You know the scenario: you finished work or school and haven’t eaten all afternoon. You walk by a vendor peddling junk food. A quick fix of pork rinds, a candy bar and soda and the hunger is gone. And it was cheap! No harm, no foul right?

But the repercussions of what we eat linger with us. Fat cells make us think we’re full, soda causes our body to become acidic and leeches out good minerals we need for good brain function. And high fructose corn syrup makes us hungrier and hungrier. What happens then? We eat more and more and our blood sugar goes on a rollercoaster ride to make us tired and unable to pay attention.

Basically, we get fat and stupid. Fat cells also create a chronic inflammation in the body that affect our overall health as well as our ability to learn. A vicious cycle: tired, hungry, junk food, more fat cells, more fatigue and more junk food.

But we can turn this around!

Smart foods (and smart snacks) can make us smarter. Brains need fuel and that fuel is smart fuel.

So what kind of brain food (that is affordable) are we talking about?

Bigger fish may contain all kinds of heavy metals. But that’s not as true with small fish, sardines, salmon and shellfish. Our brains need the omega 3 fatty acids and these fish have the most.

Let’s move on to seeds and nuts, like walnuts (they don’t look like brains for nothing!). The magnesium found in nuts is critical for the brain and also the body. (Muscles need magnesium too.)

Fruits and vegetables certainly contribute to healthy brain function—but they must be organic so we don’t absorb those toxic pesticides. What good is a head of broccoli if it’s full of neurotoxic pesticides?

Fresh organic fruits like apples, oranges and bananas are good for keeping our blood sugar stable, keeping weight off and giving us more energy. Then we can think better, play better and become smarter. This applies especially to students with young brains still in formation: they simply must eat well for optimum learning and success.

It’s time to look past the sneaky marketing tricks that lure us into eating junk foods. There are real, smart foods out there that can improve your health and maintain your focus so you can truly succeed.

Other smart foods include: fish, almonds, walnuts, ginger, apples, blueberries, mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, watermelon, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, cantaloupe, hummus, carrot, eggs and lean meats with high protein, peanuts (but not too much and no peanut butter with sugar added), organic whole wheat, old-fashioned grains (like buckwheat, spelt, quinoa, and kamut) are high in protein.

Be sure to avoid high fructose corn syrup in all your drinks and foods and go for filtered fresh water.

You can be the best in class, the best on your team and the best in your team.

Prof. Dr. Dana F. Flavin, Dr. med univ,