Schoolchildren and teenagers
Eating for exams
Exams aren’t just limited to school and education. Exams can sneak up on us when we least expect it and can affect us at any age. For example, driving tests and interview exams, as well as university and school end of year exams.
While everyone’s capacity to learn is different, there is one way to ensure your mind is ready to absorb all the information you need to pass – eating the right food.
Stress, late nights, lack of sleep and missed meals will play havoc with your brain and your ability to concentrate. To beat the stress and maximise your potential, follow our food advice and make the most of your mind.
“Keep calm and carry on eating”
It is important to stay calm and relaxed. It can be hard to stay calm when your test is days away, but being stressed can have a negative effect on your appetite.
Try not to ignore the feelings of hunger and eat regular meals. Make breakfast the most filling, important meal of the day by cooking some energy-boosting porridge. If you’re really hungry, choose eggs. Eggs contain a nutrient called choline, which is thought to help improve memory and cognitive performance. For dinner, salmon is a great option. It is a source of omega-3 essential fatty acids and the many health benefits of fish include boosting brain function. If you’re not keen on fish, try flaxseeds for an alternative source of omega-3s.
Eat for energy
You might be tempted to reach for a sugary chocolate bar in the afternoon, but this will only lead in a blood sugar crash later on. The sugar will give you a temporary high, but you will probably feel tired shortly after. Instead, choose healthy snacks – our favourites include blueberries and raspberries or apple slices with peanut butter.
Pumpkin seeds and walnuts are also thought to have a positive effect on the brain, as they are rich in vitamin E and zinc. Try to have these on hand next time hunger strikes!
It is recommended we aim to drink around 1.2 litres a day. To keep the body functioning, water is the best option. Water is the reason many of the chemical reactions in the body takes place and therefore controls the speed our brains work. If you become dehydrated, the brain will struggle to process all of your hard work and will start to function slowly.
Hydration tip: Keep a big bottle of water beside you throughout the day. Mark time slots on the bottle when you need to be drinking, this way you are keeping to a schedule and drinking regularly.
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