Food and concentration – the importance
of nutrition during exams

the-importance-of-nutrition-balanced-diet

Overview

Exam season can be a stressful time. It may be tempting to go for those sugary or salty snacks, however nutrition can play a really an important role in exam success. What and when you eat can significantly impact energy levels, concentration, mood, and how well critical thinking and memory tasks are performed.

Here allmanhall’s registered dietitian, Tess Warnes, gives 10 top tips to follow to optimise exam success. We hope these help and wish you the very best of luck!

Our top ten nutrition tips during revision and exams...

  • No skipping! A simple one to start, make sure you eat; our brain needs fuel. Skipping meals will lower your concentration on energy levels.

 

  • Check your wee! Keep hydrated – even mild dehydration can impair concentration. How much fluid we need varies for everyone. A quick way to check is the colour of your urine… if its pale yellow or lighter, you are hydrated.
student staying hydrated
  • Protein-up! Include protein at all meals, including breakfast. This will help keep your energy levels steady and aid concentration. Plant-based options exist if you don’t eat meat or dairy. See our meal ideas below.

 

  • No to midnight feasts! Avoid eating late at night, your sleep will be impacted, and concentration impaired the next day.

 

  • Mmmm, Omega 3! Include foods with omega 3 fats, they can support our brain health and mood, oily fish, (salmon, mackerel, sardines), nuts, seeds, and their oils (e.g. flaxseed, linseed oil)

 

  • Yes to snacks! Go for a high protein snacks to keep those energy levels steady, see our snack lists for ideas.

 

  • No to sugar! You may feel like you need a sugar boost but avoid sugary snacks as the increased energy will only be very short lived, quickly followed by increased fatigue and lower concentration. Save the sugary treats until after the revision session or the exam.

 

  • Don’t crash! Energy drinks before the exam will not be helpful, they will give you a very short burst of energy but as also high in sugar will cause energy levels to crash making you feel worse and impairing concentration.

 

  • No booze! Stay off the alcohol during this time, not only will it impair your concentration and affect mood, but alcohol also lowers our immune system, leaving you more prone to becoming unwell.

 

  • Go easy on the caffeine! Caffeine does act as a stimulant but limit to 1-2 cups, more than this can increase dehydration, increase your heart rate and interrupt sleep. 

Meal ideas from allmanhall...

Include protein, some complex carbs and a portion of fruit or vegetables at each meal!

Breakfast Ideas:

Quick Lunch Ideas:

Snack Ideas:

Good luck, from the whole team at allmanhall!

For more insight and ideas from allmanhall, take a look here.

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