by Linh Nguyen, Lifestyle Writer
Many of us are chronic procrastinators. We procrastinate mainly because we’re lazy, but also because of our confidence in dealing with stress and deadlines. Yet, trying to cram two months worth of information into our brains in three nights isn’t the best idea, and we all know that. However, it should never be impossible to nail those exams while maintaining a healthy body if we all remember to keep the following foods in our diet:
- Iron and vitamin B
Meeting daily vitamin and mineral requirements can go a long way. According to Howard, writer of Startcooking.com, iron and vitamin B are essential in physical and energy maintenance. Foods like red meat, cereal and spinach provide great iron, while whole-grains, eggs and nuts are excellent sources of vitamin B.
Nuts can also be a great snack for your late-night study sessions (because that’s pretty much all we do anyway). A mix of pecans, walnuts and almonds acts as an antioxidant in the body. They help boost your immune system while literally clearing your brain by removing some of the built-up plaque.
- Fresh fruits and dark leafy greens
It is no surprise that these two foods are important to fight fatigue. The darker the color of the vegetables the better, as they contain much more nutrients. Spinach and broccoli are therefore way better than iceberg lettuce.
Fruit ranks among the best foods for your brain. Fruits such as citrus and oranges are no doubt rich in vitamin C, which enhance your immunity. Bananas, on the other hand, tend to be a great source of quick energy with natural sugars that do not lead to an energy crash. You can try pairing fruits with some types of protein like Greek yogurt for additional nutrients too.
- Water is your best friend, not coffee!
Staying hydrated is vital to pulling through hell week. According to Kristi King, dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, a student’s best bet is to drink six to eight cups of water per day and focus on taking time for sleep. Alternate water with fruit juices, tea and milk too.
Although we may heavily rely on caffeine and energy drinks during this crunch period, these drinks actually make us feel jittery, anxious and stressed, and we want none of that.
I’m not talking about the consumption of an excessive amount of candies, ice cream or pastries here. Sure, you deserve to treat yourself with sugar sometimes, but they can cause energy crash very easily if overdosed. If you have a sweet tooth, replace that pint of ice cream with a yogurt parfait, dark chocolate or a filling avocado smoothie. While avocado and yogurt are high in stress-relieving B-vitamins and antioxidants, dark chocolate also contains just the right amount of caffeine to help you power through the rest of your studying.
I’m definitely not a fitness guru or the healthiest person on Earth, but I realize the importance of balancing your diet and eating the right foods for your brain and body. It’s harder to ace those tough exams when all you consume is caffeine and greasy foods. It’s easy to overlook the negative effects of them when you’re under piles of books and stress, but it’s never a good idea to neglect your body especially when you need to be at your healthiest and most productive stage. The better the fuel your brain gets, the better you’ll study.
With all that said, don’t forget to sleep and exercise (or at least sleep!). Sleep will improve the quality and retention of studying. Mental and physical fatigue is commonplace this time of year due to sleep-deprivation. For those who have a tight exam schedule, continuous all-nighters or lack of sleep will throw your body and mind completely out of whack.
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