Keep Calm: Reducing Exam Stress With Diet

Just when you thought you had escaped the nagging from your parents about healthy eating when you left for college, here you are getting told to eat your peas and carrots once again. But eating healthy is about a whole lot more than that, obviously, and it doesn’t have to be something you dread. Today we will talk about how your diet can either help or harm you during stressful periods of your life, with a focus on exams (which you probably do dread).

It’s Not Just Your Weight

This is a very important point to remember – the word “diet” just means, basically, what do you usually eat? It does not mean that you’re “on a diet” to lose weight or anything like that. You can be underweight just as you can be overweight, and neither is good. However, being a little bit overweight is not the only issue when talking about dietary habits, stress, and college exams.

In other words: you could be just a regular healthy weight, or even fairly skinny, but if you start eating junk food all day and night during exam time then you are most likely going to feel the negative effects. This includes a lack of focus and concentration, which will cause you to get even more stressed when you’re not getting anything done. So, instead of burgers and pizza, take a little bit of time away from studying to cook some quality meals with the appropriate ingredients.

What to Eat and Drink

  • Water – Coffee isn’t really bad, and you can still have an energy drink every now and then, but you need to make sure you’re drinking a whole lot of water along with them. It sounds obvious and boring at the same time, but it’s important.
  • Nuts – Instead of snacking on chips and chocolates, try keeping a bowl of mixed nuts around. Throw in a few seeds and maybe some dried fruits and you’ll have yourself a nice little energy boosting snack.
  • Protein – You don’t have to gulp down raw eggs and protein shakes like a bodybuilder, but you should be eating foods that are high in protein. This includes things like fish, eggs, nuts, lean meat, and so on.
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetables – This one doesn’t need much of an explanation. Let’s all just agree that your parents, grandparents, and everyone else who told you to eat your veggies were right. Spinach is great because of its high level of magnesium, but if you can’t stomach it then just pick what you’re comfortable with.
  • Whole Grains – Most unprocessed foods such as brown rice, oats, and other whole grains are a good source of thiamine (along with pork and fish). If you don’t get enough thiamine in your diet then you may become fatigued and irritable, and nobody wants that.

Supplements for Stress and Overall Health

Supplements won’t keep you awake for three days straight while you study, but they will help you make the most of your time while you’re awake so that you can remain focused and less stressed out.

What we’re talking about here are supplements made from natural ingredients, for example KSM 66 ashwagandha. Don’t let the weird numbers and acronyms fool you in to thinking it’s some kind of drug – KSM 66 is just the name for this particular extract of the ashwagandha root (Withania Somnifera) and an indication that it is highly concentrated. It’s particularly good for college students because it will motivate you to keep going on those long study sessions, and then support your recovery as you sleep. Ashwagandha will also help you concentrate and respond in a better way to stressful circumstances.

Another supplement that could be great for students is rhodiola rosea, an extract from a wild herb. As with ashwagandha, this herb has been used for centuries by various cultures to prevent fatigue. But what makes it even more appropriate in this case is that it seems to focus more on preventing fatigue over long periods of low intensity exercise, such as studying. In other words: it will help stop you from getting burned out and stressed out before your work is done.

Last of all, particularly for those who are going to be awake for far too long, consider breaking up your meals in to smaller portions. Eating smaller meals more often will keep you topped up on energy instead of waiting hours in between meals.

Caitlin Evans is a bookworm, photographer and dancer. She is also a medical student in love with science. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Caitlin is researching and writing about various health related topics. She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, grilled tofu and caffeine.


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