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Tips for staying healthy and priming your brain for maximum performance for exams and tests.

While setting up a study plan with your tutor, doing regular review sessions and doing mock exams and practice tests are an important part of exam preparation, many people ignore their nutrition during this very important time in the school year. Your brain is a vital organ which requires vital nutrients, protein and carbohydrates in order to keep it healthy. Here are some tips to help boost brain function and improve performance during tests, culminating performance tasks, and final exams.

1. Don’t skip meals! Even if you’re busy, or have stress-related jitters, it’s important to provide your brain with energy in order for it to work efficiently. Hunger is just another distraction that will take away focus from the task at hand. You’re better off focussing on your math than your growling stomach. If you’re too busy to sit down for a balanced meal, try a protein shake or fruit smoothie.

2. Smart snacks: try to eat small meals and snack regularly. Feeling too full will lead to a sense of tiredness. Whether you’re studying for Chemistry or English, you’ll need to keep lots of munchies on hand. Some bright ideas for snacks: raw veggies (like celery, cut peppers or carrots), fruits (like bananas, berries, cut-up cantaloupe or oranges).

3. Drink lots of water. Dehydration can lead to a lack of concentration, so make sure to keep a bottle of water handy at all times. You can add some slices of lemon or cucumber for flavour. Try to stay away from sugary drinks and caffeine.

4. Protein increases mental alertness. Reach for eggs, nuts, yoghurt, cottage cheese or fish to help give your brain a boost.

5. Foods to avoid: Try to stay away from foods made of white flour and refined sugar, like cookies, muffins and candies. Carbohydrates lead to a feeling of relaxation, rather than alertness and foods high in sugar can cause spikes in your blood sugar.

6. Sleep feeds your brain too! Don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep before each exam. Working out a study schedule with your tutor means that you’ll be less likely to need to cram the night before your final exam.

Whether you’re studying for Physics or Philosophy, Accounting or Calculus, you’ll need your brain to perform at its maximum potential. Make sure you’re ready to take on any challenges that may come your way by eating smart!

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