Come exam season, not only do kids face the jitters, but it is also a ‘test’ing time for the parents. They don many roles; as a student mugging up their children’s syllabi and then as a coach for their lil ‘uns. However, their concerns are not just restricted to studies. Mothers face the heat when it comes to planning the most nutritious, exam time meal and snacks that could keep the children going during exams.

MEMORY BOOSTER FOOD FOR KIDS

Presenting a list of must have nutrients and their sources for the harried parents and their little Einsteins in the making!

Sugar, sugar all the way! 

Did you just picture blocks of sugar as the ideal brain food? Then you are wrong! Although the dense network of brain cells and their activities require energy; they derive it out of glucose, a digestive end product of carbohydrates. The more demanding and thought-heavy the activity, the more our brain craves for glucose! [1]

So what happens when the brain doesn’t get enough glucose? It can impact memory.

At first, it turns selfish and consumes other organs’ share of glucose to power on its activity.2 However, prolonged absence of glucose can heavily impact memory, attention span, and reaction time, not a good turn of events during exams.

So does that mean you load up a meal with cakes, pastries or colas? A definite NO! Research finds that the kind of sugar matters too. A meal which releases sugar slowly, categorized as low glycemic index foods, were shown to improve short-term memory, attention span, response times and accuracy in a highly difficult task when compared to foods with high glycemic index. 3

Exam time foods to eat: Foods with soluble fiber such as oats, whole grain foods and products, pulses and millets such as chickpea, ragi, black chana among others, fruits among others.

Foods to ditch: Pastries, cakes, highly processed foods, candies, colas, fruit juice, packaged foods.

Fats are good for memory! 4

The right kind of fats, that is.

Studies have found improved memory, concentration and academic ability in school children who were provided with omega-3 fatty acids.

The most important of the omega-3 fatty acids are docosahexanoic acid or DHA. Sadly, our body is inefficient in producing DHA. Hence, we have to rely on the diet to get them.

Exam time foods to eat: Salmon, mackerel, oysters, walnuts, flax seeds, spinach.

The ‘other’ fat (foods to ditch): Not all fats are good for boosting memory and cognition! Saturated fat and trans fat, amply present in foods termed as ‘Junk’ can affect the memory and learning in worse possible ways. Watch out for fried, baked and some packaged foods.

Go pro antioxidants 4

Even the brain needs to protect itself from the harmful effects of free radicals! What better way to do so than providing antioxidants in the diet? Of the entire range of antioxidants, flavonoids have shown to prevent learning and memory impairment, promote the development of new brain cells and improve memory too. A similar effect was also seen with curcumin, the antioxidant from turmeric.

Exam time foods to eat: Citrus fruits, cocoa, beans, roots of Gingko Biloba.

Minerals and Vitamins: Vital for memory 4

Do we really need to give a reason to stock up on vitamins and minerals? However, vitamins that deserve a special mention in light of memory is folate. Adequate amounts of folate have shown to improve brain function and ultimately memory. Folate along with other B complex vitamins have shown to preserve the brain function and prevent gradual cognitive decline. The antioxidant powers of vitamin C and vitamin E can’t be under-stressed too. Minerals such as iron and iodine too are historically known as the brain minerals.

Exam time foods to eat: Citrus fruits, guava, green peppers, sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin, carrots, sweet potato

Reference: – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805706/

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