As students we all experience the stress of having to study for finals at the end of each semester. Often, many of us will leave things to the last minute (or days) which usually results in total and utter panic. So, besides managing your time wisely or getting more sleep is there anything else you can do to increase the probability of doing well on the next exam?
The answer is YES!!, and it begins with what you put into your mouth. Being a kinesiology student with a background in nutrition, there are many options out there to boost the potential for success during exam week. Numerous foods exist to help you stay motivated, energized, focused and even improve memory stores. So what are they? (I’m sure you’re dying to know).
But before that lets first talk about the food you want to avoid when studying.
It may seem logical, but many us of end up eating poorly during exam week(s) as we grab anything that is quick and easy. These include:
- Refined sugars (chocolate, candy)
- White flour (cookies, cakes, muffins)
- Caffeinated beverages, such as soda and energy drinks
- High sugar-containing cereals
- Greasy foods, such as pizza and hamburgers
- Fried foods, such as french fries or chicken nuggets
So what foods should we be eating during exam period? Well, these include:
FISH (sardines, salmon, mackerel, Halibut, trout)
- Fish is a great food choice as it packs omega 3’s which are beneficial for proper functioning of the brain. It also is a good source of protein and low in saturated fat.
- Eggs are one of the best meals to eat to start your day, especially when it comes to exam season. Eggs (like fish) pack loads of omega 3s, protein, and contain numerous nutrients and antioxidants.
- This is one of the most controversial within this group. Although coffee is stated to promote the rise of cortisol levels and decrease the ability to generate more energy, it all comes down to one thing… MODERATION. Drinking the approate amount of coffee is not only shown to be a great kick-start to awaken the body in the morning, but it also is shown to increase memory stores.
- Both cottage cheese and yogurt are great sources of protein. These protein-rich foods lead to greater mental alertness.
NUTS (cashews, almonds, pecans, brazil nuts, etc). + WHOLE GRAINS (Whole wheat bread, oatmeal)
- Whole grains are beneficial as they act to promote satiety and acts as a good source of carbohydrates. Nuts are a great source of selenium. Selenium acts to clear built-up brain plaques as well as acts as an antioxidant to fight against infection. Nuts also pack loads of Vitamins (E specifically), heart healthy fats, and proteins for proper brain functioning. Fresh fruits and veggies, especially bananas, citrus fruits, and dark leafy greens.
FRESH FRUIT (bananas, apples, citrus fruits) AND VEGETABLES (dark leafy greens)
- Fruits and vegetables are a great source of energy as they consist of natural sugars which can be broken down quickly. They are also packed with vitamins and minerals which can act to boost your immune system and prevent fatigue.
- Staying hydrated is key during finals as it acts to maintain a proper water balance, and maintain energy stores. Studies have also correlated drinking water to alleviate anxiety, which is known to have a negative effect on exam performance.
A proper balance of all these suggestions can be very beneficial in improving ones study efficiency. Try to implement small snacks throughout your studying as it will help to provide an ongoing source of nutrients and promote satiety.
To end this article, I wish everyone GOOD LUCK on their finals and hopefully this article puts YOU into the direction for success!
Featured Image Photo Credit: Clippings