Amidst revision sessions and study guides, the idea of eating healthily around exam time can often fall by the wayside.
It’s easy to think that, just for now, a diet of pizza and chocolate will be enough to see the exams through.
However, there are a few key things to remember about your diet in the run-up to any exam:
1. Just keep eating
This might seem a strange one, but you’d be surprised how many pupils push eating to one side and say they’ll ‘do it later’.
It can feel like eating is something you don’t have time for, but it should really be the one thing you do make time for. Without energy and nutrients, your concentration will break down.
As the Irish Nutrition and Dietetics Institute points out:
Keeping a steady supply of glucose (energy) throughout the day will ensure you do not lose concentration during both your study and exam time.
Just keep eating, just keep studying.
2. No skipping breakfast
Think about it – when you wake up, your brain has been starved of nutrients for hours. How is it supposed to function without some quality nutrients being delivered first thing in the morning?
You might argue that you’re not a breakfast person but ask yourself why that is. If it’s because you feel you don’t have time, there are plenty of small and quick options that will get you those nutrients quickly.
Try these ideas out for size.
3. Support your immune system
You might have noticed in the past that, when you’re stressed, you’re more likely to catch cold. That’s not a coincidence.
As Dr. Michelle Murti, a public health physician with Public Health Ontario, comments:
People who had more significant stressors seemed to also get more sick compared to people who didn’t.
So, the more stressed you get, the more stretched your immune system is.
This comes down to two points: firstly, make sure that you keep your stress levels down by making time for fun and, secondly, eat fruit, vegetables and wholegrains to support your immune system.
4. Snack smart
A sugar high might feel good while you’re riding the wave, but, once you crash, it doesn’t bode well for your concentration.
Avoid snacks that are loaded with refined sugar and stick to those that are both healthier and can boost your physical or mental health at the same time.
It’s the equivalent of optimising your study time to make sure your brain isn’t spiralling around on a rollercoaster when it needs to be on a steady monorail.
5. Boost your brain power
The great thing about healthy eating is that it not only serves a physical purpose of keeping your body going, it can also have a positive effect on your mind too.
Paying attention to your nutrition and choosing foods that are recognised to improve concentration, memory and brain functions certainly can’t hurt your chances of success.
So, try including broccoli, salmon, blueberries, pumpkin seeds and nuts into your exam-time diet. They’re that good for you, why not keep them in your diet after the exams are over?