Saturday, 14 February 2015

BEAT EXAM STRESS WITH HEALTHY NUTRITION


1. Start with a heavy and healthy breakfast:
Oats, Muesli, Upma, Khichdi, Idlis etc are great options with a low glycemic index which provide a constant and steady supply of glucose.

2. Stick to frequent, small meals:
Loading them 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/honey-coated nuts/ soups/ interesting salads etc are good options.

3. Include proteins in their diet:
Carbs are digested quickly whereas proteins provide the much-needed slow burn giving a constant source of energy. A breakfast rich in protein (eggs, poha, idlis, dosa, dhokla etc) increases tyrosine (an amino acid) levels in the blood and brain which help nerve cells manufacture chemicals which keep your kids alert and active.

4. 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 very less fluids. When dehydrated, the body and mind are dazed, restless. It is hard concentrating on studies. If they do not like drinking water that much, give them fresh fruit juices/ chaach or buttermilk/ nimbu pani or lime juice/green tea to keep them going.

5. Avoid too much caffeine:
Drinking too much coffee/energy drinks/tea/colas during exams can send your kids’ circadian rhythm in a tizzy not letting them sleep properly when they want to.


6.  Avoid too much sugar and processed foods:
Foods like chocolate, cookies 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.

7. Make sure they get their stress-buster foods:
During stressful times like the exams, the body’s requirement for certain water-soluble vitamins likes Vitamin B complex and C, minerals like zinc goes up. These 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.

8. 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 and help reduce chances of the child falling sick during exams.

9. Don’t miss out on memory enhancer foods:
Omega 3 fatty acids found mainly in fish are required to enhance brain function and memory. It is recommended that you have atleast two servings of Salmon (rawas fish), herring (bhing) or mackerel (bangda) per week. For restricting calories, they are best eaten grilled, shallow fried with very little oil or baked. If you do not eat fish or do not have access to good fish, add ground flax seeds (alsi), pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds (til), soyabean oil, canola oil to your diet. Omega 3 fatty acid supplements are also available.

10. Avoid eating outside food during exams:
Exams being times for high-stress and low-immunity, children are highly prone for infections. So, avoid eating outside food as much as possible. If your kid really craves for it, just order stuff you have tried before from trusted restaurants you’ve tried before.