Right now, campuses are awash with stressed-out students with varying degrees of panic in their eyes, which can only mean one thing – exams are looming. While this is the time for upping your concentration and filling your body and brain with the good stuff, it’s also when diets tend to take a nosedive. But even if you’re on a first-name basis with your local Macca’s drive-thru crew (which, yeah…) there’s still time to turn it around.
Admittedly, wolfing down a tin of sardines and a Granny Smith five minutes before a three-hour exam you haven’t studied for probably won’t make a difference, making changes to your diet in the lead up to exams will help set you on the path towards maximising your brain power and overall good health.
Here’s five foods your brain will thank you for.
On your next study break, think Chobani, not chocolate. Low-fat dairy like Greek yoghurt packs in the protein and B vitamins. Experts say this combination can help you concentrate and work more efficiently, which is vital for students during exam time.
No longer just your grandma’s breakfast of choice, oats score top marks for studying students. Because these are a wholegrain you digest slowly, oats offer your brain and body steady energy, as well as a dose of B vitamins and fibre. If you have the time, opt for steel-cut oats, which are less processed than the quickie microwave ones and will help you feel fuller for longer.
Fish, the oily kind, sounds counterintuitive as we’ve all been trained to think an overdose of oil isn’t doing us any favours. But what you want to eat are the omega-3 fats that occur naturally in oily fish like salmon and sardines. These fats are important for healthy brain function, which is something your stress-addled mind will thank you for.
We know, we know, a punnet of these little purple wonders can be on the pricey side, but keep your eyes open as blueberries often go on sale at the supermarket and that’s the time to stock up. Blueberries have been connected to improving or delaying short-term memory loss, as well as reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes and are a source of vitamin C, which is good news for your immune system. What’s not to like?
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which is vital for enhancing your memory and thinking skills, and also have a high amount of stress-busting magnesium, which has a calming effect on your brain. Mostly we just like these for their munch-ability, and with the right attitude, you can almost kid yourself that chomping on a handful of these seeds is similar to crunching on some chips. Well, kind of…
Now head to the shops and stock up because there is a lot of study to be done between now and your first exam.