Come board exam season, stress is in the air. However, according to experts, your performance isn't dependent only on how well you study; it also depends on what you eat and what you don't, your sleep and exercise.
"Because of exam stress, parental pressure, social pressure and peer group pressure, many students tend to lose their appetite. However, it can be minimised if they plan their diet intelligently," says Ushakiran Sisodia, chief dietician and nutrition consultant at Nanavati Hospital.
According to Sisodia, the blanket rule is to have a proper breakfast and balanced meals throughout exams. Skipping meals can be dangerous. Don't starve or fast as brain needs adequate amount of energy to function well during exams, she says.
Elaborating, Sisodia says, "Firstly, eat oranges as much as possible. It will refresh you with lots of vitamin C, which helps to reduce stress. Secondly, eat dates; craving for sweets happens because your glucose level drops. Thirdly, eat walnuts; they are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which boost your immunity. Also eat groundnuts with jaggery. This not only increases energy and iron level but is also easy to digest."
"Finally, replace your biscuits with homemade dry snacks so that you don't get acidity. Acidity not only causes discomfort but also reduces concentration level. Whole wheat flour laddoos with ground almonds are good options instead of pastries or packaged sweets. Include lots of homemade vegetable soups in your diet," she adds.
Sisodia also says that students must avoid two-minute noodles and oily and junk food. Don't eat roadside food as it's not hygienic, and a single mistake can lead to stomach infections, she adds.
While most students study late into the night and don't sleep adequately, experts say this practice does more harm than good. "A healthy routine must be followed in order to have the best energy level throughout the preparation period," says ayurveda specialist Dr Niranjan Patel.
"Avoid studying late into the night and have a sound and peaceful sleep for a minimum of seven hours. Getting up early at 3.30am, Brahma Muhurta, is said to be the best period to study and revise as there is no sound pollution at that time," adds Patel.
If you play a sport or learn music or are pursuing any other course, continue doing that even during the preparation period. According to Patel, going for a brisk walk or playing a sport for at least an hour daily is a must to relax the muscles and energise the body and mind.