To succeed in law school (and survive 1L), your brain needs to be in tip-top shape. That means giving your brain the foods and drinks it needs to achieve peak performance. These foods and drinks will give your brain the nutrients you need to stay focused, boost your memory, and approach class and studying with energy.
Eat This in Law School
Whole Grain Cereal
Start your day with a bowl of whole grain cereal to get your day off to the right start or as a mid-day pick-me-up. Per Health, whole grain cereals contain fiber that helps with digestion and keeps you full and also keeps your blood sugar from spiking. As Registered Dietician and founder of The NY Nutrition Group Lisa Koskovitz told Eat This, Not That, “High-fiber whole grain cereals slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream which ultimately translates to more consistent energy levels throughout the day.” Time to add Cheerios to your grocery list!
Oranges and Grapefruits
Per Livestrong, oranges and grapefruits contain high levels of Vitamin C, which give you an energy boost. Vitamin C helps your body produce amino acids, which keep your energy levels in check. Pairing Vitamin C with iron also helps the body absorb the iron, so try pairing an orange or grapefruit with an iron-rich food like spinach for a one-two punch.
According to Eat This, Not That, pumpkin seeds give you a healthy dose of protein and fiber. And, per the BBC, pumpkin seeds contain energizing minerals like magnesium, which diffuses stress, and zinc, which enhances memory. They’re an easy snack to throw in a ziplock bag and bring to the library to eat plain or to sprinkle atop a bowl of cereal, yogurt, or a salad.
The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon can help with memory, as health coach Lori Shemek told Health. The omega-3 fatty acids “strengthen the synapses in your brain related to memory,” says Shemek, and “[t]he protein in salmon contains amino acids, which are essential for keeping your brain focused and sharp.” Eat salmon for lunch or dinner to lock in these benefits!
Per the Huffington Post, broccoli is good for your brain, thanks to a compound that promotes the growth and repair of brain tissue. Long term, broccoli can fight against Alzheimer’s and, in the short term, according to BBC, the Vitamin K in broccoli enhances cognitive function and boosts brainpower.
According to Prevention, beets contain nitrates that increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, improving brain functionality. These sweet vegetables are great in a salad or roasted as a side at dinner.
As reported by Men’s Journal, nuts “may very well be the perfect snack.” In particular, walnuts boost heart and brain power thanks to their levels of alpha-linolenic acid. And cashews have a healthy amount of copper, which absorbs iron and makes energy. Easy to pack and eat on the go, nuts are the perfect snack for the library or coffee shop. Just be sure to keep your portion sizes in check, as nuts contain significant levels of fat.
According to the BBC, blueberries are your friend when it comes to warding off short-term memory loss. So, if you’re cramming for a test, blueberries may be the perfect complementary snack.
Dark chocolate may be the snack you need to boost your concentration. As clinical dietician Natalie Stephens told Health, “Dark chocolate boosts serotonin and endorphin levels, which are associated with greater concentration.” This dessert’s antioxidants and minerals also help control blood pressure, while its lower sugar levels compared to other types of chocolate will keep your blood sugar in check. Indulgent and functional? Yes, please!
Per Prevention, cinnamon makes you feel more alert and less frustrated. Add a dash of cinnamon to your cappuccino to elicit this result, or keep a sprig of cinnamon in your purse for when you need a hit!
Drink This in Law School
When you’re feeling worn down, don’t overlook this basic! Dehydration can cause tiredness. So, your first defense against the urge to snooze is filling up on a nice cold glass of H2O. Free and satisfying, it’s nature’s most perfect beverage.
According to The Tea Association of the United States, drinking tea helps with focus and alertness. The amino acid L-theanine found in tea is to thank. Studies have linked the consumption of tea with “improvements in mild cognitive impairments” and “self-reported measure of alertness.” The association concludes that: “Caffeine and L-theanine in tea may offer cognitive benefits and improve mental clarity and work performance. A cross-sectional study showed that participants who consumed more tea felt less tired and reported higher levels of subjective work performance.” Brew a cuppa to enjoy these benefits and more.
Law school is hard, but functional foods and drinks like these can help your body conquer these three demanding years. Bon appetit!