During exams students may make the mistake of skipping meals to save time or because they are too stressed to eat. They may also binge on fried food, chocolates, crisps, coffee and energy drinks “to give themselves energy”. Too many stimulants however can raise anxiety levels and simple carbohydrates or sugars break down rapidly into glucose that causes an energy spike, but which quickly drains away resulting in “brain fog”, fatigue, sleepiness and a low mood.
There are however foods that do the opposite and boost energy and concentration. Moms may like to fill the fridge and the lunch boxes with the following to help keep students’ blood sugar levels stable and assist their brains to function well.
Quality proteins deliver amino acids that boost key neurotransmitters in the brain, making them a good choice for breakfast on the morning of exams. Examples are tinned or fresh sardines, pilchards or salmon which also offer the benefit of containing Omega 3 fatty acids which are needed to promote brain development and function. Other first class proteins are eggs, pulses like peas, tinned beans and lentils, as well as chicken, nuts and non-sweetened dairy products.
Combine quality proteins with the next on the list of important brain food: Complex carbohydrates are the source of glucose which the brain uses for energy. Think of whole grain breads and porridges, deciduous fruits like apples, pears and oranges, as well as nuts and vegetables. The brain can’t store much glucose, so the secret of avoiding a mental slump is eating smaller meals or snacks every couple of hours to keep it fuelled up. An easy snack, if students are permitted to take food into the exam room, is a sandwich of peanut butter (quality protein) on whole wheat or whole rye bread (complex carbohydrate).
Good fats are another exam time choice. They are in olive oil, oily fish, pumpkin and sesame seeds and nuts like almonds and walnuts This is because fat is a component of the myelin sheath around nerves and is a building block of brain cell membranes.
Vitamins and minerals that are helpful during exams include Vitamin C which helps the body in its immune response at a particularly stressful time; the Vitamin B group which helps in the manufacture and release of neurotransmitters; zinc because a deficiency has been proved to cause memory loss; and iron which the blood needs to carry oxygen to the brain.
Moms may also like to have a look at the TURBOKIDZ nutritional and supplement range which was formulated with the dietary and energy requirements of children in mind. The range includes tasty TURBOKIDZ Smart Omega and TURBOKIDZ Omega Tutti Fruity chewable capsules which contain the essential fatty acids Omega 3 and 6. These are needed to promote brain function and development and can also assist the body to manage Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).
TURBOKIDZ Smart Multi+ Capsules or Chews for smaller children supply vitamins, minerals and amino acids required for normal growth and development.
TURBOKIDZ Smart Milky Shakes in vanilla, chocolate or strawberry are a yummy addition to a breakfast smoothie or are welcome as a snack or meal replacement for children on the go.