The ‘Exam’ Diet

By now you do know that what you eat and drink affects ‘YOU’ – yes, definitely apart from your weight, it affects your mind, your mood and your ability to perform well in your Exam. Then I am sure you will be wondering – What is the best diet to follow on exam day? Can food and drink really influence my child’s result? Do you think ‘Food for Thought’ is just a random phrase? 😉

It’s the time of year when all that matters are Marks, Marks and more Marks. Answering your questions – YES – eating well definitely provides an added edge – during this rat-race where even half a mark can be a difference between Rank 1 and 2!

In the whole ‘Exam’ tension – we forget good nutrition. We OD on coffee (arre – don’t we have to stay up all night!), eat whatever we can lay our hands on (I need to munch – otherwise how do I study) – such and many more are the tales told. We think we can trick the brain and the body by eating these things to “keep energy levels up”. But we forget – who is more ‘shaana’ 😉 :p (smart!) However, this is not only harmful to your long-term health, but can also negatively affect your exam performance

Just like studying right from Day 1 (instead of burning candles at both ends a month before exam), eating sensibly right from the beginning helps you ace your tests. The better the fuel your brain gets, the better you will study and quicker you will remember and will be able to recall it quickly when writing your exam – instead of blanking out.

So how do I keep my brain running a fab marathon? Few tips –

Eat at regular intervals. Eating regular meals helps keep nutrient and energy levels more stable, and so you will not suddenly land up snacking on the crunchy munchy chips 😉

Avoid Packaged Processed Foods. Eat food and snacks made at home. Resist the temptation to eat packaged foods – be it chips or biscuits or anything. These foods will send you off on energy highs and lows — creating the exact opposite of a consistent stable high energy that you need during your long exam to perform well. So, a fresh homemade snack – beats all these meals hands down not just in taste but also the nutritional value of the food, and also in the way your brain and body respond to it.

Eat small, balanced meals. Eating large meals will slow you down, mentally and physically. Typically when you eat a large meal, you feel sleepy, because a lot of your blood flow is directed to your digestive system instead of the brain to digest the heavy meal. To keep your brain active – eat smart – eat small – you should feel light and active, more alert and refreshed after eating. This way you study well, are able to concentrate better and remember faster.

Start your day with a fruit. Fruit ranks high among the best foods you can eat for your brain. Eat any fruit – a fruit of your choice – because the natural sugar in fruit offers clean sustained and more stable energy, so you don’t experience the sudden drop in energy that typically follows once you have had tea or coffee (which is why you end up having cups after cups of tea/coffee – because your energy yo-yos from high to low).

Drink lots of water. Water is very important. Dehydration can make you lose your concentration, feel faint, and drain your energy. Don’t wait till you’re thirsty to drink a glass of water. If you wait till you’re thirsty, it means your body is already a little dehydrated.

Don’t try any new foods, drinks, or supplements. Often we end up trying new super foods just before the exam because it is highly recommended by friends or family or some research. For your own sake avoid it. You don’t know how your body responds to them and you don’t want any surprises on exam day. Stick with food and drink your body is used 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 fatigued brains. For your brain to function well it needs rest too. Apart from eating right, brain needs a good restful sleep. If the brain is exhausted very often you end up forgetting everything or mixing up answers or just going blank the minute you start to write your paper.

So – eat well, sleep well and All the Best! 🙂

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