Exam season is always a hectic season for everyone involved; the kids, parents, and even the teachers!
When you're faced with a pile of revision, feeding your body as well as your brain may be the last thing on your mind. But can you give yourself an advantage simply by eating certain foods? And does drinking plenty of water really increase your chances of getting good grades?
Whether you're a student or the parent of a child sitting school exams, are there quick and easy food tips to help maintain those all-important energy levels and improve concentration and memory?
Research shows that pupils and students who eat breakfast perform better in exams. For the best breakfast, include slow-release carbohydrates, such as whole rolled porridge oats, whole grain bread or low-sugar muesli, as they provide slow-release energy. Add a protein food, such as milk, curd or eggs, to keep you feeling full for longer. On exam day aim to include a portion of a food rich in long-chain Omega-3 fats, such as smoked mackerel, as they are believed to have brain-boosting properties.
Research has shown that the better and healthier we eat the better we feel and the more we can focus at the task at hand. People who rely on sugary fixes too often, drink too much coffee, or eat fatty foods are at risk of being sluggish, jittery or feeling burned out. When studying for exams we can be inclined to stay up late, and forget to eat and drink properly because of the stress. But bad eating habits before and during exams will leave you with less energy both mentally and physically.
No matter what your diet, vegan, dairy-free, vegetarian or carnivore, good nutrition will always keep you at your optimum and help you concentrate better.
Good nutrition in the lead up to exams will boost mental alertness and help you deal better with long hours of study and pre-test stress.
WHAT ARE THE BEST FOODS TO EAT WHEN STUDYING?
1. SMART SNACKS THAT INCLUDES:
- Grains – wholegrain cereal, crackers, cereal bars
- Vegetables – raw veggies (carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes), vegetable juice
- Fruits – berries, apples or pear wedges,banana, dried fruit, fruit juice
- Milk – cheese slices or cubes, yoghurt, milk, frozen yoghurt, milk-based desserts
- Meat and Beans – Nuts, peanut butter, hard-boiled eggs, chicken, cold meat, tuna
2. INCLUDE DARK GREEN VEGETABLES IN YOUR MEAL:
The darker the vegetable, the higher the concentration of nutrients.
3. KEEP YOURSELF HYDRATED:
It is important to stay hydrated. Ideally drinking 1.5 liters of water a day is recommended. Coconut water, buttermilk, milky drinks, some special teas like chamomile tea can not only help meet the recommended fluid intake but also help in providing nutrients and provide a sense of calm.
4. Avoid sugar
We are all guilty of eating high fat high sugar snacks sometimes, such as muffins, chocolate, or pastries when we are stressed out and have not prepared any food. High fat/sugar items take time for your stomach to digest and will leave you feeling sluggish.
5. Eat brain-boosting food.
This includes protein-rich foods which can lead to greater mental alertness. Healthy food choices on exam day include eggs, nuts, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Good breakfast combinations might be whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, eggs and toast with jam, porridge, oatmeal, or sugar-free muesli.
And Most important, Don't forget to Get enough sleep. Many students get into the habit of studying late into the night, hoping to cram in a little more information into their already exhausted brains. Instead, on the night before the exam, stop studying in the early evening. After that, take it easy, eat your dinner, lay out your clothes for the next day, pack your bag, take a shower, set a couple of alarms and head to bed early.