Brain Boosting Foods For Kids Before Exams
Want to know what your child should eat to do well in his exams? Check out this useful list of brain-boosting foods to improve memory power in kids.
By Pavithra N Raj
This is around that time of the year again when the home ambience is stressful, with study sessions continuing till the wee hours of morning, when TV shows are a strict no and midnight snacking is fun. Exams are around the corner and while they are just for the kids, the stress is for the entire family.
While your child is burying herself in her books, as a parent it is extremely important that you take care of your child’s health. Exam pressure can lead to various health issues like headache and upset stomach. So, it is mandatory to ensure that your child is eating healthy, and consuming brain-boosting foods that help to improve her memory power.
Foods to improve memory for exams
Here are some memory-boosting brain foods that can be very helpful for students this exam season:
- Choline is a precursor to acetylcholine, a substance that helps stimulate the brain. A more stimulated brain is better able to make new connections, which is an important part of memory. Foods high in choline include eggs, fish oils, liver, soybeans, peanuts, butter, potatoes, cauliflowers, lentils, oats, sesame seeds and flax seeds.
- According to a report published in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website dated 11 October 2019, the substance anthocyanin may help boost memory; good sources include berries, cherries, black currants, eggplant, red, purple and black grapes, red onions, red apples, beet, kale, leeks, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, blueberries and apricots.
- Folic acid may also help improve memory. Good sources include fortified whole-grain breakfast cereal, black-eyed peas, soybeans, lentils, spinach, green peas, broccoli, artichoke, wheat germ, beet and oranges.
Here are a few more dietary suggestions for an alert brain before and during exams:
- Banana, wheat germ, pulses, brown rice and brewer’s yeast (vitamin B6) are good for improved mood and clear thinking.
- Milk, chicken, fish, cheese, eggs and curd are great brain foods and help improve concentration and memory.
- Vegetables, citrus and other fruits, especially pomegranate, provide energy.
- A glass of fresh lime every day keeps bile under control.
- Salad platters such as cucumber, tomato, corn, carrot and beetroot help to keep the hormone levels intact.
- A handful of raisins is a must during examinations.
- A glass or two of milk mixed with a health drink mix enriches the calcium level in the body.
- Five to eight almonds added to your child's diet ups the beta-carotene level.
- Rice is full of carbohydrates which is essential to provide the energy required for studying.
Foods high in trans-fats are extremely bad for health while saturated fats are moderately bad (only if taken in excess). The best fats for the development of the brain are the foods rich in MUFA (Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids) and PUFA (Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids). MUFA is present in olive oil, nuts such as almonds, cashews, pecans and macadamias, and PUFA in canola oil, avocados, butter from nuts, olives, peanut oil, grapeseed oil, corn oil, soybean oil, generic vegetable oil, walnut oil, cottonseed oil, sesame oil and flaxseed oil.
Foods to avoid during exams
To improve your child’s performance in exams, here are some food habits to avoid:
- Eating sweets and fried foodstuff during exams can make your child sleepy, so it is best to avoid them.
- Ensure that your child avoids eating big helpings frequently. Also, taking an exam on an empty stomach or after a heavy meal can affect his exam performance.
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About the expert:
Written by Pavithra N Raj on 21 March 2017; updated on 17 February 2020
The author is Chief Dietician, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur. She has conducted many workshops on Food Safety and Enteral Nutrition.
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