You’ve heard the expression “brain food” right? Well, there are certain foods that that’ll kick your mind into gear. Here’s a quick list from the book Food & Mood by dietician Elizabeth Somer – what to eat when:

  • Like if you have a job interview and you need to stay sharp and focused, despite your nerves.  About half an hour before your meeting, grab a grilled chicken wrap – hold the mayo. Why does that help? Because 5 ounces of protein is enough to help your brain create neurochemicals that keep you alert, calm and focused.
  • Next, let’s say tomorrow’s a big day – maybe your wedding day – and you want to get some shut eye so you can be rested. Eat this: Air-popped popcorn, no butter, half an hour before you go to bed. Why? The popcorn will induce your body to make serotonin – a neurochemical that relaxes you. But you can’t have any butter or pop it in oil, because the fat in both of those will slow the process down.  
  • So what should you eat when you’re on a date and feeling insecure? A snack-size chocolate bar when your date excuses themselves to the bathroom. Why? Because chocolate contains a bunch of chemicals that brighten your mood. Including one that specifically targets the brain receptors that produce a cozy, euphoric feeling.  
  • And one last food fix – you have to take a test, but you’re stressed out because you can’t remember what you studied. For the stress, munch a handful of sesame seeds. Stress depletes your body’s supply of magnesium, reducing your ability to cope – but sesame seeds are loaded with magnesium. And for the forgetfulness, have some pineapple chunks. The antioxidants in pineapple help pick off the free radicals that wear down your memory.

So let’s review: For a job interview – eat a chicken wrap to stay alert and focused. The night before your wedding – eat air-popped popcorn before bed to calm you down so you can rest. On a date – have a mini-chocolate bar at the ready, to brighten your mood. And before a test – munch sesame seeds and pineapple chunks to help you cope with stress and improve your recall.