It’s test season, and you’ve been at Club Anschutz for hours. You had a crunchy chicken cheddar wrap and waffle fries for lunch, followed by several liters of mediocre coffee. The fluorescent light bulb flickering above is giving you a headache--or is it from the coffee? The frat daddies sitting at the table next to you won’t stop talking the pregame they’re having this weekend. Your groufit is littered with stains. You’re tired. You’re giving up hope. We’ve all been there.
Everyone has their “spot,” their favorite study snacks, their go-to coffee shop. You might think you have it figured out, but it’s time for some new study habits — before yours become too “sacred.” Here’s the expert scoop on the best bites, beverages and backdrops for studying.
Get the most out of your study snacks:
Dark chocolate — Find Ritter Sport for $3.50 at Au Marche, The European Market, 931 Mass. St.
Who doesn’t need a sweet treat while cramming for an exam? When choosing something like a candy bar, make sure you’re opting for dark chocolate over milk chocolate. According to Heather Fiore, a registered dietitian at Free State Nutrition, the flavanols in dark chocolate can increase vascular function and lower blood pressure. That means there’s more blood flowing to your brain after eating it. So, having a few bites of dark chocolate can help you relax when you’re feeling stressed.
Edamame — Find it salted or spicy for $3.50 at Tokyo Sushi, 619 Mass. St.
If you’re the kind of studier who likes to munch, grab a handful of edamame. An article from Johns Hopkins Medicine says soy beans like edamame contain folates, which contribute to levels of serotonin, putting you in a better mood. They also contain magnesium that can decrease headaches and migraines, so you can put down those pills when you’re going through caffeine withdrawal.
Get the most out of your study drinks:
Smoothies — Find the Luckyberry Acai smoothie ($5.99-$7.99) at Luckyberry, 845 Mass. St.
Healthy food is brain food. However, there aren’t many college students who make the time to meal prep or even shop for groceries when they have an upcoming test or paper. Sometimes the most efficient and convenient way to feel nourished is by slurping on a smoothie. Dr. Jae Hee Kang, an instructor at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, conducted a study on the effects leafy greens have on the brain. “Dark green leafy greens have vitamins such as folate, which is important for brain function,” Fiore says. So throw some spinach in your smoothie, too.
Peppermint tea — Find it for $3.27 at Mana Bar Exotic Beverage Lounge, 1111 Mass. St.
Let’s be honest: coffee will always be number one in our hearts, but guzzling down that sweet caffeinated nectar can lead to stomach aches, headaches or nausea. To avoid these symptoms, turn to something more natural. Peppermint tea has been found to decrease bloating, nausea and headaches. It can even help you concentrate. A group of researchers from the Human Cognitive Neuroscience Unit at the University of Northumbria conducted a study that showed the aroma from peppermint capsules can “enhance memory and increase alertness.” So throw out that coffee pot, you don’t need it anymore! (Just kidding, that would be crazy.)
Get the most out of your study space:
Natural light — Sit outside on the deck at Decade, 920 Delaware St.
Nope, I’m not talking about pee-flavored beer. Natural daylight is beneficial for numerous reasons, including increased energy and productivity. According to a study from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, “employees working in environments with natural light recorded higher levels of energy than those in artificially-lit workplaces.” Natural light also helps prevent eye strain, promote restful sleep, and alleviate stress. Take this as your cue to gtfo out the stacks.
Plants — Enjoy them at Greenhouse Cafe, 1012 Mass. St.
Why do you think so many Instagram models cover their rooms with houseplants? A NASA study found that “plants emit water vapor that creates a pumping action to pull contaminated air down around a plant’s roots,” and then making it into plant food. Not only will plants clean the air of toxins, but they will also help improve your mental wellness. Addison Sauvan at Greenhouse Cafe agrees. “Plants do something really special for some people (myself included),” Sauvan says. “They make me feel like I'm in an inviting space, something warm that says, ‘I'm alive in here, you can be too.’” You shouldn’t just be eating greens, you should be sitting near them too.