With standardized tests among us, there are some foods that have been shown to be best for concentration, memory and focus.  When I was teaching, I always told the students to eat something with rosemary which is linked to memory (8).  Taken orally at a dosage of 500 mg two times daily, participants saw gains in both recollection and recall for the future, such as remembering to perform a task. Check out these top foods to incorporate regularly in your family’s diet and consider them for breakfast the morning of a test or performance.


Berries have been shown to enhance brain signaling. This means they help with communication between cells, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress (2).  Overtime they help reduce cognitive decline and help with motor function (1).

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Eggs are one of the best sources of choline out there, and choline is required to synthesize the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is linked to memory and attention (2).

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Nuts are connected to cognitive performance as well. One of the first studies was done on rats, showing that those who consumed walnuts had improvements in working memory (3). Nut consumption over time also showed improved cognition in older adults (4)

Cognition is a group of mental processes that includes attention, producing and understanding language, learning, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making (3)

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Dark chocolate

Here is another reason to eat chocolate, but dark chocolate in particular:  Studies have reported that “chocolate intake is associated with better cognitive function.”  Cocoa and chocolate products contain flavonoids that gather in the regions of the brain involved in learning and memory (5).

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Fatty fish contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to cognitive function (6).  Omega-3s are made up of DHA and EPA, which are critical for normal cognitive function. DHA and EPA, which are recommended for pregnant women to take, are believed to play a role in the development of baby’s brain. DHA especially is linked to memory and learning.

DHA participates in a number of neuronal processes including neurogenesis, neuroplasticity, neuron differentiation and survival, membrane integrity and fluidity  (7)”

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Most of these foods have been studied with consistent consumption which is a consideration for your routine, but even consumption before a large effort is considered helpful.  What are some breakfasts to consider before a big test?  Smoked salmon topped with two eggs and avocado, with a side of berries and nuts, and maybe a few pieces of dark chocolate? Any of the choices above incorporated into a protein rich meal would be smart.


(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22264107

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2659740/

(3) https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/100/suppl_1/347S/4576446

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18778529

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26873453

(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805706/

(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4727338/

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/29389474/?i=3&from=rosemary%20memory



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