Imagine this: It’s a few weeks before your big STEAM exam, and you’re trying to cram as much information as you can into your brain in the hopes that you’ll ace it. You know there will be some hard-hitting questions, given that STEAM covers anything from science, technology, engineering, and math, along with the arts as well. This means that aside from mastering numbers, you’ll have to navigate drama, music, and language, too.
All this studying means you’re staying up later than usual, and perhaps subsisting solely on coffee, energy drinks, and takeout meals. This is where you’ve got to stop, think, and re-evaluate your strategy, as what you’re eating can definitely affect the way you perform in the exam room!
Of course, this sounds like common sense. Your mom always did tell you to eat your fruits and vegetables, after all — and you should believe her. Research published on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that the brain uses up around 20 percent of the body’s calories, which means the food you eat drastically affects how it functions. Binging on junk food before a major exam will result in less than ideal conditions for your mind. So, instead of ordering pizza for the third night in a row, eat your way to a high score with the brain-boosting snacks listed below.
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Carrying around some homemade trail mix may do you more good than you expect. Nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E, which is a nutrient that can help you think and understand better. A study published on Nutrients reveals that vitamin E improves cognition and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in the future. Filling your own small jar with sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and walnuts is a great way to quickly satisfy cravings and feed your brain.
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Research by the Boston University School of Medicine details the link between choline and brain function. It turns out that people who eat a lot of choline-rich foods like eggs perform better on memory tests. Egg yolks in particular are a great source of choline, and including them in your meals can help you recall crucial information during exams for subjects in engineering, robotics, and even allergology and immunology.
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Blueberries are both delicious and chock full of antioxidants that can help boost brain function. The compounds found in berries can facilitate new connections between brain cells, thus boosting learning and memory. These skills can be especially useful for students of art history, mathematics, and healthcare. The nursing curricula listed on Maryville University enumerates key areas like psychiatric mental health, pediatric primary care, and adult-gerontology primary care — all of which entail a lot of memorization and analysis. Snacking on berries is a healthy alternative to munching on gummy bears, and will help you retain the information you need to pass your test.
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It’s true; you can sort of indulge in sweets while preparing to ace your exam. Dark chocolate is a great way to focus your energy because of its trace amounts of caffeine. In small amounts, it can help give you the confidence you need to tick off the right answers. Just be careful not to overdo it, or you’ll end up too jittery!
It’s not easy to resist the temptation to reach for a doughnut or a candy bar, as even Dietetics majors who are supposed to know all about food and proper diet still struggle with healthy eating. It’s okay to slip up every now and then, as long as you treat yourself to healthy food and remain critical about what you eat everyday, especially before exams.
Article exclusively written for christinepalumbo.com by C. Macy
C. Macy is a California-based freelance writer and personal trainer. She’s a nutritionist with a particular love for fruits. When she’s not reading the latest food-related studies, she likes to drive out to the beach and have a mini-picnic with her dog, Bobby.