A good and healthy diet is on step you can make to top exam results this New Year. Here’s our guide on what to eat to help power up your brain on the cold and wet mornings before your revision and exams.
Starting the day off with a healthy breakfast is sure to get your brain going, and they needn’t be unappetising.
Muesli, porridge and oats
Whole grain cereal or bread is a staple of a good breakfast and they’re cheap to buy and quick to to prepare, giving you plenty of slow releasing energy throughout the morning.
Yoghurts and dried fruit
Yoghurts (the fatty Greek kind, not the sugary kids ones) are packed full of amino acids such as tyrosinetyrosine which help boost brain activity. Adding dried fruits such as strawberries will make your breakfast a bit more interesting.
Eggs (more specifically the yolks) are a brilliantly healthy food for any diet, but eating them for breakfast is a great way to start the day. The other good thing about eggs is that they are so versatile allowing you to turn them into a range of morning snacks.
For main meals
Oily fish has long been a staple of a healthy diet. Choices such as salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, pilchards and kippers provide essential fatty acids including the ‘famous’ omega-3 fats. It’s not just brain function that these acids help, research has linked them to a healthy heart, joints and an overall wellbeing.
We all know that vegetables are good for you, but some are better than others. Unfortunately, they’re the ones that most people don’t tend to favour, such as tomatoes and broccoli. Broccoli contains vitamin K, which has been linked to improved brain power.
Another choice is avocados (although admittedly technically a fruit rather than a vegetable), which help reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow throughout your body, including your brain.
If you’re bored of your standard potato, make the switch to the much more delicious sweet potato. Despite its name, the sweet potato is actually less sugary than the white potato and is generally considered healthier. The orange colour comes from carotenoids, which help protect cells from damage and help the creation of vitamin A within the body.
Yes, more eggs! If you don’t have them for breakfast, have them as a quick snack for lunch. A great source of both protein and a healthy amount of cholesterol that helps brain function.
Nuts and seeds
A handful of nuts and seeds is a perfectly healthy choice of snack to munch on throughout the day. Nuts and seeds – from the common to the exotic – provide all sorts of health benefits such as essential fatty acids, vitamins, iron and zinc.
A healthy diet needn’t be full of rabbit food: Dark chocolate is the perfect choice of luxury food to snack on, with studies showing it help improves blood flow to the brain.
When it comes to drinking, little beats water, providing your body and brain with much needed hydration.
What not to eat
A healthy diet is just as much about choosing what not to eat as it is picking good foods to much on.
Avoid fast food until after your exams, and even then it’s probably best not to indulge in it. It’s a false economy, with relatively expensive food and little to no health benefits. Chances are, you’ll probably find you’re hungry again within an hour or two.
Energy drinks and sugary sweets
Too much sugar is a sure way to mess up your body, especially when you’re wanting to focus your brain for revision and exams. Some scientists have even called for the sweet stuff to be regulated in the same way as tobacco and alcohol.
Save your money for a post-exam celebration and cut back completely on the alcohol. In moderation, it’s not going to hurt you, but even short term, booze isn’t going to help your body or brain.