10 Brain Enhancing Foods to eat before you take the ACT or SAT

Test day, the room is silent save for the sound of intense scribbling and sighing of your peers. You’re doing well, nearly finished with the science section – it’s a total breeze – suddenly, your stomach decides to pierce the silence with a booming gurgle. Everyone stops and looks at you…sounds like a beef jerky ad. But, you don’t want to reach for jerky on test day.

Here are 10 foods that can help supercharge your brain for the ACT or SAT:

  1. Whole Grains/Oats – Although not the most exciting food, whole grains help promote cardiovascular health. A bowl of oatmeal in the morning, a couple slices of whole wheat bread, or some whole grain cereal can improve blood flow around your body and brain.
  2. Blueberries/Berries – This sweet berry, along with other berries contain a high level of antioxidants and nutrients essential for brain function. Mix a cup of these into a nice, hot bowl of steel-cut or old-fashioned oats for a brainy breakfast!
  3. Nuts – Most nuts contain a high level of Vitamin E which may help prevent brain health decline.
  4. Avocados – This fatty fruit can help keep blood-pressure low when the stress is on. It is calorically dense and a monounsaturated fat, meaning that it will keep you satisfied while keeping your heart and mind healthy.
  5. Salmon – This fish is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart-health and in turn brain health.
  6. Beans – Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you’re smart! Beans are a cheap source of fiber and protein.
  7. Green/Herbal Teas – One or two small cups of tea in the morning can help boost energy and focus. Tea contains a natural amount of caffeine, which is proven to improve memory and focus. Green tea is also a better alternative to coffee as it contains a large amount of antioxidants.
  8. Green, Leafy Veggies – Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, and Romaine Lettuce are loaded with Vitamins A and K to help fight inflammation as well as a hefty amount of Potassium to help boost your energy and mood.
  9. Pomegranate – Whether in fruit or juice form, Pomegranate is an excellent source of antioxidants. Granted the ‘granate is high in natural sugar so be sure to eat this sweet treat in moderation.
  10. Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate contains a high amount of antioxidants and natural stimulants in the form of caffeine. A little bit goes a long way, have a bite right before you go into your test to help you focus and feel good!

These foods are also excellent to have if you are just doing ACT/SAT prep, test prep, or even homework. Of course, there is no magic pill or secret recipe that can guarantee you will ace the ACT or SAT. Having a healthy, balanced diet, getting plenty of regular exercise, and studying are the best ways to ensure that you’re prepared for the ACT/SAT.

This blog post was written by A-List School & Institutional Partnerships Coordinator and nutrition guru, Austin Crowley.