Conquer Test Anxiety . . . With FOOD
Whether a student is in their first or last semester, one thing is guaranteed: quizzes, tests, and finals. For some, this means anxiety which can lead to overthinking, blanking out on questions, or choosing the wrong answer even when you know the right answer. This semester, try a non-traditional approach to deal with these issues all through the power of food.
There’s a reason berries are referred to as superfoods. Blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and even grapes are all linked to significantly affect brain function. According to Study Pal, berries “contain antioxidants and phytonutrients which enhance neutral activity by increasing blood flow to the brain.” Research also claims that berries that are rich in vitamins, phytonutrients, and antioxidants are considered extremely beneficial for relieving stress. They help your brain focus faster and function effectively as well as help protect cells from damage.
Eating berries short term is fine, but they have some amazing long-term benefits. Eating berries can help postpone cognitive decline and manage diabetes. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating just under a cup of mixed berries daily for eight weeks lowered blood pressure.
There’s a common stereotype that millennials love avocados, but whether you love or hate them, Men's Fitness claims that feeling anxiety may be rooted in a B vitamin deficiency. “Avocados are rich in stress-relieving B vitamins. They’re high in monounsaturated fat and potassium which helps lower blood pressure.”
In 2015, Americans ate around 18.27 billion dollars worth of chocolate. That’s 18 percent of the worlds chocolate confectionery. While some may call this a sweet tooth or bad addiction, chocolate has many positive effects. It is good for your heart, reduces the risk of strokes, and helps protect your skin from the sun. Additionally, chocolate can even help with your grades.
According to Telegraph.co.uk, eating chocolate while studying helps the brain retain new information more easily and has even been linked to higher test scores. People who eat chocolate at least once a week see their memory and abstract thinking improve, researchers say.
“Chocolate reduces cortisol – the stress hormone that causes anxiety symptoms." According to Calmclinic.com, "There are also compounds inside dark chocolate that improves mood.”
According to everydayhealth.com, proteins help stimulate the production of certain neurotransmitters which have been shown to improve alertness, mental energy and reaction time. Good sources of protein include Greek yogurt, cheese, nuts.
Are you nutty for nuts? One study on Mercola showed that “eating two servings of pistachios a day lowered vascular constriction during stress.” However, the best nut to eat are almonds (technically not a nut). Almonds are one of the highest-protein nuts and contain a rich amount of vitamin B2 and E. Both help bolster immune system during times of stress.
Almost 60 percent of Americans drink at least one cup per day. Coffee has many positive effects: it can help students stay awake longer (for all those late night studying or not studying), can improve mood, concentration and can even moderately help improve memory. Even the smell of coffee reduces the stress caused by sleep deprivation and damage caused by stress. However, consuming too much can negatively impact your grades.
According to University Language, “If consumed in excess amounts you can experience the jitters, nausea, tiredness and it may interfere with sleep. If you cannot sleep before an exam coffee may actually hinder your performance, resulting in a lower grade.”
The key to unlocking the benefits of coffee is to drink in moderation. Even though everybody may not be affected the same way, it is recommended to consume no more than 400mg, or the equivalent of three to four cups of coffee.
There are a plethora of remedies that help ease anxiety and some students have probably tried it all: sleeping more, worrying less (easier said than done), meditating. But there are also some untraditional ways backed by science. Food. The answer to help lessen anxiety sometimes isn’t about what you do, it’s what you eat.
© 2018 Shelly Reynolds
Barbara Bethard from Tucson, Az on August 30, 2018:
very nice Shelly!