It’s another one of those crappy days.

Your alarm goes off far too early and after snoozing for the third time, you finally roll out of bed.

Half asleep, you shuffle into the bathroom and stand in the shower like a zombie. Your movements to wash yourself are dull and sluggish.

You step out of the shower and watch yourself in the mirror with puffy eyes as you brush your teeth.

You listlessly put on whatever clothes you can get your hands on: wrinkled trousers, a smelly T-shirt.

Then you run off because you’re late again.

You arrive late at the lecture hall and everyone is staring at you.

Tired, hungry and nervous, you squeeze past your fellow students in the packed row of seats and sink powerlessly onto one of the few free chairs.

Your exhaustion remains, your brain seems to be in airplane mode all day.

No one is available at the moment.

In the evening, you drag yourself to bed, dissatisfied and totally exhausted.

Before you fall asleep, you ask yourself how the hell you’re going to manage the next day, which is going to be the same again.

Our answer: by taking your diet to a new level with brainfood!

It’s not about completely changing your diet, which would then resemble a menu from a boot camp.

It’s about brain foods that are inexpensive and taste really good.

Read through our personal brain food list now, based on our experiences as students and high performers at work!

Note: The following information is a personal recommendation and does not constitute health advice. We expressly point out that you should consult a doctor for nutritional advice.

Dark chocolate

Well, would you have thought that chocolate is one of the ultimate brain foods?

Caution: not every chocolate will get your brain working at full speed. The high cocoa content of at least 70% is important, preferably more. Cocoa contains flavonoids, which can promote blood flow to your brain.

Cocoa also lowers blood pressure, raises endorphin and serotonin levels (happy hormones, yay! 🥳) and has an anti-inflammatory effect thanks to antioxidants.

Tip: If you don’t like dark chocolate on its own as much as its whole milk siblings, we recommend grating it into your favorite yogurt so that its taste is no longer as dominant.

Wholemeal pasta & wholemeal bread

Even the Ludolf TV family knew how ingenious pasta is. His explanations are simply legendary:

However, most of us eat “white” pasta, i.e. egg pasta or pasta made from durum wheat semolina. Although they taste delicious, they only contain a lot of carbohydrates.

They give you a good energy boost shortly after eating, but after a short high, your energy levels will plummet faster than your grades would if you stopped studying overnight.

The reason for this is the blood sugar level: it rises sharply when you eat light-colored pasta, whereupon the body shoots lots of insulin to deal with it.

In the long term, this not only promotes obesity, this constant up and down unfortunately also increases the risk of diseases such as diabetes.

Here’s the good news: you can enjoy pasta without having to put up with these negative effects, with wholemeal pasta. This brown pasta is available in all the same varieties as your favorite pasta, i.e. spaghetti, penne, tagliatelle, etc.

Unlike their white flour counterparts, wholemeal pasta contains:

  • More fiber
  • More B vitamins (riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, etc.)
  • More minerals (zinc, iron, magnesium)

This nutrient-rich combination ensures that your body receives more nutrients than with white pasta. Wholemeal pasta also keeps you fuller for longer thanks to the fiber.

Here’s another piece of good news: all this also applies to wholemeal bread.

After all, bread is also made from flour. The difference is that with wholemeal bread, the “whole” grain is processed, including the germ and bran. With white flour, which you know from toast, light-colored rolls, baguettes, etc., the germ and bran are removed, along with a number of valuable nutrients.

We therefore recommend that you only eat wholemeal pasta and bread. They taste just as good as their white flour counterparts, but are many times healthier.

Tip for wholemeal bread: Toast your slices of wholemeal bread. This develops delicious toasted aromas, making the bread taste even more delicious. It also makes it really crispy.

Nuts

Salty peanuts are a must at any party. But you really can’t call them brain food.

But other nuts are real energy bombs.

These are the best brain food nuts:

  • Walnuts
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Brazil nuts

What these nuts have in common is that they contain many good substances. Walnuts boast omega-3 fatty acids, while almonds and hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E. Cashews have protein on board, and Brazil nuts provide you with selenium, which is hard to get and so urgently needed by the body.

Of course, you’ve already figured it out: it’s particularly clever to combine different nuts into a nut mix. This not only gives you an incredible variety of flavors, but also a rich spectrum of nutrients. Exactly what we want from brain food!

Tip: Nuts are simply delicious as a topping on salads or pieces of cake. Definitely give them a try!

Fat fish

Yes, the trend in nutrition these days is clearly towards vegetarianism and veganism. “Fatty fish” doesn’t necessarily sound like something you should go for.

But again, we’re not talking about fish sticks from the deep fryer or smoked eel, although both can be delicious depending on your taste.

By oily fish, we mean types of fish that contain particularly high levels of healthy fats.

These types of oily fish are particularly healthy:

  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Herring
  • Trout

These fish species all score points with omega-3 fatty acids, but also with vitamin D, which is essential for survival and of which many Central Europeans have a deficiency.

At the same time, vitamin D is incredibly important for nerve regeneration, the regulation of neurotransmitters and sleep, among other things – all of which are factors for your fitness and ability to concentrate.

So our personal recommendation is: put more fish on your plate!

Tip: Salmon and trout are the mildest tasting types of fish. If you’re not a fish fan yet, try these two types of fish first. Mackerel and herring, on the other hand, are quite intense, so you can try them later.

Berries

Berries in all shapes and colors are true brain food.

These are the best berries:

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Cranberries
  • Acai berries
  • Strawberries
  • Goji berries
  • Currants

You will of course be familiar with some of these, such as raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. But beware: it makes a huge difference which berries you eat.

You can assume that cultivated strawberries that you buy in December, which have logically been flown halfway around the world, contain hardly any nutrients. But that’s exactly what we expect from brain food.

The top criterion is: berries should be fresh and not from the greenhouse.

Strawberries from the field are better than strawberries from the greenhouse.

Wild blueberries are better than cultivated blueberries.

Of course, picking the berries yourself is the most fun. We have a special tip for this, namely the free website mundraub.org. There is a map there that lists fruit bushes, nuts, herbs etc. throughout Germany.

Mundraub.org_Screenshot_NEU
On the map at mundraub.org you can find freely accessible plants from which you can pick berries. Berlin has a lot of them to offer. Source: mundraub.org

Important: Make sure you wash picked berries etc. thoroughly before eating them. You should also only pick berries where they are publicly accessible, i.e. not on private land.

The great thing about picking berries is that it’s completely free and you’re out in the fresh air. So you’re not only doing something good for your health, but also for your wallet.

Tip: Thanks to the freezers in supermarkets, you are not dependent on the season when eating berries. You can find raspberries and even wild blueberries in any well-stocked frozen food section.

Green leafy vegetables

Popeye lied.

If you’re not yet familiar with the cartoon sailor and his love of cringe spinach, take a look at this clip:

When we were kids, we were told with Popeye that we had to eat a lot of spinach because it contained a lot of iron, which makes you strong. It later turned out that this was total nonsense. Spinach has much less iron than we thought for decades. And all because of a decimal error!

Read the story of the iron lie in spinach here if you’re interested.

To this day, the spinach obsession from our childhood makes us feel salty when we think about it.

But wait a minute …

Was cartoon sailor Popeye right after all?

Well, yes.

This brings us to a very important and interesting point: there is no such thing as brain food that turns you into a learning and concentration machine. If there was, we’d all just eat it.

But that would be pretty boring, wouldn’t it?

The fact is that spinach contains lots of good and healthy substances, but it’s far from being the one-and-only power food it was once advertised as.

Incidentally, this is also a healthy brain food leafy vegetable:

  • Kale
  • wild garlic
  • Swiss chard
  • rocket
  • Lamb’s lettuce
  • Parsley

In addition to numerous vitamins (vitamin K, vitamin C) and antioxidants, green vegetables also contain chlorophyll, which gives them their typical green color. There are now exciting studies that suggest that it is good for our bodies. So green vegetables should also end up on your menu more often!

Tip: Don’t store green vegetables for too long, a maximum of 2 to 3 days in the fridge after purchase. This preserves most of the nutrients. As with berries, you can also use frozen spinach, parsley etc. with confidence. The plants are frozen immediately after harvesting so that their full nutrient spectrum is preserved.

Avocado

Avocados are great for your brain as they contain a number of valuable ingredients that boost your concentration, including potassium, magnesium, folic acid, unsaturated fatty acids and fiber.

This brain food also contains vitamin K, which is important for the communication between nerve cells.

Long story short: Eat more avocados, for example as a spread with a pinch of pepper or as a delicious guacamole: Cut two avocados lengthwise, scoop out the flesh, put it in a bowl and mix it with fresh, finely chopped garlic, pepper, salt and a dash of lemon juice. Yummy!

Eggs

Even the poet Wilhelm Busch got to the heart of the matter:

Everyone knows that, whoever it may be, the egg is healthy and strengthening!

Go for it, Wilhelm!

Eggs are simply great brain food that can be prepared in many different ways.

Here are a few variations for delicious eggs:

  • Fried egg
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Boiled eggs
  • Omelette
  • Stuffed eggs
  • Poached eggs

This is just a list to give you an idea of what you can do with eggs.

Poaching means that you put the eggs in hot water just below boiling point, around 95 degrees Celsius. This makes the egg white firm, but the yolk stays nice and soft. In the Eggs Benedict recipe, for example, eggs are prepared in this way.

Eggs are real nutrient bombs, let’s list everything you give your body when you eat them:

  • High-quality proteins (lots of them)
  • Vitamins (vitamin A, D, B12, E)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Carotenoids (antioxidants that are good for your eyes, among other things)

Tip: As already mentioned, you can also fill eggs by boiling them, cutting them in half and scooping the yolk out of both halves with a small spoon. Put the yolks in a small bowl and mix with mayonnaise, salt, pepper and dill.

Turmeric

In recent years, turmeric has become increasingly interesting as a brain food. In Ayurveda, an Indian healing system that is over 5,000 years old, turmeric has long been known as a remedy.

According to this teaching, the brain food turmeric is considered

  • anti-inflammatory,
  • liver cleansing,
  • skin-caring and
  • digestive.

It is also said to promote mental clarity. Perfect for a brain food, right?

The numerous positive properties are mainly attributed to curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric root.

We recommend buying turmeric as a root, fresh from an organic store. Supermarkets now also offer turmeric in their range, but here too you should look for organic quality to enjoy turmeric with as few harmful substances as possible.

Tip: The burner for us is golden milk, which is prepared with turmeric. Here’s how to make a glass: pour 300 ml of plant milk (e.g. almond milk) into a blender, add a piece of turmeric, a piece of ginger, black pepper, cinnamon and coconut oil (½ tsp each). Pour the blended milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil briefly. Your golden milk is ready! You can sweeten it with agave syrup, for example.

Green tea

Forget coffee. Too much of it will only make you nervous anyway and put a strain on your body.

The healthy alternative is green tea, which also contains caffeine, but much less than coffee (approx. 50% of a normal cup of coffee). In addition, green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that stimulates alpha wave activity in the brain, among other things. This creates a state of relaxation and concentration at the same time – perfect for effectively implementing learning methods!

Furthermore, studies suggest that green tea can promote blood circulation in the brain, which means that your brain cells are better supplied with oxygen and nutrients. You know that leaden tiredness when studying… With green tea, that’s history.

Tip: Don’t steep green tea for too long, otherwise it will become too strong and bitter. As a rule, the brewing time is a maximum of 3 minutes, preferably only 1 or 2 minutes.

More articles in our blog

You feel like going on a little shopping spree after our brainfood tips to pick up all the healthy foods?

Great!

But before you head out, you should definitely take a look at these articles, which have some delicious recipes for you:

We wish you a successful summer semester, with lots of concentration, focus and fun while learning. You now have the right brain food for this 😉.

Good luck and ahoy!

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