This is around that time of the year again when the home ambience is stressful, with study sessions continuing till wee hours of the morning, when TV shows are a strict no and midnight snacking is fun. Exams are around the corner and while the exams are just for the kids, the stress is for the entire family.
While your child is burying himself/herself in the extensive study load, 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 headaches, upset stomach, etc. So, it is but mandatory to ensure that your child is eating healthy, and binging on foods that boost memory power.
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, nut butters, olives, peanut oil PUFA - canola oil, grapeseed oil, corn oil, soybean oil, generic vegetable oil, walnut oil, cottonseed oil, sesame oil, peanut oil and flaxseed oil.
Here are some memory-boosting 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, cauliflower, lentils, oats, sesame seeds and flax seeds.
- According to a Harvard study, the substances, anthocyanin and quercetin, may help boost memory; good sources include berries, cherries, black currants, eggplant, red, purple and black grapes, red onion, red apples, beets, kale, leeks, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, blueberries and apricots.
- Folic acid may also help improve memory as well as in faster information recall. Good sources include fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals, black-eyed peas, soybeans, lentils, spinach, green peas, broccoli, artichokes, wheat germ, beets and oranges.
Here are a few dietary suggestions for an alert brain before and during exams:
- Banana, wheat germ, pulses, brown rice and brewer’s yeast (Vitamin B 6) 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 for energy.
- A glass of fresh lime every day to keep bile under control.
- Salads of cucumber, tomatoes, corn, carrots and beetroots to keep the hormones intact.
- A handful of raisins is a must during examinations.
- A glass or two of milk mixed with a health drink to enrich the calcium in the body.
- 5-8 almonds added to your diet ups the beta-carotene level.
- Rice is full of carbohydrates which is essential to provide the energy required for studying.
- Avoid eating big helpings frequently.
- Avoid sweets and fried foodstuff during exams.
- Adequate sleep helps to recharge your brain.
- Do not eat sweets before taking an exam as it makes you sleepy.
- Do not take an exam on an empty stomach or after a heavy meal.
The author is Chief Dietician, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur. She has conducted many workshops on Food Safety and Enteral Nutrition.
Check out more brain foods for your kid in the article below.