to crush those finals. This is why we encourage you to fuel your brain with the proper nutrients, take the time to meditate, exercise or find a stress-relieving activity to get centered, and set yourself up for success. We believe in you!