A recent study from the university of Reading examined flavonoids, a type of phytochemical found in some fruits and vegetables, including oranges. 24 Healthy adult males were randomly given either some flavonoid rich orange juice or a control drink, with their response speed and attention tested before, and 2 and 6 hours after.
You can probably guess just from the fact that this article exists that the ones who took the flavonoid juice did better afterwards. With a serving of 240ml, alertness fell by 6.4% over the day after the control, and fell by only 0.5% after the flavonoid orange juice. This is part of a series of study by the university. Earlier this year another study found that foods with lots of flavonoid were beneficial for the cognition of both parents and children, while another found that 8 weeks of daily consumption improved the brain functions of older adults.
It is currently unknown what flavonoids do to help concentration, though theories include increasing blood flow to your brain and increasing the efficiency of your brains neurons with transmitting signals. Personally I’m happy to hear the news as I’ve had a glass every morning for years, though it’s worth noting that there is other stuff in orange juice, like sugars and water. So it is probably best not to drink a gallon before your exams.
Still, perhaps it is time to switch out that cup of coffee for a glass of orange juice. Or if orange juice isn’t your thing, other foods with high flavonoid content include most citrus fruits and most red or dark blue/purple berries. So basically, this is one more reason to eat healthy!
For those who are curious, the study in its entirety has been published in the European Journal of Nutrition.