Even the human brain, the most complex structure in the Universe, needs to be fed and is so picky that would be offended (literally to death!) if it does not receive “food” for a few minutes. A brain that is deprived of glucose will be irreversibly damaged. [1] But there’s no need to be pessimistic!

Super Students need their brains working at peak-performance. Without them they would lose their ideas, efficiency, ambition and potential.

Make sure that your brain is healthy by following these simple but important rules.

Sleep

Sleep it not a waste of time! Actually, it’s essential for our brains, as it:

  • Represents resting time for an active mind
  • Ensures memory formation and consolidation
  • Cleans away “trash”, as lack of sleep allows damaging proteins to accumulate in the brain – the mechanism is even related to Alzheimer disease! [2]
  • Strengthens synapses
  • Ensures the proper hormone secretion

The disorders caused my lack of sleep cause a variety of disorders, not only brain related. In turn, when the whole organism suffers, cognitive functions eventually decrease and you won’t be able to think/work/live properly.

A Super Student should sleep from 7 to 9 hours per night, and if it doesn’t happen, usually during the week, then we need to turn off the alarm clock in the weekends in order to sleep longer and regain the lost hours. Whether you are an early bird or a night owl, make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

Drink

Not alcohol, but rather water! We are made up of 60 – 70% water so we definitely need it! A constant intake of water is necessary to keep our cells functioning normally. In average, aim to drink 2 L or 65 oz per day.

Getting thirsty it is not a good sign – we are dehydrated, meaning that our body is screaming for fluid replenishment. A dehydrated brains works slowly, which is not an optimal state at all.

If you prefer beverages other than water, go sugarless. Sugary drinks actually increase the need for fluid intake and are associated with weight gain.

As far as alcohol goes, limit your intake to a minimum, as it’s not brain friendly at all.

Exercise

A recommended amount of 30 min of exercise per day helps our brains receive more oxygenated blood, i.e. filled with nutrients and, of course, oxygen. No one has such a busy schedule that they can’t find half an hour to exercise –not even Elon Musk or Bill Gates.

The best option would be to exercise outdoors, in order breathe some fresh air. Getting it done in the morning, before lectures or work, will also spike brain activity, prepare it to face the day’s problems, improve retention and memory formation.

There are plenty of exercises to choose from: jogging, gym classes like Crossfit, team sports, weightlifting and so on.

And back to the previous section: exercise increases the need of fluid intake – so don’t forget to drink plenty of water before, during and after physical effort.

Dark chocolate is the best!

Everyone loves chocolate (if not, what the hell are you doing?). And there are several reasons for it, as chocolate contains:

  • Dopamine, a neurotransmitter related to the pleasure-reward circuit
  • Tryptophan, the precursor of serotonin, another neurotransmitter responsible for making you happy
  • Anandamide, similar to psychoactive molecules found in marijuana
  • Phenylethylamine, aka the love drug, a powerful aphrodisiac
  • Magnesium, a substance that helps fight stress

Chocolate boosts the production of endorphins, substances that bind with opiate receptors in brain causing euphoria and reducing the negative effects of stress. Also, flavonoids contained in dark chocolate improve blood flow to the brain, therefore improving attention, reaction time, memory and problem solving skills. [3]

Antioxidants protect the brain from aging, allowing your brain to work longer. Besides containing antioxidants, chocolate promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria that in turn act as antioxidants as well. [4]

Last but not least, you should consider that the more chocolate one country consumes, the more Nobel prize winners it has! [5]

All this super positive features are contained in dark chocolate (rather than other varieties), so pay attention to what are you eating. 70% chocolate is rich in cocoa and still tastes great.

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That was the first part of brain boosting, an essential part of a Super Student life. Next time I’ll list also other fabulous alimentary products that make your brain healthier and more efficient.

 
Elalim Zen Vukovic

Author Elalim Zen Vukovic

An Italian medicine student and Science geek. Elalim participated in several science fairs worldwide and is passionate about solving the problems that affect Humanity the most. Apart from Medicine, she likes Maths, Technology, Entrepreneurship, History, Astronomy, Travelling, Music and Art.

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