Exam – the word itself sends chills down the spine of many aspirants, taking away appetite and desire to sleep. A healthy diet often slides way down on the priority list. It’s quite easy to get into the habit of gobbling pizza and glugging coffee. But actually, that’s not a good practice. Good nutrition should be part of your study plan because it’s going to help you ace upcoming exams. The better you fuel your brain, the better you’ll study.
Healthy eating habits at this stressful time can energize your system, improve your alertness and sustain you through the long exam hours. The wrong dietary choices can make you feel sluggish, jittery, or burned out. Remember the saying, ‘You are what you eat’?
So keep your body and brain well-fueled by choosing nutritious foods that have been proven to aid concentration and memory. Follow the tips for making the most of your grey matter.
1. Eat smaller, frequent meals
Eat enough to feel satisfied but not too much as to feel heavy. Small meals will give a steady supply of energy to the fatigued brain. Having larger meals will make you experience a dip in energy, feel drowsy and heavy.
2. New study buddy: wholesome breakfast
While we suggest little meals to be eaten frequently, breakfast doesn’t feature in that rundown!
You have to sustain through the rigorous periods of study and of writing the exam. A long exam is like a mental marathon in which endurance is basic. Hence, a combination breakfast of whole grains and proteins will do the trick of providing slow release of energy throughout. Sugar seems appealing, but your energy levels will crash very soon. Your brain needs the energy from food to work efficiently keeping mental focus on your exam and not on your hunger.
3. Pay attention to snacks
Smart snacking can enhance studying by retaining more. Try to sum up two food groups into your snacks to balance the nutrients and keep your blood-sugar levels stable. For example, sprouts chat, yogurt with fruits and granola, fruit-yogurt smoothie, vegetable and cheese sandwich, nuts and seeds mix well.
4. Stay well hydrated
Being thirsty can make you feel irritable, listless and distracted. Hence, it is important to stay hydrated. Coconut water, buttermilk, fruit juice, milky drinks, some special teas like chamomile tea, cannot only help meet the recommended fluid intake but also help in providing nutrients and a sense of calmness.
During exams don’t drink an excessive amount of water, a sip each hour is all you need while attempting exam.
Eat brain-boosting foods
Think of colorful berries, whole eggs, green leafy veggies, fruits, the pink of salmon, and the earthy colors from nuts and seeds!
The darker the color, the higher the nutrient contents. These foods provide every nutrient: vitamins, minerals, fibers, antioxidants, healthy carbs, even water and act as brain foods for memory. This can also include protein-rich foods which can lead to greater mental alertness.
Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in memory, concentration, even relieving depression. Studies have found omega-3 fatty acids, especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), has shown to increase the brain volume, but the miserable fact is that our body can’t make any of the omega-3 fats and therefore include oily fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, halibut, trout; seeds like flax, chia, melon seeds, sunflower in your diet to furnish its need.
6. Avoid brain blocking foods
On exam day, stay away from foods made of white flour, refined sugar which require added time and energy to digest. Also avoid certain food combinations such as protein and starch together, as they require added time to be digested together. In addition, carbs such as rice or potatoes, eaten in large quantities, can make you feel heavy and sleepy. Also avoid carbonated drinks and caffeine which can increase your nervousness. However, if you are accustomed to drinking coffee regularly, then have a small cup in morning and try to eat something healthy along with your coffee which can enhance alertness and not cause issues with sleep deprivation.
7. How to eat smarter?
Aspirants experiencing exam stress may have an increased craving for high fat and high sugar snacks. At the same time, the physiological demand of certain nutrients like Vitamin C, B5, B6, Iron, Zinc, Magnesium, Potassium and the protein Tyrosine shoots up. These are the nutrients required for the generation of stress-fighting hormones and for brain boosting. Meeting daily vitamin and mineral requirements will make things easy for you.
8. What should you eat before a test?
The key point is to eat healthy and light. Big meals keep on turning in your tummy. Hence, whole grain meals are definitely in, but not so much to make you feel lethargic or sleepy. You can have a tuna or a paneer sandwich; Chapati and paneer subji or egg vegetable bhurji with seeds and buttermilk; whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk; eggs and toast with jam; Whole grain bread roll stuffed with chicken and vegetables are some good options for a pre-exam time diet.
Good wellbeing, low stress and calmed nerves are closely related for the management of exam preparation. Nutrition plays key role factor in keeping good health and managing stress and anxiety. Being excessively nervous will obstruct the natural ability of the mind to perform. Eating routine can strongly influence the way one handles the stresses and worries of preparing and taking exams. It makes good sense to get good nutrition through a healthy diet, the one that will help you fly and score high!
07 November 2019