During high-stakes exams like the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE), junior’s brain is going to need all the fuel it can get from their diet. Sticking to a healthy yet power-packed diet will help their body weather the stresses of prepping for papers.
Your child should be eating a wide array of foods and in adequate proportions said P Afrose, nutritionist at Eat Right Nutrition. She advises that your child should consume at least five to six servings of rice and whole-grain alternatives, two servings of fruit, vegetables and variety of meats daily. Milk should also be a part of their diet — between 250ml and 500ml a day should suffice.
Exercising during study breaks can improve energy and concentration levels while regulating exam-related stress and anxiety suffered by your kid. Afrose adds that prior research has shown a child’s academic performance improves with exercise. The Health Promotion Board suggests that 60 minutes of exercise with moderate to vigorous intensity every day.
“If you are thinking of using yummy treats as a reward to prod junior into studying harder for the exams, Parveen urges you to stop.”
If you are thinking of using yummy treats as a reward to prod junior into studying harder for the exams, Afrose urges you to stop. These “reward” foods — fast food, candy and cookies, in particular — tend to be high in sugars and fats. They not provide the vital nutrients that their body needs. Try and include these eight foods instead:
Salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids — eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — which are vital for proper brain functions. DHA in particular, is more prevalent in the brain and has been shown to help reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Afrose notes, “Salmon has the active form of EPA and DHA which the body uses readily.” Other types of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids include trout, mackerel, herring and sardines.
Rich in antioxidants like vitamin E, walnuts are good for enhancing cognitive functions. Your child’s brain development gets a boost too, especially since walnuts are a good source of alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acids.
3) Broccoli and cauliflower
These cruciferous veggies are rich in choline, used to in the body to form neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Afrose notes that it plays an important role in brain development.
An inexpensive — and natural — food to boost kiddo’s sharp sight is next…
Eggs are an inexpensive source of protein, which could make junior feel fuller for longer periods of time. “It provides 18 vitamins and minerals, including nutrients like choline and omega-3 fatty acids,” said Afrose. The yolks in particular are a rich source of lutein, which is known to boost sight.
These berries are bursting with brain-boosting goodness! Packed with antioxidants — vitamins C and E — they can help junior’s learning, thinking and memory. “[Blueberries are] also packed with micronutrients like folic acid, calcium, selenium, beta carotene and lutein,” explained Afrose.
Low concentrations of selenium in the blood have been shown to be related to Alzheimer’s and brain tumours!
Nutritionist Afrose says research has shown students who consume [essence of chicken] showed increased alertness and better concentration, allowing fewer mistakes to be made in a test.
6) Whole grains
Glucose powers the brain enabling your child to concentrate and focus. Afrose says that grains with a low glycaemic index release glucose slowly which ensures that the mind remains alert throughout the day.
She adds that whole grains ― grains with their covering layers of the bran, the germ and the endosperm intact — provide more vitamins, minerals and fibre than refined-grain products like white rice and white bread. Plus, fibre — another biggie in whole grains — is required to help regulate junior’s bowel movements and overall digestive health.
7) Green, leafy vegetables
Give your kid’s cognitive functions a boost with fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants — to fend off infections — like vitamin C, carotenoids and vitamin B. Afrose says to choose greens like spinach, chye sim and bok choy (Chinese cabbage).
8) Essence of chicken
Afrose explains that the tonic is rich in proteins, amino acids and peptides that can help improve cognitive performance in memory and learning. She says that research has shown students who consume the tonic showed increased alertness and better concentration, allowing fewer mistakes to be made in a test.
P Afrose is a nutritionist at Eat Right Nutrition.
Infographics: Lim Jae-Lynn
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