The exam diet

As children and parents feel the pressure of exams,they can beat the stress with what they eat. Studies suggest what you eat can affect your mood,stress levels and irritability.

Written by Ishi Khosla | Published:March 8, 2009 4:50 pm

As children and parents feel the pressure of exams,they can beat the stress with what they eat. Studies suggest what you eat can affect your mood,stress levels and irritability. It has been reported that unhealthy meals can increase stress. Another study indicated that students under examination stress showed significant increase in the intake of high-fat and sugary snacks,which could be counter-productive.

Increased stress creates a greater need for water-soluble vitamins such as vitamins B,C and minerals like zinc. Nutrients such as vitamin C,B6,zinc,magnesium,potassium,pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and amino acid tyrosine are required for synthesis and proper functioning of adrenal hormones—the most important stress-fighting hormones.

Follow these tips for a calmer state of mind.
*Eat smaller,frequent meals to ensure a steady stream of energy.
*Choose adequate amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables like amla,citrus fruits,tomatoes,green peppers,green leafy vegetables,kiwi,broccoli,and strawberries to ensure good vitamin C status.
*Minimise intake of white flour,white rice,sweetened beverages and sugar. Instead,choose whole grains like oats,barley,brown rice and whole wheat; pulses,nuts and seeds,low-fat dairy,seafood,lean meats,green leafy vegetables and wheat germ to ensure adequate intake of vitamin B and zinc.
*Snack smart on fresh fruits,dry fruits,honey-coated nuts,seeds,roasted whole grains,soups,salads,hot chocolate and almond milk or yogurt to prevent swings in blood sugars and cravings.
*Drink plenty of fluids and remain well hydrated. Green tea,jasmine and cammomile tea help calm the mind.
*Take tea,coffee and caffeinated beverages including colas in moderation.

If you want to boost your memory,dump the “memory pills” for these nutrients:
Antioxidants like vitamin A,E and C—Found in natural foods like eggs,carrots,brocolli,fish,nuts,green leafy vegetables and fruits,They reduce cell damage in the brain.

Omega-3 fatty acids—Found in fish,mustard oil,mustard seeds,methi,urad dal,rajma,soybeans,lobia,walnuts,bajra,and flaxseeds (alsi),they are good for brain,skin and heart.
Vitamin B1—Found in rice bran,wheat germ,whole wheat flour,barley,maize (dry),eggs and cow’ milk,(skimmed,whole),it keeps the nervous system healthy.

Vitamin B12—Found in foods of animal origin like egg,lean meat and low-fat milk,it improves concentration and memory,and relieves irritability.
Folic Acid—Found in broccoli,pulses and wheatgerm,it is essential for the body’s clearance of homocysteine,an amino acid that causes cognitive decline.

Lecithin—A primary component of all cell membranes,it helps insulate nerves. Good sources are egg yolk,soybeans,cauliflower,beans,legumes,grains and wheatgerm.
Healthy Fats— Nuts,oilseeds and cold pressed oils like olive oil,sesame oil,canola oil,sunflower oil,corn oil and olive oil have healthy fats. Limit the intake of foods rich in saturated fats like red meat,pizzas,desserts,margarine etc. as they cause the formation of free radicals that can injure brain cells and hamper the functioning of neurotransmitters.

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