The right diet to better face the final exam

Maturity exam: to get to the appointment in perfect shape, well rested and concentrated, it is essential to follow a varied diet

From June 22, over 500,000 students will be engaged in state exams. To get to the appointment in perfect shape, well rested and concentrated, it is essential to follow a varied diet, which includes healthy foods rich in essential nutrients to maximize brain functions. To declare it is Elisabetta Bernardi. "No single food – explains the expert – is able to provide all the essential nutrients to the body or our brain, but there are some nutrients that more than others can affect cognitive ability, memory and learning and they can represent an additional weapon when studying and in view of exams ".

Among these we find fruit, vegetables and animal proteins, especially among white meats that "in addition to keeping our body healthy and light, contain many of those nutrients such as omega 3 fats, vitamin B12 and iron that have proven useful for the health of our brain ". The brain needs energy. Although it is only 2% per cent of the body's weight, it devours over 20% of the energies we take on a daily basis. With these demands, foods greatly influence the structure and function of our brain. But with the exam at the gates how do we regulate ourselves? According to Bernardi, already from the weeks preceding the first day of exams it is essential to follow a varied diet, which includes foods from all food groups, because only in this way it is possible to compose the complex puzzle of nutrients and protective substances useful for maintaining the healthy body. Among all the foods we find some that work much more.

Cereals, especially whole grains, fruit and vegetables, which guarantee the supply of vitamins and minerals. Tomatoes contain vitamin C, fiber, phytochemicals, lycopene and other components. It is also essential to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day and not to miss sources of protein such as meat. Among the meats, chicken is preferred because "it contains low fat, a fair amount of protein and many of the individual nutrients essential for the correct development of the brain and the optimization of cognitive activity". Starting from folic acid. And while the deficiency of vitamin B12, present in large quantities in chicken meat, is associated with decreased memory and the onset of exhaustion and mental confusion, zinc plays an indispensable role in the formation of synapses. Chicken meat also provides several minerals, including iron. "Iron deficiency – explains the nutritionist – can be the cause of low levels of attention and concentration, with consequent poor results".

Obviously there are many other harmful foods. A diet too rich in fats and sugars or in calories can damage brain structures such as synapses through free radicals and reduce cognitive functions. Exaggerating with foods that bring fat makes it difficult for our brain to function. “Often students make a series of typical mistakes – explains the nutritionist – they exaggerate with coffee, energy drinks, or choose foods that are low in nutrients but high in fat and sugar. This is a fairly typical situation for those preparing for an exam and this can cause an exhausted, low-concentration and nervous student to arrive on the day of the exam. " Obviously, it is necessary not to rely on food supplements and energy drinks.

If it is true, in fact, that these can give a rapid boost, in the long term, the high levels of caffeine contained in these drinks can increase irritability and affect sleep. Drinking these drinks can lead to health problems. And after the exam? “The more students grow – concludes Bernardi – the worse their diet becomes. At university, students' eating habits often deteriorate due to many factors such as stress, sedentary lifestyle, changes in eating patterns. However, making optimal nutritional choices is important for optimal well-being and academic performance. ”

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