Diet diary: In exam season, the right food that enables thought

Popping pills to enhance memory can have serious side effects. Instead, focus should be on eating right, exercise and meditation

Written by Ishi Khosla | Published:February 25, 2017 12:43 am
food, health, food health, healthy food, exam time health,exam time food, healthy diet, diet during exam, memory enhancements, health news The reasons for poor concentration and poor recall often lie in unhealthy diets and stress, worsened by pressures of multitasking, toxins in air, food and water.

With exams round the corner, most children are stressed and fear forgetting all they have learnt. Many resort to taking memory-boosting medicine and supplements. Popping pills to enhance memory can be fraught with danger and can have serious side effects. Memory enhancement and concentration improvement can be easily done through eating right, physical exercise and meditation.

The reasons for poor concentration and poor recall often lie in unhealthy diets and stress, worsened by pressures of multitasking, toxins in air, food and water.

Stress by itself can alter our bodies, brains and eating habits. Our body responds to stress by increasing release of free radicals (chemicals that weaken the immune system exposing the body to degenerative diseases), hormonal imbalances, altering eating behaviour and affecting overall productivity and well being. Further, increased stress depletes out bodies of nutrients and increases the requirement for memory-boosting nutrients like Vitamin B, C, folic acid, zinc, magnesium etc.

Replacing cereal grains like wheat, wheat derivatives and corn with fresh fruits, sprouts, boiled pulses, lentils, vegetables, salads and vegetables juices will surely be useful in reduction of stress and memory enhancement. Reduction of free sugars, bakery products, breads, biscuits, fruit juices and sugar sweeten drinks also is critical to improved cognitive performance. These should substituted with nuts, chana, natural sweets like jaggery and honey or even dark chocolate. Physical activity and meditation also have profound effects in calming the brain and improved recall and concerntration. These issues too must be addressed and exposure to chemicals and harmful radiations should be limited.

There are some special food, known in traditional medicine, which are associated with improvement of brain function and memory. They include Brahmi Ghrita and Ginkgo Biloba. Several scientific studies have reported the cognitive enhancing properties of these two but more scientific research is needed to validate the results. As such, their consumption is not recommended specially by children.

The critical preventive approach to a failing memory lies in correction of diet and nutrient therapy along with sanitising the environment and stress management.

Author is a clinical nutritionist and founder of www.theweightmonitor.com and Whole Foods India
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