Boost Your Brain Power With These Superfoods
Students and their parents often inquire about ways to help their children perform better on a standardized test. In addition to study techniques there are many inquiries about vitamin supplements, medications, and certain types of foods. Of course, we are educators, not doctors or nutritionists but we can make a general suggestion about what works for some students.
The use of certain vitamin supplements, lifestyle choices, as well as exercise and rest can help student’s brains function to their full potential.
If a student is vitamin deficient, they may become mentally fatigued more quickly than their peers. Of course, any student with a medical condition should consult their physician, but a general multivitamin is often a good idea for both teens and adults. Teens tend to enjoy fried food and sugar and generally don’t see immediate side effects due to their high metabolisms. Although these foods are delicious, they do tend to fatigue our brains. Receiving 100% daily value of proper vitamins can help remedy a less-than-perfect diet
A balanced diet
Many teens report their distaste for fruits and vegetables. However, these are our natural super foods for the brain. Fruits contain phytochemicals that are not found in any other food source. It is thought that phytochemicals can help with optimal brain function and promote general health and energy. Green vegetables, which contain iron and other essential vitamins, are also a good food to add into the teen test taking diet.
Excess sugar and fried foods often cause people’s bodies and brains to be more sluggish and should be avoided the week before taking an exam such as the SAT or ACT. Save the pizza party for the day after the test.
With the exception of students who participate in sports, most of today’s teens spend more time sitting down at a desk than the previous generation. The more sedentary we become, the easier it is to lose concentration. Assuming a student is in good physical condition, they should aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes 3 times a week. If students are participating in long study sessions or tutoring sessions, it’s a good idea to get up and walk around ten minutes out of every hour. Fresh air is also a positive element of exercise, and students who live in Southern California can enjoy the outdoors year-round.
The one thing that every single student should do more of is sleep. It’s not a good idea to attempt to make up for sleep on the weekends as studies have reported that regular sleep at least eight hours per night is important for the growing brain. Most students attempt to cram the night before an important exam, such as the SAT, which is always a bad idea (READ: “Last Minute SAT Study Guide“). If the student is required to wake at 6 am in order to get to school on time they should be asleep by 10 pm. Without sleep, the brain cannot recover or process information from the previous day. Remember eight hours is the minimum, not the ideal.
According to Web M.D., some of the best superfoods a person can eat include: Blueberries, broccoli, oats, oranges, salmon, spinach, green or black tea, walnuts, and yogurt. The great thing about eating superfoods for higher brain function is that, with the exception of a food allergy or sensitivity, there are no side effects. In addition to higher brain function, students who eat super foods on a regular basis will often find general health improvements, such as energy, during the school day and get more restorative sleep (READ: “Understanding Different Types of Intelligence“).
One of the biggest superfoods, in my opinion, that teens tend to miss out on is water. Many teens reach for sodas and other sugary drinks instead of water. Regardless of the sugar content, for every soda someone drinks they are less likely to drink a bottle of water. Clear, clean water is one of the best ways to stay hydrated. When people of any age start to become dehydrated their brain function generally slows down. Students studying for standardized exams should make sure they are getting a bare minimum of eight 16 ounce glasses of water per day. Students who are exercising or participating in sports should increase their water consumption as needed.
As always, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any supplement, diet, or exercise program. Make sure to keep a regular schedule and stay healthy during test prep season.
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