Sunday, May 27, 2018

Perform Well on High School Final Exams ... Reduce Stress and Eat for Mental Clarity

Each day we get closer to summer vacation the interest in school lessens as the dreams of what to do in the weeks ahead fills a teen's mind. To fight "summer fever" and find the tenacity and mental clarity on test day, there are a few steps that can be taken.

Research shows that eating a nutritious meal helps with mental clarity. Blueberries contain antioxidants which help increase blood flow to the brain. Flax seeds contain magnesium which helps with focus. Avocados contain B vitamins and potassium which enhance blood flow and activate brain cells, help reduce stress, and lower blood pressure. Eggs contain choline which enhances memory. You could have avocado toast with yogurt that has blueberries and flax seeds sprinkled on it for a nutritious breakfast or a scrambled egg with a side of avocado and yogurt and toppings. Enjoy a glass of orange juice or a sliced orange with your breakfast. The vitamin C in oranges lowers blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol.

Snacks that help with clarity include dark chocolate (not sweet milk chocolate), nuts, and seeds. Create a snack mix with small chunks of dark chocolate, almonds, cashews, and seeds like pumpkin and sesame. The fuel will keep your mind and body ready for sustained focus.Almonds are a good choice for the snack mix as they contain vitamin B2 and E which supports the immune system in times of stress. Snack on almonds or almond butter!

If your exams are later in the day, or you wish a nutritious mind bolstering and stress reducing dinner, you could include the following:

  • Turkey which contains the amino acid tryptophan which signals the brain to reduce serotonin which leads to an overall sense of calm.
  • Salmon which contain omega-3s which help the body regulate cortisol and adrenaline when stressed. 
  • Spinach which contains magnesium which helps your body regulate the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Rosemary contains carnosic acid which enhances learning and spatial memory. Recent research is looking into the possibility of rosemary preventing the advancement of cognitive diseases. 
If you cannot get all the nutrients you need in your diet, supplements might be right for you. Some people also react well to scents. Diffusing essential oils in a room may be something that resonates with you too! 

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