16. Exam help – food

Dear Isaac,

You’re like a car – put the wrong fuel in you and you’ll not work well. You’re the same. So, if you want to revise well and perform in the exams fill up with the proper fuel!

My  best advice to you about diet (and I want to talk about this today and tomorrow) is to ask your parents to help you eat the “right” food and cut down on the “wrong” food. They can do the research, shopping, preparing and cooking. All you have to do is the asking for help and the eating and drinking! Easy!

When we spoke you mentioned endorphins – they most definitelyare your friends! They make you feel good and really help you learn and boost your memory. Your brain produces endorphins and if you put the right fuel into your body it’ll produce more. 

The right fuel is foods high in such things as vitamin B12, vitamin C, zinc, potassium, and iron. These seven great foods will do just that: 

1. Chocolate 2. Strawberries 3. Animal proteins 4.Oranges 5. Spicy foods 6. Grapes 7. Nuts and seeds

Your “Yes please!” foods

Oatmeal – When stressed your desire for carbs increases and this can be sorted by eating oatmeal which are slow-to-digest carbs so there’s no spike in your sugar level. 

So, that’s breakfast sorted – porridge it is! (Preferably not instant stuff though please!)

Oily fish – Omega 3 is a fatty acid that lifts your moods and helps you focus your mind. It’s found in big quantities in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout as well as tuna.

So, two portions a week of oily fish please! At least!

Eggs – What a great source of protein, Vitamin D and other stuff which helps you sleep. 

So, have a few eggs a week whenever you wish!

Chocolate  – I know you love your choccy!! Try and eat only dark (70% or more) chocolate please because white and milk chocolate are full of sugar that will make you feel low. They also have fewer antioxidants than you need to help release more serotonin to relax you and helps you sleep well.

So, always have a bar of dark chocolate with you for a great snack!

Try these with a sprinkle of black pepper rather than sugar!!

Strawberries – Jam-packed full of Vitamin C, more so than lots of other fruit and vegetables.Vitamin C boosts your immune system so you can fight any illness more easily so you can keep feeling on top of things. And it really helps you bounce back fast after a stressful time. Such as thinking about exams.

So, eat several pieces of whole fruit every day please.

Red peppers – These are stuffed more than anything else with Vitamin C.

So, eat them raw or dipped in hummus if you like, as a snack any time.

Nuts – Your levels of Vitamins B and E go down when you’re stressed and nuts are an easy way of building them back up. They also give you lots of potassium and magnesium which help you sleep. 

And nuts contain lots of selenium, tryptophan and Omega-3 which all boost your mood.

So, have a few nuts (eg almonds) or seeds (eg pumpkin seeds) as a snack when you feel peckish.

Spinach -You may not thank me for saying this but spinach really is great for revision because it’s great food to help in the battle with stress. It boosts those happy hormones such as dopamine and serotonin because it has so much folic acid and magnesium. 

Other foods that are also great for this are beans, lentils, chickpeas, avocado, broccoli and asparagus. 

So, if you love spinach you’ll love eating it – if you hate eating it, just pop it in and swallow. Quickly! 

Probiotics – Stress hits your healthy bacteria in your gut and hurts your immune system. You can’t revise very well if you’re feeling below par. So, it’s a no-brainer to eat those foods that feed you big slurps of healthy probiotic bacteria – onions, garlic, whole grains, asparagus, legumes (peas and beans) as well as the probiotic yoghurts you see advertised so much!

So, look after your healthy bacteria!

More about fuelling yourself tomorrow – it’s a big topic!

Enjoy the day!