Brain Boosting Foods to get you through Exam Week

This post was written by Kelli Diaz, a student in the Civic Agriculture and Food Systems Minor.

It’s that time of year again. Football season is over. The sun is setting sooner. Nights are getting chillier. The semester is finally at an end, and we all know what that means: Finals are here. For many of us, this time of year is usually a painful and stressful time, full of cramming, sleep sacrifices, and in some cases, even tears. Although it’s the most wonderful stressful time of the year, it is still extremely important to take care of your health. We are all aware that eating the right foods can keep us healthy and make us feel good, but did you know that some foods have “brain boosting” powers? Certain foods can help promote cognitive health, which refers to skills such as learning, memory, decision-making, and reasoning. But did you also know that Virginia Tech Dining Services offers a wide variety of fresh, nutritious, sustainable food that contains brain boosting powers?

Red meat, especially grass-finished beef, is high in the B-12 vitamin, which is vital for healthy brain function. It is an important factor for building and maintaining a healthy central nervous system. Aside from boosting memory and brainpower, the vitamin found in red meat can also raise mood levels. The Farms and Fields Project in Owens Food Court serves beef from Grayson Natural Farms.  The burgers served at the Farms and Fields Project are typically from Grayson Natural Farms.


Broccoli is also another brain super food, full of vitamin K and choline. Choline is essential to brain development and can help assist in retrieving stored memory. Vitamin K is essential to strengthening and developing cognitive function. The Dining Services Garden at Kentland Farm typically grows a whole lot of broccoli for use in the Dining Halls.  however, during the winter, we buy organic broccoli to help you load up on your vitamin K and choline and show that exam who’s boss!

This season's broccoli patch.  Broccoli for days...

This season’s broccoli patch. Broccoli for days…

Coffee can also help boost your brainpower! We all know the caffeine found in coffee keeps us energized, especially when we’re running a little low on sleep, but did you know a cup of joe right before a test can keep you alert and help sharpen your focus? Deet’s Place proudly serves direct-trade coffee from a Selva Negra Coffee Estate in Nicaragua.  But be careful! Too much coffee can make you jittery and leave you feeling sluggish.


For non coffee drinkers, Dining Services offers many Tea options to give you a small caffeine buzz.   Some of the teas served at Deet’s Place including the Ginger Tea, Peach Apricot Tea, and a few others are certified by the Ethical Tea Partnership.   The Ethical Tea Partnership works with producers to align their tea production with Fair Trade, and Rainforest Alliance Certifications while also catering to Tea producers specifically.

The end of the semester is one of the busiest times of the year, and it can sometimes be overwhelming and stressful even with the finish line so close in sight. But Sustainable Dining at Virginia Tech is here to help you make it through the home stretch!

Check out more Brain Boosting foods at the following links and best of luck on finals!!


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