Food for Thought

Samantha Sinensky ’21

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Having completed self-reflection, repentance, and celebrating in the Sukkah, we are off to a great start for the new school year. In order to achieve our goals, our minds have to be open and our brains functioning at maximum capacity. After the “break-fast,” we should consider analyzing our breakfast.

Breakfast is often regarded as the most important meal, setting the course for a productive day. After hours without eating when asleep, glucose levels in the body are low– so low that skipping breakfast compromises the ability to focus in class and retain information. If we do not replenish properly, the feeling of sluggishness accumulates throughout the day. Because the body craves carbohydrates as an energy source, we find ourselves buying junk food from the vending machines at 11 a.m. Consuming breakfast has been proven to aid in concentration and better performance on math, reading and science tests. In the long term, consistently eating breakfast every morning has been linked to better attendance at school and classroom behavior, both of which contribute to a better learning environment.

Starting the morning off with a “brain-focused” diet is essential for learning and test taking. Eating right is much cheaper than a tutor, and more accessible. Here are some of the top foods that have been proven to boost brain function:

  1. Berries – Easy to put in a morning oatmeal or cereal, berries are loaded with antioxidants, chemicals that inhibit potential damage by free radicals. Berries also provide glucose, the body’s initial source of energy, without a drastic rise in blood sugar. Additionally, berries improve memory, a helpful skill for a high school student, and especially when studying for a history test.
  2. Walnuts – This nut contains high levels of vitamin E, helping to protect brain cells. Studies have shown that walnuts lower stress and have high amounts of  DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid. This improves overall mental health in attention and learning.
  3. Avocado – Commonly known as “good fat,” avocados are packed with vitamin C, increasing blood flow to the brain. Avocados have also been linked to higher lutein levels, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Studies have revealed improvement in memory, speed, and attention span.

If you are still paying attention, you are ahead of the curve, but, don’t be complacent. Think brain food, and watch your stamina, concentration, and focus improve. Think about how you kick-start your day with food, and it is a “no brainer.”

What do you eat for breakfast on a school day?

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