Dr. Panchali Moitra
(Woman and Child nutrition Expert)
Parents provide kids with
their favourite foods during exams to encourage them to study hard. However, it
is essential that your child eats right food during exams so that he can easily
combat exam stress, concentrate and be alert. Read on to know about the
important nutrients that can help your child improve his memory.
Eating right and having a well balanced diet
is always important but it attains utmost importance when your child is
examinations. The nutrients which help in combating stress and
improving your child’s memory and alertness during exams are
Proteins - One of the most important exam
nutrients is protein. Include good quality protein in the
form of pulses, chicken fish, eggs, nuts and milk in your child’s diet.
Thinking is a biochemical process and for the signals to get transferred from
one neuron to another there are certain chemicals called neurotransmitters in
The key neurotransmitters like acetylcholine and dopamine are created by amino
acids present in proteins. Therefore, adding proteins in your diet work wonders
during the examinations, especially the morning when the child has his paper.
You can easily add protein in form of salads (such as sprouts salad,)
sandwiches (with chicken or egg white), curds, cheese, soybeans (which can be
made into cutlets) by adding soy flour to wheat flour while
Carbohydrates -The brain is powered by energy which comes
from broken down food. The primary source of energy for the
brain is glucose which comes from carbohydrate rich foods like breads, rice and
chapattis. The brain's energy stores are very small, so to keep it functioning
at its best, it needs constant glucose as replacement. And the best sources of
the carbohydrate would be the complex carbs such as whole grains,
sprouted beans and fruits. When you eat a candy or drink soft drinks, they break
down too quickly into glucose. This sudden increase in blood glucose levels
pushes the pancreas to secrete more insulin and this all leads to a sugar spike
which is then followed with sugar drop and you start feeling depressed and
lethargic. A key neurotransmitter, serotonin is also released after ingestion
of starchy foods and vegetables.
Good fats - Fats are major component of brain cell membrane and
make up the myelin sheath around each nerve. Adequate amount of fat and the
right kinds can greatly affect the brain power during exams. The good sources
of this right kind
of fat would be nuts like almond and walnuts,
seeds like sesame seeds (or til seeds) and
pumpkin seeds, oil like olive oil and fish
Vitamins - Among vitamins, the important ones during examination are
Vitamin C (helps in immunity building) and Vitamin B (which help in the
manufacture and release of neurotransmitters).
Minerals -Critical mineralswould
include iron (which is required to carry oxygen to the brain cells)
and zinc (which is known to protect you from
Also, we need to ensure that the foods which cause
a brain drain and work against our child’s efforts are best
avoided. These brain draining and lethargy inducing foods would be sugary
drinks, processed foods made from white sugar and white flour, and fried foods.
Avoiding too hot and spicy food preparations is also recommended as they might
irritate our digestive functions.
So, let’s feed our child’s mind with correct dietary
options. Pre-exam blues will soon disappear and your child would sail through
his exams with flair! All the best!
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