Below we explain how to stay healthy during exams.
How to eat healthily during exams
Plus we offer some nutrition tips for exam success provided to us by Nutritional Therapist Emily Fawell. You can find her website and contact details below.
Good food for stress relief and optimal functioning
- Great concentration levels rely on good blood sugar balance. This means making sure that your body has a regular and steady flow of energy rather than a short sharp burst of energy, followed by crashes and problems concentrating. What this means in practice is eating foods which release their energy slowly such as complex carbohydrates (vegetables, oats, wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, brown rice) rather than fast releasing carbohydrates (white bread, biscuits, cakes, sugary cereals, crisps, sweets)
- Blood sugar balance also relies on a good intake of protein, as this slows down the release of energy from a meal. This could be eggs or yoghurt for breakfast, nuts and seeds added to your porridge or breakfast cereal, no-added-sugar nut butter on wholemeal toast.
- Foods with a high sugar content are particularly bad for blood sugar balance. Therefore, try to reduce your intake of fizzy drinks, sweets, chocolate, biscuits and cake
- Caffeine also disrupts blood sugar balance so slowly wean yourself off tea, coffee, cola and energy drinks.
- If you do like tea then green tea is great for concentration levels. It contains theanine, an amino acid which is associated with alertness.
Hydration and brain food and health tips during exams
- Good concentration relies on good hydration so make sure you are having plenty of water whilst you are studying and during exams, if you are allowed to. Aim for 1.5 litres of water a day.
- Our brains are 60% fat and rely on our diets to provide a regular intake of good fats for optimal functioning. Make sure that you eat oily fish twice a week (salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, trout, herring) and have nuts and seeds as snacks. Walnuts are particularly high in Omega 3 which is great for brain power. Have avocadoes and olive oil regularly.
- Phospholipids are another key nutrient for the brain. Eggs, soya beans (edamame), liver, nuts and sardines all contain this.
- If you are getting anxious then Magnesium rich foods may help. These are dark green leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, kale, rocket), nuts, seeds, beans, avocado, soybeans (edamame) and dark chocolate
- Another great way to boost Magnesium is to take an Epsom Salts bath. This could be a great way to wind down before bedtime on the nights before exams.
- Great concentration relies on good sleep too. So getting into a good bedtime routine in the lead up to exams is a good idea. 8 hours sleep is ideal – more for teenagers if possible.
- If you are prone to exam day nerves then try Bach Rescue Remedy. You can find it in most chemist shops or health shops. It’s a very gentle and effective way of calming the nerves. They now produce an alcohol-free version for children.
If you are interested in personalised nutrition support or more advice on nutrition for exam success for your child, contact Nutritional Therapist Emily Fawell on 07967 639347 or visit her website: www.4wellpeople.co.uk