As students are having stressful days due to mid-term exams these days, the experts suggest that they need to watch out their eating habits in order to focus on long and intense days better. Asst. Prof. Dr. Zeynep Fırtına Karagonlar, Lecturer at IUE Department of Food Engineering, mentioned that students opted for chocolates and energy drinks for quick energy; however these had negative impacts on health and exam performances in the long run.
Karagonlar indicated that exam periods are times of long, continuous, intense days for students. She said, “Majority of the students focus on only studying and getting good grades during that time. They don’t even want to spare time for eating. But eating healthy may be the key to success.”
Karagonlar, who mentioned that students preferred fast and unhealthy food during this period, indicated that healthy and balanced eating was very important for brain functions. “Consuming empty calorie foods that include refined sugar which lack the essential vitamins and minerals decrease the learning and concentration skills; make us feel tired throughout the day. You need to take care of your body and supply it with good nutrition. And this calls for a hearty breakfast,” stated Karagonlar.
Calcium, magnesium, vitamins B and C are especially important and needed for maintaining the physical and psychological energy required when studying. Lack of these essential vitamins and minerals cause the body to release the stress hormone ‘cortisol’, thus increasing hunger and making people go for high calorie food options, reported Karagonlar.
“Watch Out For Caffeine!”
She also mentioned that caffeine looked like the biggest helper of those sleepless nights during exam periods; however, excess caffeine caused health concerns such as heart palpitations, stress, and discomfort. Karagonlar said that beverages like coffee were diuretics and caused more loss of liquids. She said instead of consuming too much caffeine, inhaling and exhaling deep breaths and doing simple exercises for 10-15 minutes every day would help retain energy and focus better.
Karagonlar, who suggested healthy snacks in between the main meals, stated the following:
“Healthy snacks balance blood sugar levels; they delay hungers and speed up the metabolism. Eating healthy snacks between the 15 minute breaks would help students focus better in class. Raisins, dried figs, dates, fruits, and nuts make good snack options. The body also needs good sleep habits in addition to eating habits. People, who get enough sleep on a regular basis, are less prone to health problems and are more alert and productive throughout the day.”