A common mistake many students make during this crucial period is to eat poorly and unhealthily. Junk food, lots of chocolate, energy drinks and crisps are often eaten in place of normal meals to “keep energy levels up”. However, this is not only harmful to your long-term health, but can also negatively affect your exam performance.
When you’re studying good nutrition often slides way down on the priority list. It’s easy to get into the habit of glugging coffee and gobbling take-out pizza, because you don’t want to waste time on food preparation. But, actually, good nutrition should be part of your study plan because it’s going to help you ace those tests. The better the fuel your brain gets, the better you’ll study. It’s a…well…no-brainer.
Here are my top five foods to eat during the most stressful period of your academic year...
- How do I eat smarter?
Meeting daily vitamin and mineral requirements will make doing your best much easier. Iron and B vitamins are especially important to maintaining the physical and mental energy necessary to study well. Iron-containing foods include cereals and spinach. Foods that contain B vitamins include whole-grains and nuts.
- Vitamin C.
Dietary supplements are good, but real food is better. An orange contains not only Vitamin C, but also fiber, beta carotene and other minerals — so it can’t be replaced by a pill. When you’re heading for the library, pack whole-food items like apples, bananas, carrot sticks or dried apricots.
- Eat at regular intervals.
Eating regular meals helps keep nutrient and energy levels more stable, curbing the temptation of empty-calorie snacks in the vending machine. You might find that eating the standard three-big-meals-a-day slows you down mentally and physically. Consider 5 or 6 well-balanced, smaller meals, like toast spread with peanut butter or a piece of cheese with fruit.
- Meet breakfast, your new study buddy.
While much is said about there reasons to eat breakfast, less known are the best ways to eat smart in the morning. Coffee and a donut just don’t cut it. The idea is to get some protein, calcium, fibre and a piece of fruit or a vegetable in there. So, a bowl of cereal with milk and a piece of fruit would do the trick. Or try a cereal bar with milk. We have some additional quick breakfast ideas for you to enjoy! Fruit ranks high among the best foods you can eat for your brain. The natural sugars in fruit offer clean energy, so you don’t experience the crash that follows consumption of refined sugar.
- Vegetables & fruit
This is pretty self-explanatory; we all know that more vegetables and fruit provide much-needed minerals, ions, vitamins, liquids and also help relieve. Vegetables and fruit are also low in calories, delicious and can give you an energy boost when you are working away at revising, since they contain fructose and healthy sugars your body can convert into energy. Top snacking fruits: apples, bananas, avocadoes, berries.
- Stay well hydrated.
Choose your beverages well, though. Caffeine and sugar should be kept to a minimum. Since too much caffeine can make you jittery, try to drink moderate amounts: 400 to 450 mg per day, the equivalent of 2/2.5 cups, (16 to 20 ounces or 500 to 625 ml). Better choices include water, fruit juice, milk, and anti-oxidant-rich green.
Alright, it isn’t technically a food (though it is for a minority of Very Busy People) but I think it’s only fair to say that coffee gets me through the toughest of exams. Avoid stomach-churning energy drinks, and go for a cup of coffee instead – even the smell will make you feel more awake! And while drinking too much coffee is certainly bad for you, research has also shown that a few cups a day can actually be beneficial. Warning: do not overdose!
Stay fit .. Stay ahead!