Emma-Jayne Taylor: The perfect combination of nutrients to enhance your concentration
Have you ever wondered if what you eat could perhaps improve your concentration and ultimately your exam results?
The exam period can be a stressful time for everyone and it can sometimes overwhelm us all and disturb our concentration.
We can often find ourselves not getting enough sleep, nutrition or hydration and this can often make us feel exhausted and therefore with no concentration.
This then leads us on to consuming high amounts of caffeine in whatever form we can get it whether it be tablets, coffee or high sugar energy drinks in order to keep ourselves awake.
But what if there was another healthier way to achieve the same results?
Well perhaps there is!
By combining the correct nutrients in every meal, you could enhance your concentration, reduce stress and ultimately improve exam results in a healthier and more sustainable way!
Here are some tips on how to achieve this…
Drink at least 2 litres of water a day
The first step is to drink at least 2 litres of water a day.
This may seem simple but many of us overlook this advice.
Not only can a lack of water cause many symptoms such as brain fatigue, headaches and sleep disturbances but the brain is 78% water so therefore it makes sense that we need plenty of water to help fuel our brain and without it can lead to poor performances in exams due to brain fog.
How can you improve your water intake?
It is simple just have a filled water bottle or glass sitting beside you all the time whilst you study as this will encourage you to drink more as it is easily accessible.
Never skip breakfast
The next step is breakfast. NEVER SKIP BREAKFAST whilst studying or before an exam.
It is the fuel that kick starts our brain for the day!
Studies have found that eating breakfast can improve short-term memory and attention so perhaps that one topic you forgot about and quickly read over that morning before the big exam might stick in your head with some nutritious breakfast!
The perfect brain-fuel foods include, high-fibre whole grains, dairy, and fruits.
So perhaps you could kick-start your day with some bran flakes with milk and add some blueberries in as blueberries are found to boost concentration and memory for 5 hours after consumption.
Think about lunch
The next meal to think about is lunch.
This can often be forgotten about or something you quickly throw together without thinking of the nutrient content as there may only be a 30-minute window for a break.
There is a way that you can still fit in a quick, easy and nutritious lunch that not only boosts your concentration but also gives you the energy to continue with your studying.
How does a tasty tuna, kale and avocado sandwich on wholegrain bread sound?
Not only is it quick and convenient to make but avocados are high in nutrients that fuel our brain namely tyrosine which is a feel-good neurotransmitter in our brains that keeps us focused and motivated.
Kale is also a nutrition bomb!
It is extremely rich in Vitamin C and B which can help ward of stress, improve our mood and act as an antidepressant.
Have you ever heard the saying ‘fish is brain food?’
Turns out it actually is! Omega 3 included in fish helps fuel our brain and enhance our memory.
The next step is dinner.
This can often be something thrown together in a rush or perhaps after a day of studying you just want some high fat, high sugar comfort food like some pizza?
Sorry to break it to you but pizza may do the opposite of boosting your brain and may put you to sleep.
But don’t worry you can still have that comfort food that makes you feel all warm and relaxed just in a more nutritious way.
Healthy homemade pizza
How does a healthy homemade pizza sound? This can not only be nutritious but also great fun to make.
Here’s how to bump up the nutrition content of your pizza… add some meat of your choice as they are all high in protein which can help to boost the levels of dopamine in your brain which keeps you energized and promotes alertness and activity.
Next add some vegetables like spinach or pineapple which helps boost the serotonin leaving you feeling happy and healthy. Spinach also contains vitamins B and E which optimize brain function by blocking free radicals and optimizing blood flow.
Lastly add some cheese which then helps to increase your dairy consumption and keep your bones and teeth healthy.
Healthy snacks throughout the day
Healthy snacks throughout the day are also key to ensure your brain doesn’t become tired.
Improve cognitive performance
Some ideas include nuts which contain Omega-3 to improve cognitive performance, dark chocolate which contains flavonoids stimulating blood flow to the brain and reduces oxidative stress on the brain and oranges which are high in vitamin C enabling us to fight of the free radicals that can damage our brain cells.
So, ultimately the key is to never skip a meal especially breakfast, include foods rich in nutrients like vitamins C, B & E and omega-3 and hydrate your brain by drinking plenty of water!