Did you know that eating well can have a positive impact on your mind as well as your body? Especially during the exam season it's important you're eating all the right brain food. We spoke to Allison Candy, our subject specialist for Food Preparation and Nutrition to get her top tips on keeping to a diet that will keep you focused and energised.
Start your day off well
What should you eat to start your day off right? Slow release carbohydrates are best for your pre-exam/revision session breakfast; think porridge, wholegrain bread or muesli. If you add a protein then you'll feel fuller for longer so go for milk, eggs or yoghurt - you can always add some flavour with berries and nuts.
Water has been proven to increase brain power and provide your body with energy. It'll help keep you focused for longer, by preventing headaches and flushing out any toxins, keeping you feeling fresh and hydrated.
Maintaining your energy levels
Ideally, we all need our five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, but what else can give you the boost of energy you need during exam season?
Peanut butter may be high in calories - but in this case, that's a good thing! It's packed with healthy fats and is high in protein - put some on wholemeal toast and you're good to go. If you don't like peanuts, there are a range of other natural nut butters available.
Marmite for many might be a no, but yes, marmite is one of the best food sources of thiamine (vitamin Bl) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6). Both play a role in neurotransmitter production, which strengthens memory and cognition. If you struggle with the thought, just think of it as brain food.
Try and avoid processed food - these contain high levels of salt, sugar and bad fats! These aren't good for your energy levels or for your body in general.
Saving the best until last - dark chocolate. Studies have found that chocolate can reduce your blood pressure and keep your brain alert and focused due to the polyphenols in cocoa that increases blood flow to the brain. Try and eat chocolate with 100% cocoa and avoid highly processed chocolate as these include high levels of sugar, which can have a detrimental effect on your energy levels.
To summarise, the key tips you need to bear in mind during revision and exam time are:
- Have a good, wholesome breakfast
- Eat smaller, frequent meals
- Water is your friend
- Avoid processed foods
Good luck and happy eating!