I'm writing two 3-hour long exams beginning at 1 pm this Tuesday and Friday. So I am going to have breakfast and an early lunch.
I have read that fish is good for your brain, but is that true, and if so, is is something that would have an immediate effect?
My usual lunch is fish or chicken with a salad and some root veggie chips, and a couple squares of dark chocolate.
I would have to go with coconut oil, salmon, green tea, and honey. And personally fasting doesn't make me more mentally clear, if anything it just makes me hungry. I focus best when I am neither hungry nor stuffed.
My clearest/sharpest test day was when I had a whole turkey leg for breakfast. That was a good decade before even knowing what paleo was, I just had leftover turkey for breakfast with some salt on it and noticed that I felt awesome, super focused and calm at the same time. Salt perks me up too, almost as much as caffeine but without the jitteriness and added bathroom trips, so salting whatever you are having the morning of the test could help too.
Eggs make my brain foggy, and make my belly a bit queasy, so if you have any sort of reaction to eggs I couldn't recommend those.
I don't think the omega 3 effect from fish would be immediate. When it is called brain food, I think that is because it has the building blocks for your brain to support it over time. So if you haven't eaten fish all quarter, eating a ton of it now isn't going to do much.
But the thing that really helps the most is sleep and actually knowing your shit. So study early and often, and don't forget to sleep.
I'm in my last year of high school and we had Dr Michael Carr-Gregg lecture us about good study habits. He talked about using diet, exercise and sleep patterns to maximise our brain power. His top brain foods were:
He also had a bunch of other tips that are best summarised here: http://www.vicparentscouncil.vic.edu.au/index.php/student-wellbeing/exam-survival
My personal opinion is that you should, based on past experiences because your exams are quite soon, choose the foods that you know you react well to. Everyone responds differently. Some do their best in a fasted state, some after a large meal, some having eaten a carb-rich meal and some snacking periodically every few hours before. I wouldn't be experimenting with new foods at this point in case of an adverse reaction. If you usually have caffeine, have caffeine, but if not, now is not the time to see how it goes. As for the above foods, I agree with Carr-Gregg in that they have been shown to improve brain function. Eggs and blueberries in particular had an immediate effect when eaten for breakfast on the day of an exam. Of course, there is also the placebo effect.
Play it safe. Perhaps try different foods and processes after the exams are over for future referene. The most important thing is to be well-rested and to know your stuff. Good luck!
I went to law school and had lots of days like this. Taking some mints into the exam with me helped me to stay alert during the exams. Also, on study days try taking a 15 min nap. No longer! That's was my brain food. Naps. Hope that helps.
Eggs and butter as in 'quiche'. My slightly befuddled, 93 YO father commented on his mental clarity one morning recently after completing his morning crossword.
He usually eats low cholesterol food but the quiche had been provided by a neighbour the previous evening at a social gathering. He is a retired MD and it is a bit difficult persuading him that cholesterol containing foods need not be avoided.
Personally when I eat sushi (sashimi, no rice and only teensy amounts of tamari & wasabi) I feel calm and clear for a couple of hours afterwards. The calm is the most obvious to me...as if I could sit and meditate awhile and not get distracted. Maybe you can do an experiment one day before your exam?
What I would do? Fast for at least a good 12 hours. Digesting food is the single most energy consuming function of the body. The brain needs access to 25-30% of the available energy your body has at any and every given moment. In my opinion if you want to concentrate on a task more efficiently, I would direct all your energy towards that task; whether it be physical, such as working out, or mental, such as studying or taking an exam. But that's just what I would do. And the best way to have access to a steady supply of energy during a fast is on a ketogenic diet, but more specifically in a state of ketosis.
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