It takes a lot of brain power to code, and as the brain takes up about 20% of the body’s calories, it’s super important to eat the right foods to stay energised and healthy! The Coding Lab team has assembled the best list of brain foods that you can eat to keep those brain cells active – check them out below. 🧠💪

Image of Brain Food: Eggs

1. Eggs

A breakfast staple for many, eggs are a good source of several nutrients (like vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and choline) tied to brain health! 

The egg yolks in eggs are rich in choline, which is an important micronutrient needed by our bodies to help regulate mood and memory. The B vitamins that eggs contain also help to slow down the progression of mental decline, synthesise brain chemicals and regulate the sugar levels in the brain. 

If coding’s on your to-do list for the day, make sure to start it right – with a sunny side up!

2. Dark chocolate

Flavonoids present in the cocoa in dark chocolate are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. Antioxidants are able to help prevent oxidative stress, which contributes to age-related cognitive decline as they damage cells in the body. In short, antioxidants often go hand-in-hand with anti-aging.

Dark chocolate is also known to contain less sugar than other types of chocolate, and with the presence of polyphenols – which help to improve insulin sensitivity – they help to control our blood sugar levels.

Now that you know the goodness dark chocolate brings, don’t forget to set aside a few bars for your next coding session! 

Image of Brain Food: Dark Chocolate
Image of Brain Food: Fatty Fish

3. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish is abundant in Omega-3. The Omega-3 fatty acids are capable of building cell membranes in the body, like those in the eyes and the brain. Thus, they are able to improve our vision as well as the structure of our brain cells – known as neurons – which are vital in transmitting information between the brain and the rest of the nervous system. 

Read: 5 Tips to Better Eye Health

Foods rich in Omega-3s are also great for improving concentration and cognitive functioning, hence further enhancing your ability to process and think when coding!

Try out this recipe: Lemon Dijon Baked Salmon and Potatoes

Credit: AverieCooks

Ingredients:
• 8 medium sized (or 900 to 1130 grams of) russet potatoes, halved or quartered into 1-inch pieces
• 5 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 57 grams unsalted butter, melted
• 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
• 2 to 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• Four 170 grams skin on salmon fillets
• Fresh parsley (optional for garnishing)

Instructions:
1. Preheat your oven to ~220°C (425°F). Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminium foil for easier cleanup and spray with cooking spray. Add the potatoes and evenly drizzle 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Evenly season with salt and pepper and toss with your hands to combine and evenly coat. Bake for 15 minutes or until potatoes are about 75% done.
2. While the potatoes are baking, in a small microwavable bowl, heat up the butter for about 45 seconds. Add the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and stir to combine; set aside. 
3. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip the potatoes to ensure even cooking. Add the salmon-fillets skin-down, evenly drizzle with the remaining 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil and nestle the potatoes around the salmon.
4. Evenly drizzle about two-thirds of the lemon butter Dijon mixture over the salmon fillets. Evenly drizzle the remaining one-third over the potatoes.
5. Evenly season the salmon with salt and pepper, to taste.
6. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the salmon and potatoes are done. The salmon should flake easily and the potatoes should be fork-tender. 
7. Garnish with parsley (optional) and serve immediately. Recipe is best fresh but will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.

4. Berries

Berries are delicious to snack on and they’re full of fibre, vitamins and minerals. They’ll definitely give your brain a boost of energy – set a bowl of good berries next to you on your next coding session and you’re set for a productive time.

Some berries that you can easily get from your nearest market are:
✓ Strawberries
✓ Blueberries
✓ Raspberries
✓ Cranberries
✓ Grapes

Image of Brain Food: Berries
Image of Brain Food: Whole Grains

5. Whole grains

Whole grains are good sources of vitamin E which has powerful antioxidant properties. As a fat-soluble antioxidant, it’s able to cross the blood-brain barrier and protect fats from oxidation, hence reducing oxidative stress on the brain! 

Some examples of whole grains include:
✓ Brown rice
✓ Oatmeal
✓ Whole-wheat bread
✓ Whole-wheat pasta
✓ Whole-wheat crackers

Got a few ripe bananas sitting on your kitchen counter? Whip ’em up into a loaf of delicious banana bread!

Try out this recipe: Easy Banana Bread

Credit: SimplyRecipes

Ingredients:
• 2 to 3 ripe bananas, peeled (about 160 to 192 grams mashed)
• 76 grams unsalted butter, melted
• 1 large egg, beaten
• 150 grams sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Pinch of salt
• 204 grams of all-purpose flour

Instructions:
1. Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F), and butter a 4×8-inch loaf pan.
2. In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until completely smooth. Stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas.
3. Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour.
4. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour at 175°C (350°F), or until a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.
5. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Afterwards, remove the banana bread from the pan and let cool completely before slicing and serving.

6. Vegetables

Eat up those greens! Although different vegetables exert their effects on the brain through different mechanisms, they share the common trend of having antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective properties. An example would be cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts that contain compounds which can prevent oxidative damage and fight cancer cells!

Do you have trouble getting your kids to eat those greens? We’ve got a trick up our sleeves for you. Check out this amazing cauliflower rice recipe below!

Image of cauliflower
Try out this recipe: Cauliflower Rice (Super easy!)

Credit: MinimalistBaker

Ingredients:
• Pine cauliflower

Instructions:
1. Wash and thoroughly dry cauliflower, then remove all the greens.
2. You can choose to either use a box grater or a food processor! If using a box grater, cut the cauliflower into large chunks and use the medium-sized holes of the box grater to grate into ‘rice’. If using a food processor, cut into small pieces and use the grater attachment to grate the cauliflower into ‘rice’.
3. Transfer to a clean paper towel and press to remove any moisture (that can make your dish soggy!)
4. You can enjoy your cauliflower rice cooked or raw! You can cook your cauliflower rice by sautéing in a pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Cover with a lid to make the cauliflower stems more tender! Cook for a total of 5-8 minutes and season as desired.
5. You can use cauliflower rice in recipes that call for rice – like fried rice! You can store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Uncooked cauliflower rice can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.

We hope that these foods will keep your minds sharp and more focused when coding! Make sure to include them in your shopping list for the next time you go to the market and don’t forget to share this with your friends and family! 😉


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