Foods to help with exam stress

28th April 2018

Foods to help with exam stress. Its that time of year again when the public exams are just around the corner and we know that the next few weeks are going to be a stressful time for our teenagers. While a bit of exam stress can actually be a productive thing, we don’t want it spiralling out of control as that can impair performance.

Nutrition plays a role in our stress response and our Adrenal Glands, the organs that produce our main stress hormones, actually need additional nutrients during stressful times. Below are 5 top tips for supporting their teenage bodies during the next few weeks;

Tip 1 – Don’t go long periods without food

The brain needs fuel to function optimally and we know that the glucose derived from food is burnt up within 4 hours, so to ensure a steady stream of fuel to the brain, don’t go long periods without food and aim refuel with meals and snacks on a regular basis.

Tip 2 – Include lots of colourful fruit and vegetables in the diet

The adrenal glands need additional Vitamin C, B Vitamins and zinc to function well during stressful times. If your teenager is including green leafy veg, berries, citrus, bell peppers, mushrooms and broccoli in their diet, that should help to support the stress response.

Tip 3 – Magnesium one of nature’s tranquilisers

Magnesium is known for its calminative effect and the adrenal gland also requires more magnesium during stressful times. Include wholegrains, almonds, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, avocados, beans and green leafy vegetables in their diet to ensure they’re getting enough.

Tip 4 – Stay hydrated

Studies have shown that the symptoms of dehydration include cognitive decline, impaired concentration and headaches – not what we need at exam time! The current guidelines are to drink between 1.5 – 2ltrs of non-caffeinated, non-fizzy fluid daily. Water, diluted fruit juice, herb and fruit teas are all good options to stay hydrated and keep those brains working well.

Tip 5 – Keep sugar intake low

Sugar might give them an initial boost of energy, but can then quickly lead to blood sugar drops which may results in impaired concentration, fatigue, lethargy and poor mood. Blood sugar imbalance may actually exacerbate anxiety and poor mood, so try and avoid refined sugars, sweets and sugar containing foods at this time.

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