Once the dreaded exams hit, the nerves kick in. The key ingredients for success are obviously hard work and long hours but good nutrition also plays a vital role. A brain that is nourished brain works better.
Top study tips
• Make breakfast your study buddy. Not eating breakfast means that your body, and especially your brain, run in second gear. Good options are high fibre fortified cereal with chopped fruit and low fat milk or wholegrain toast with scrambled eggs and an orange. If you are too nervous to eat before exams, try drinking a smoothie.
• Don’t skip meals. It is important to eat in order to maintain concentration. Don’t be tempted to visit the chip shop either, as this will only leave you feeling sluggish for the afternoon. Instead try to eat a sandwich and some fruit to keep blood sugar levels from dropping.
• Get some fresh air. Take a walk, even for just five minutes every hour or so, have a healthy snack and stretch. Taking breaks will help improve your studying!
• If you leave the house well before your exam starts, bring a healthy snack with you to eat either before or during the exam e.g. dried fruits, homemade flapjacks, banana.
• Stay hydrated: Even being slightly dehydrated can cause you to feel tired. Being dehydrated will result in there being too little blood flowing around the body to bring the necessary energy to the brain.Keep well hydrated by drinking about 8 glasses of water a day.
• Resist the urge to drink litres of coffee. Too much caffeine can upset blood sugar levels and cause us to lose concentration and become irritable and jittery, so don't drink too much. Tea has about half the caffeine as coffee.
Food for thought
• All the messages passing between your brain cells require the vitamins and minerals from your food. Good sources include fortified breakfast cereal and fruit and vegetables. Try to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
• Fats makes up 60% of the weight of your brain, these should come from healthy fats in your diet such as oily fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocadoes (Omega-3 & 6).
• Glucose from carbohydrate, is the fuel that your brain uses each day.