Eat Well to Ace Finals

1cBy Agnes Ndaba

Students who eat rich diets in vegetables and fruits see their cognitive abilities flourish as they take final exams.

“The best food to eat is food closest to its original form such as fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains not processed food,” said Patricia Valella, nutrition instructor at College of Southern Nevada. She suggests students eat the following foods: baby carrots, leafy green vegetables, kale, spinach, oatmeal with a touch of brown sugar, almonds and other whole foods.

According to an August 2015 report by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most young people in the United States do not get the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables a day, which is 2½ to 6½ cups. They also do not take in the recommended amounts of whole grains, which is 2 to 3 ounces.

“Foods high in saturated fats and sugar tend to bog down the metabolism,” Valella said. She suggests limiting those. “Trans fat should be avoided.”

Instead Valella suggests healthy 200-calorie snacks throughout the day. The snacks should provide protein, fiber and low sodium and sugar to keep the metabolism fueled.

It is advisable for students to eat before their exams. “Considering the brain is the most energy demanding organ in the body, failure to eat affects the brain before your muscles,” said Denise Signorelli, a biology professor at CSN. “A well-balanced meal an hour or so before the test will give your brain the raw material it needs to do well.”

According to the CDC report noted above, eating a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function and mood.

In addition to eating well, students are advised to drink lots of water instead of caffeine.

“The overload of caffeine and sugar will not help you while studying,” said Marcela Cortes, a biology instructor at CSN. “You will feel more nervous since you haven’t had a good time to rest and be ready. For those who crave sodas…take club soda or you can also infuse your regular water with some fruits and herbs. You can try cucumber and mint or lemon and strawberries or blueberries.”

For those that do drink coffee or energy drinks, they should follow it with the equivalent amount of water to stay hydrated, Cortes said.

Students can create a free account at the SuperTracker website to track their food intake and physical activity as they study and take final exams. Click this link https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/default.aspx.

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