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Every student who aims to become a high-achiever will experience exam stress. It’s an unavoidable part of student life that can be a tough nut to crack. A child’s diet is one of the most neglected aspects during their exams. It has been observed that the kids who usually eat healthy end up eating a lot of junk food during exam times.
Not eating healthy can have its own ramifications. Dr. Divya Choudhary, gives us a few tips on how you can beat the exam stress:
Start with a heavy and healthy breakfast
Oats, Jowar, Upma, eggs, Sprouts, Boiled chana, idli, dhokla etc are great options which provide a constant and steady supply of glucose. These are light on stomach also. A good breakfast improves the child’s concentration also.
Stick to frequent, small meals
Loading your children with three to four large meals in the day could make them sleepy and lethargic as blood is redirected to the stomach instead of the brain. Small, frequent, nutritious meals make sure that they have a constant flow of steady nourishment, keeping them alert and awake. Fresh fruits / fruit smoothies/ dry fruits / nuts / soups / interesting salads etc are good options in between major meals.
Include proteins in their diet
Carbs are digested quickly whereas proteins provide the much-needed slow burn giving a constant source of energy. A diet rich in protein (eggs, sprouts, cheela, chana, dhokla etc) increases tyrosine (an amino acid) levels in the blood and brain which help nerve cells manufacture chemicals which keep kids alert and active.
Keep them hydrated
When kids sit in the comfort of their room and probably with their AC on, they do not feel thirsty and hence end up drinking less fluids. When dehydrated, the body and mind are dazed, restless. It is hard concentrating on studies. If they do not like drinking water then give them fresh fruit juices/buttermilk /nimbu pani /green tea / fresh coconut water to keep them going.
Avoid too much caffeine
Drinking too much coffee/energy drinks/tea/colas during exams can upset your kids’ sleep routine not letting them sleep properly when they want to. Don't drink too much coffee, tea or fizzy drinks. Caffeine will keep you up and reduce the clarity of your thinking.
Avoid too much sugar and processed foods
Foods like sweets, cookies, breads, ice creams etc can cause a sudden spike in sugar levels in the blood. After a while, when the stomach feels empty it could lead to craving for more such junk food.
Make sure they get their stress-buster foods
We know that exams are stressful and our body’s requirement for certain water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin B-complex and C, minerals like zinc goes up. These minerals help in the synthesis and functioning of adrenal hormones that basically are our stress-fighting hormones. Brown rice, nuts, eggs, fresh veggies and fruits can help.
Give them foods to increase efficiency of the brain
Anti-oxidants like Vitamins A, C and E reduce damage to brain cells due to increased stress by fighting the free radicals. Eggs, fish, carrots, pumpkins, green leafy veggies, fresh fruits can help meet this requirement. They also help increase the body’s immunity as well as reduce chances of the child falling sick during exams.
Don’t miss out on memory enhancer foods
Omega 3 fatty acids are required to enhance brain function and memory. Fish is a very good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Vegetarians can add walnuts, flax seeds (alsi), pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds (til), soyabean oil, canola oil to their diets. Omega 3 fatty acid supplements are also available.
Avoid eating outside food during exams
Stress can reduce your child’s immunity and make them more prone to infections. So, avoid eating outside food as much as possible.