Exams can be stressful, especially if you are under pressure to score high. People do lots of crazy things before the exam expecting a better result. You will be shocked to know that some students in South Korea don’t wash their hair before the exam, believing that it would wash off all their knowledge. In China, the color ‘red’ is considered to be lucky. So don’t be surprised if you find most students in red dresses in the exam hall there. Just like that, it is common to have special prayers before the exam in most cultures.
Despite all these rituals, one of the most important things to do before the exam is to eat well. You should eat foods that will boost your brain and help you concentrate during the exam. So, that’s why we incorporated a list of the best foods that you can eat before the exam to have a peaceful, stress-free, and enjoyable test.
Why should you eat right before an exam?
More or less everybody feels stressed during an exam. However, if stress turns to anxiety or panic, then it can severely affect your performance at the exam hall. When you feel stressed, your brain doesn’t work at its best and you may forget what you have learned. Here are some symptoms of exam stress:
- Feeling anxiety
- Not being able to concentrate
- Not being able to sleep properly
- Failing to relax
- Having headaches
- Increased heart rate, etc.
You should practice healthy habits so that you don’t get overly stressed during the exam that can lead to panic attacks. Good nutrition is mandatory before an exam; it will give you the following benefits:
- It will help you to stay focused.
- It will give you energy and help you concentrate on the questions at hand.
- You will be able to relax and utilize your brain at its finest if you eat well before the exam.
- The right food will help your brain to absorb and recall information quickly.
- It will also prevent aches, fever, and nausea that could happen because of excess stress.
So, it is absolutely necessary to know which foods are best for your brain before a test and which foods to avoid. That way you will be able to give your best effort at the exam hall.
10 best foods to eat before the exam
Typically, your brain uses up a major part of the nutrient you take in; that’s why you need to eat well before the exam to help it function at its peak. Before the exam, it is very common to experience stress. In such a state, people tend to crave for sugar and snacks. But you should avoid these foods and focus on eating healthier that will be good for your brain and overall health. Here are the best foods to eat before the exam:
Eggs are full of protein and help to boost your memory. You can have poached, fried or boiled eggs every day before the exam.
- Your body uses protein-rich foods like eggs to manufacture amino acids; these are very important for maintaining mental acuity.
- Eggs make you feel fuller than pastries or other sugary foods that are not good for you.
- It contains vitamin B12 which helps to convert glucose to energy.
- It helps in the development of the brain.
- It enhances alertness.
- It improves cognitive performance.
- It also fights fatigue.
Eggs are good for breakfast and something great to have before starting your exam preparations. You shouldn’t skip egg for a single day before the exam!
2. Oily Fish
You must have heard that Omega-3 is important for the heart, but did you know that it’s super important for the memory as well? Oily fishes such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, trout, herring, etc. are considered as brain foods (foods that are beneficial for your brain.)
- Oily fish improves concentration and increases brain volume.
- It relieves depression before the exam.
- It contains protein that helps the brain to function efficiently.
- It lowers the risk of cognitive decline and in fact improves cognitive functions.
- It can boost learning capabilities.
- It helps in the prevention of ADHD in children.
You must include one of these fishes in your lunch or dinner days before the exam. It will improve your overall memory and help you revise effectively before the exams.
Fruits should be an essential part of your diet before the exam days. It is a great snack to eat in between meals or something to eat along with your meal as well. You should eat fruits like banana, apple, orange, berries, etc. every day before the exam. Fruits have several benefits.
- It helps to keep the blood-sugar level stable which improves concentration.
- They contain powerful antioxidants which help to keep you focused.
- It contains natural sugar that gives a lot of energy.
- It helps to replenish and rehydrate the body and helps you not to feel sleepy after a meal.
- Fruits like apples contain acetylcholine which improves sensory perception.
- Fruits can reduce anxiety.
- It improves learning and reasoning skills.
- Blueberries can improve verbal and numerical abilities.
- It helps in positive decision making.
- Fruits provide protection from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
It is highly recommended that you eat some kind of fruits every four hours before the exam. Fruits can improve cognition and overall brain health.
You should eat green and dark colored vegetables before the exam to improve concentration. Vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, bottle gourd, etc. have a lot of benefits.
- It provides protein, calcium, and water which are good for your body and mind.
- Vegetables are vital sources of vitamins B6, B12 and others which will improve alertness and overall brain performance.
- The dark green vegetables contain vitamin K that builds pathways in the brain.
- Vegetables contain nitrates and antioxidants that boost concentration.
- Sea vegetables like kombu, nori, etc. have high amounts of iron that helps to stabilize the blood sugar level.
- Broccoli is effective in renewing and repairing neuro-connections.
- Broccoli also speeds up the brain’s healing process, in case of any brain damage and help to prevent dementia as well.
You can eat vegetables boiled or cooked. Just make sure that a major portion of your lunch or dinner plate contains vegetables.
Nuts are quick sources of protein and these are important for the brain. So, whenever you feel hungry while studying for the exam, just grab a handful of nuts and you will feel recharged. Here are the major benefits of having lots of nuts before the exam:
- It gives you a burst of energy to sustain during the time of exam and before.
- Nuts are packed with fats and nutrients that are good for your brain.
- Nuts are very convenient to eat, so no matter how busy you are, you can always grab some nuts.
- It improves the natural waste removal process in the brain.
- It helps to process information faster and helps to develop neurotransmitters in the brain.
- Nuts have antidepressant effects; so you won’t feel depressed before the exam.
- Nuts are a good source of vitamin B6 which is a very important mineral for brain function.
- Walnuts and cashews are sources of Omega-3, so if you don’t like eating fish you can still get the health benefits of Omega-3 from some walnuts.
Nuts are great for snacking. So, instead of having unhealthy foods like pizza and French fries, you should have nuts whenever you feel hungry in between meals.
Seeds like flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc. are sources of Omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats are very efficient in fighting anxiety and depression. It will be very helpful for someone preparing for a test. Seeds also provide the following benefits:
- Helps prevent memory loss.
- Improves focus
- Helps to treat depression.
- Seeds contain which is a very important mineral for the body. During stressful situations our body loses zinc; so by eating seeds, you will be able to replace the lost zinc quickly restoring the normal body functions.
Seeds improve overall brain power. It contains various fats like ELA and ALA that are helpful for your proper brain function. If you don’t feel like eating the seeds as it is, you can make a powder of it and drizzle it on your salads or soup.
You should eat oats for breakfast before the exam. It is easy to prepare, so not much of your time will be wasted on it. Here are the many benefits of oats:
- These are rich in potassium, zinc, vitamins B and E which are helpful for the brain to function at the optimum level.
- According to researches, it improves the cognitive function of the brain.
- It is digested slowly, so you will stay energized and full for a long time.
- It helps to keep the blood sugar level balanced.
- It helps to reduce the low-density lipoprotein which lowers the absorption of cholesterol in the body leading to brain damage.
Oats have brain-boosting benefits that can help to fight diseases like dementia. So, it’s important to include oats in your diet, especially before exams.
Milk is a must-include in your diet before the exam. If you drink a glass of milk every day, it will boost your brain power.
- Studies show that if you drink milk regularly, you will perform better in memory tests.
- Magnesium in milk helps to prevent memory loss.
- It protects from high blood pressure and heart diseases.
Try to drink low fat or fat-free milk. You can also try milk alternatives like cottage cheese and yogurt. Milk products will also help your brain to function properly.
9. Green Tea
Caffeine can help you to stay awake and study for long hours before the exam. However, you should avoid drinking coffee as it may reduce your ability to focus properly because of too much caffeine content. Also if you become too dependent on coffee, it may lead to conditions like fatigue. So, you shouldn’t take a risk by having a cup of coffee while Green tea is a healthy alternative for it.
- Antioxidants in green tea enhance concentration.
- According to some studies, it may reduce the risks of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
- It contains a small amount of caffeine, so acts as a stimulant that helps you to stay awake and study for long hours.
- It improves your mood, so you can be more focused on your studies.
- It fuels your brain to work harder for longer hours.
- It helps to avoid Down syndrome.
So, if you need a quick boost, drink green tea. You will feel refreshed and energized before the exam.
10. Dark Chocolate
We already know that dark chocolate helps to lose weight. But you will be glad to know that it also helps in the proper functioning of the brain.
- It is natural to be in stress before the exam and too much stress can have negative consequences on the body and mind. Dark chocolate will reduce the negative effects of stress.
- It improves problem-solving skills, boosts memory and improves focus.
- It increases blood flow to the brain which is necessary for the proper brain functioning.
- It reduces the risk of dementia.
- It contains caffeine and theobromine which acts as stimulants and it is far better than coffee.
- It is rich in antioxidants and provides energy.
Dark chocolates are good for both body and brain. You can eat dark chocolates before the exam to improve your brain function.
You should always make sure that you eat a balanced meal before the exam. Your meal should contain whole grains, vegetables, and proteins. It is better to eat small frequent meals rather than three large meals. Never think of skipping your breakfast as it’s the most important meal of the day and will help your brain to work at its best. You should avoid eating the following foods before the exam:
- You must avoid foods that will block your brain’s ability to function properly; foods such as cakes, cookies, and other desserts that are high in sugar.
- Turkey contains L-tryptophan that will make you feel sleepy, so you should avoid eating it before the exam as well.
- If you eat rice and potatoes in large quantity, you will also feel sleepy and heavy.
- Avoid drinking alcohol before the exam as you may have a headache or nausea.
You should stay hydrated all the time and avoid all kinds of energy drinks; even cola. You will lose concentration if you stay dehydrated. You must get enough sleep before the exam for your brain to function properly. Though it may be difficult, still you should find some time for exercise before the exam. It will keep your brain working and you will be able to study better.