Here’s a topic that is really timely and that might interest you.
“Good Nutrition to Improve your Performance during Exam Days”
The topic may pop up a few questions in your mind most probably,
Do foods have something to do with your performance?
Can the right food improve your exam performance?
There is research done on students who eat Breakfast perform better in exams. This makes your first objective of the topic.
What matters during exams is complete focus and no illness. There is no single food to help you achieve good health, but a combination of foods does as discussed below.
1. Do not skip your Breakfast
There is two scientific reasoning to it that you must know.
Firstly, Breakfast= Break your Fast that is when you wake up in the morning you had no meals for about 8 to 10 hours. So as the name suggests you need to break the overnight fast.
Secondly, your brain is an important organ of your body; it uses up to 20% of the energy that we need every day.
But when you study for your exams or any competitive exams your food often comes down the priority list.
Recently, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a program for school children named ‘Pariksha Pe Charcha 2.0’.
If you see that program you will get insights into techniques to overcome exam fear, how to improve concentration and how to cope with peer and parents pressure relating to true events by the PM.
This program in itself is a great initiative for students. If you haven’t gone through the program I can summarize it for you.
Answering to questions of students on exams our PM gave an example denoting teachings of Swami Vivekananda.
If you are all prepared for your exam and you still feel anxiety and fear till the exam ends.
You should have confidence in yourself to overcome this fear. Do yoga and meditation to remain stress-free.
Always do competition with yourself for improvement, not with others.
Talk to your parents about your interest and careers. Stay close to nature to stay healthy.
Any exam is a mental marathon in which continuous energy is needed. With the right food and drink, you can improve your concentration, alertness and maintain it through your exam days and beyond.
On the flip side to it, wrong food choices can make you feel lazy, tired and sluggish.
Now, you would like to know what food you must have in your breakfast… Right?
Before that understand some Facts about Breakfast-
- If you eat your breakfast regularly you are less likely to gain weight and less prone to develop diabetes and heart disease.
- It is also positively associated with good academic performance.
- You develop emotional quotient when you eat with your family.
2. Have a healthy Plate:
- Whole Grains: If you eat foods high in sugar like fruit juices and cakes you’ll get instant energy but it soon gets digested and makes you feel hungrier. Because these are simple carbohydrates that disturb your blood sugar levels and make you feel tired easily.
Instead, add complex carbohydrates that are digested slowly in your body and slowly releases energy and keep your stomach feel fuller for a longer time.
- Protein-Rich Foods: like yogurt, milk, eggs helps in keeping brain healthy and improves concentration. It gives a feeling of fullness for a longer time. So, you don’t feel hungry while writing your paper.
- Green Leafy Vegetables: Important to maintain Iron levels and hemoglobin levels. If you don’t eat these foods you lack focus and feel tired.
You might have heard of a cartoon character that eats ‘spinach’ and gets charged up to help people in problems. Do you remember that character? It was… Popeye.
- Fruits: Fruits are rich in fibers that slow the digestion process and you don’t feel hungry and you eat less. Also, include vitamin C rich fruits like kiwi, lemons, and oranges.
- Healthy Fats: Olive oil, mustard oil, canola oil, and nuts. White cheese in moderation.
- Water- Stay hydrated
Because 60% of our body is made up of water and there is always a need to replenish it on daily basis.
Not just plain water, you can have fruit infused water and a glass of milk, buttermilk, homemade smoothies, and plain green tea.
Hydration helps you stay focused if you don’t drink enough water one can feel tired, little concentration, headaches, and lower alertness.
It is better to avoid tea, coffee and fruit juices, and fizzy drinks. As these foods are high in sugar that disturbs your energy levels.
A study showed that if you carry a water bottle with you during exams a 5% improvement in performance was observed.
Tip: Drink water 1 hour before the exams or in between exams.
3. Snacking during Exam Days:
Stay Away from Cereal bars (High in added sugar content causes a dip in energy levels)
Go For Nuts and seed (High in protein gives you a feeling of fullness for a longer time so you don’t munch on foods).
Stay Away from Fruit Juices (Again high in added sugar)
Go For High fiber fruits like Apple, Pear; Banana (maintains blood sugar levels)
Stay Away from Chips and fries (Low in fiber content gives you an instant feeling of fullness and quickly feels hungry)
Go For Eat a handful of roasted nuts, Popcorn that are low in calories
Stay Away from Milk chocolates (High in sugar and fat)
Go For Dried fruits and dark chocolates (High in fiber and good for the brain)
4. A Good Night’s Sleep- Always have a Quality Sleep
According to research what you study now is registered as short-term memory your brain needs quality sleep to make it a permanent memory. Also if you sleep less than an hour it affects your grades by 10% decrease.
Have light meals 3 hours before you go to sleep. But, you can take milk, high fiber Dalia with dried fruits and nuts rather sugar in it.
Avoid coffee, tea, fruit juices 4 hours before bed.
Bonus: Foods that Boost Brain functions:
- Almonds-Rich in anti-oxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and may help make you smarter.
- Walnuts- Rich in DHA and omega-3 fatty acids and tops the list of nuts for brain health.
- Apple- Maintains metabolism, fights off aging and improves memory. Eating apple daily helps maintain levels of acetylcholine, a brain neurotransmitter.
- Pear- Packed with anti-oxidants, dietary fiber, cholesterol-free helps improve brain function.
- Cherries- Helps improve memory due to presence of anti-oxidants, omega-3 fatty acid.
- Cocoa-Packed with neuroprotective compounds such as theobromine and caffeine helps to cognitive health.
- Peanuts- Good source of anti-oxidant (vitamin E) have a protective effect on brain function.
- Eggs- Contain a brain compound known as choline that helps form brain neurotransmitter essential for brain function.
- Turmeric- Power medicinal herb having anti-inflammatory properties. Presence of a bioactive compound (curcumin) prevents illness.
- Spinach- Full of anti-oxidants (flavonols such as catechin, epicatechin), vitamins (A, C and K) improves brain function.
- Green tea- Green tea extracts is a power booster for brain as per research.
- Yogurt- A good source of probiotics helps improve healthy bacteria gut bacteria for gut health.
- Cheese- Helps to maintain brain function
- Avocados- Helps to improve concentration and mood.
Quick fix healthy Breakfast Ideas:
During morning time everyone is in rush to school, college or office. You can prepare foods the previous night that are convenient to eat the next morning.
For example, Plain yogurt with fruits and nuts, Omelet, Boiled eggs, low- fat milk porridge, mixed fruit salad and a homemade smoothie.
Photo credit: Vectors graphic designed by iconicbestiary (www.freepik.com)