The article is in continuation to the article on ‘Fight Exam stress with good nutrition’.
Eating right and having a well balanced diet is always important but it attains utmost importance during exams. The nutrients which help in combating stress and improving your child’s memory and alertness during exams are-
- Proteins -One of the most important exam nutrient is protein. Include good quality protein in the form of pulses, chicken fish, eggs, nuts and milk in your diet. Thinking is a biochemical process and for the signals to get transferred from one neuron to another there are certain chemicals called neurotransmitters in our brain. The key neurotransmitters like acetylcholine and dopamine are created by amino acids present in proteins. Therefore, adding proteins in your diet work wonders during the examinations, especially the morning when the child has his paper. You can easily add protein in form of salads (such as sprouts salad,) sandwiches (with chicken or egg white), curds, cheese, soybeans (which can be made into cutlets) by adding soy flour to wheat flour while making rotis.
- Carbohydrates-The brain is powered by energy which comes from broken down food. The primary source of energy for the brain is glucose which comes from carbohydrate rich foods like breads , rice and chapattis. The brain’s energy stores are very small, so to keep it functioning at its best, it needs constant glucose as replacement. And the best sources of the carbohydrate would be the complex carbs such as whole grains, sprouted beans and fruits. When you eat a candy or drink soft drinks, they break down too quickly into glucose. This sudden increase in blood glucose levels pushes the pancreas to secrete more insulin and this all leads to a sugar spike which is then followed with sugar drop and you start feeling depressed and lethargic. A key neurotransmitter, serotonin is also released after ingestion of starchy foods and vegetables.
- Good fats– Fats are major component of brain cell membrane and make up the myelin sheath around each nerve. Adequate amount of fat and the right kinds can greatly affect the brain power during examination. The good sources of this right kind of fat would be nuts like almond and walnuts, seeds like sesame seeds(or til seeds) and pumpkin seeds , oil like olive oil and fish
- Among vitamins, the important ones during examination are Vit C (helps in immunity building) and Vitamin B(which help in the manufacture and release of neurotransmitters).
- Critical minerals would include iron (which is required to carry oxygen to the brain cells) and zinc(which is known to protect you from forgetfulness)
Also, we need to ensure that the foods which cause a brain drain and work against our child’s efforts are best avoided. These brain draining and lethargy inducing foods would be sugary drinks, processed foods made from white sugar and white flour, and fried foods. Avoiding too hot and spicy food preparations is also recommended as they might irritate the child’s digestive functions.
So, let’s feed our child’s mind with correct dietary options and am sure pre exam blues would soon disappear and your child would sail through his exams with flair! All the best!