Southern Illinois University Carbondale

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Brain Foods

The buzz of finals is in the air and with it comes studying all night, lack of sleep, and anxiety. Did you know there are some foods that may help boost your memory? Kick-start your brain into action this finals week with these foods:


Consuming adequate amounts of vegetables, especially cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage, and dark leafy greens, may help with memory retention. Have a spinach salad and make sure you eat your broccoli this week!

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s, DHA in particular, may help with brain function. Seafood and fatty fish like salmon are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids! Swap out meat once or twice a week for fish or seafood. Have some cruciferous veggies as a side for even more brain power! Feeling adventurous? Get some flaxseed and add it to yogurt, cereal, or granola for an added omega-3 boost!


Walnuts are very heart healthy and may enhance brain function. Snack on some of these nutritious nuts while you’re studying!


Dark berries are rich in anthocyanin, antioxidants, and flavonoids that help with memory function. Since berries aren’t in season during the winter, thaw some frozen blueberries as a snack or dessert! You can also throw some dried cherries onto a spinach and walnut salad to really get your brain working!

-Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

While these foods may help with memory and brain function, they are also very nutritious and should be included in your diet anyways! Also, remember to try and fit some exercise into your study schedule. Exercise helps release endorphins in the brain, which can help you relax, improve you mood, boost energy, and help you sleep!

Good luck, Salukis!

Your University Housing Nutrition Team
Residence Hall Dining

Emily Feagans
Dietetics Graduate Assistant

Cecily Haase
Undergraduate Nutrition Intern