7 Nutritive foods to improve your child’s concentration during exam time
Created by Puja Sharma Vasisht Updated on Sep 13, 2021
Exams are on their way and your child needs to be healthy and fit to face the academic pressure and all the stress that comes with it. As you go about taking care of your child’s every need, here’s something you must know: Food and nutrition have a direct impact on a child’s mind – and this is scientifically proven. Findings of a study conducted by American Journal of Public Health reveal the importance of good diet for optimum brain development – and this starts early in the life span. Simply put, the importance of right nutrition for children cannot be stressed enough, especially during exam time.
There are specific foods that boost memory and in turn would help in improving your child’s concentration during exam time. I would call them the “seven pearls of wisdom” – a regular intake of these foods is bound to have a positive impact on the mind and also improve your child’s overall health.
Here are the seven pearls of wisdom:
1. Fish: A rich source of omega-3 or DHA (docohexanoic acid), an essential fatty acid. Omega-3 helps to develop better IQ, aids in mental or cognitive development and can also help your child cope better under exam stress. Studies suggest essential fatty acids, especially omega-3, play a role in brain tissue development and function. So if a child is given fish (could be trout, shad, herring, sardine or salmon) at least three times a week (200-250 grams/ week), it would help in improving the concentration of your child, over a period of time.
2. Black walnuts /Flaxseeds: For vegetarians, nuts, especially walnuts (3-4) or seeds like flaxseeds (one teaspoon) are a good alternative to fish, to meet the omega-3 requirements. Both these are a good source of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which in turn is converted to DHA in our body.
During a study break, treat your child with a homemade granola bar:
Mix together crushed walnuts (3-4), flaxseeds (two teaspoons), Horlicks (3-4 tablespoon), roasted oats (1 teaspoon) and 1-2 mashed dates to make a granola bar. Add a few drops of water to bind it.
3. Whole grains: The brain needs a constant source of energy that is glucose, which helps to improve focus and concentration. Whole grains such as broken wheat, oats, bajra, unpolished rice with fiber help in releasing glucose slowly into the blood, which in turn helps in keeping the child mentally alert through the day.
4. Dark leafy veggies: These are rich in iron and folic acid. Studies indicate that treating an iron deficiency resulted in a significant increase in IQ; a decreased level may affect a child’s ability to focus and concentrate. Get a blood test done for your child – if the haemoglobin count is low, consult your doctor for supplements and definitely increase your child’s intake of green leafy, organ meats and whole legumes.
5. Dairy: While planning your child’s diet, make sure to include cheese, milk, curd, whey powder, poultry. These foods are rich in Vitamin B12. According to a study, a deficiency of vitamin B12 in early years may compromise psycho-educational functioning.
6. Eggs: Eggs are rich in choline – a B group vitamin, that helps to produce acetylcholine, a neuro transmitter. Acetylcholine helps to boost memory, which in turn would help your child during exam time. One egg a day is recommended by medical practitioners.
7. Finally, be traditional: The tradition of giving yogurt before sending your child for an exam as a “good luck” has a scientific basis. Yogurt has amino acid-tyrosine which is required for production of neurotransmitters – dopamine and noradrenaline, which act as stress busters. Tyrosine also appears to enhance performance of individuals under psychological stress.
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