A deep rumble resonated from my desk, bouncing between the walls of my room.
I looked towards the timer perched in the corner of my desk. Twenty minutes remaining. It hadn’t made the sound.
I glanced around, bewildered. I was wasting precious seconds of time better devoted to my dance practice essay, rather than a mystery sound.
I glanced up again, startled. My pen slipped from my hand, creating a long blue smudged line across the centre of the page.
“Just great”, I thought sarcastically.
My stomach twitched.
And then it dawned on ME. It was ME.
I could feel it.
Another case of… the munchies!
I could sense my brain disconnecting from my body. I was struggling to concentrate. I had fifteen minutes left of the essay.
My stomach was inverting, trying to eat itself in an attempt to alleviate the ache.
I wasn’t focusing on the essay, instead the relentless appetence ravaging my poor stomach.
I struggled to form coherent sentences in my mind. The clarity of my language decreased as it travelled to my fingertips. The words tumbling out of the tip of my pen were illegible. Disjointed squiggles crossed the blue smudged line across the page.
I looked at the timer, ten minutes remaining.
There was nothing I could do.
“Feed me,” my stomach growled, “Feed me now!”
I composed an illegible scrawl, my hand flying across the page. Left to right. Left to right.
I looked towards the timer. One minute left.
Beep. Beep. I released the pen, my fingers clamped into a static position.
I glanced down at the writing paper – the writing paper covered in blue squiggles which barely resembled the English language.
I struggled to determine whether I couldn’t read what I had written because I had scrawled illegibly or because I was struggling to concentrate on one thing longer than a few seconds.
But it didn’t matter, there was one thing on my mind.
I probably should have been worried about how badly my essay ended because I was preoccupied….
But my stomach was driving my mind, and my mind was wandering inside the fridge!
Food can be both a reason for distraction, or a solution for distraction.
Becoming distracted and unfocused is definitely not the most productive way to study.
Especially if your mind is in the pantry, or the fridge.
Not eating the right type of food to sustain brain activity, or not eating at all are detrimental to your studying sessions!
It can easily be solved by consuming the right food to boost brain power!
Optimum brain activity must be sustained whilst studying.
It is extremely important that you are alert and solely focused on the task at hand for the most efficient and effective use of studying time. The more focused you are, the easier it is to retain knowledge, or showcase your knowledge in an answer.
The type of food groups you consume will determine the amount of glucose and how quickly glucose is released into your bloodstream. The glucose derived from food acts like a petrol. You fill the engine, your body, with the foods that will most effectively produce glucose. This in turn, fuels your brain, boosting brain activity.
Hence, it is type of petrol (food) you put into your body, which will affect the activity of your brain.
You want to fuel your body with food which will slowly and steadily release glucose. This will ensure that you stay focused and alert for a longer duration of time. Thus, you can study effectively for a prolonged period of time without being attacked with a case of the munchies.
The lower the glycemic index of food, the slower they release glucose into the bloodstream, keeping your brain alert for longer.
Nuts or Seeds
Nuts including… walnuts, almonds, pistachios, macadamias, peanuts, cashews.
Seeds including… sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, and flax seeds.
Adding nut butters to toast or porridge (very low glycemic index = long lasting energy) or slices of fruit are also alternatives!
Nuts have a high unsaturated fat value, they release energy slowly, keeping you mentally sustained for longer. They also have high levels of vitamin E, which protects neurone membranes and tissues, decreasing brain degeneration. Although not a short term impact, it may ensure memory retention as brain cells age by prohibiting degeneration.
Berries including… blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and strawberries!
Berries can be eaten alone, but taste even better added to a plain yoghurt (very low glycemic index = long lasting energy) or a fruit salad.
Berries improve brain function and memory retention. They activate an enzyme which stimulates oxygen and blood flow to the brain, meaning more glucose is brought to the brain for energy. Antioxidants found in berries have also been found to accumulate in parts of the brain contributing to intellectual stamina.
Including tuna, salmon or anchovies to a brown or seeded bread sandwich or a bowl of brown rice or quinoa (very low glycemic index = long lasting energy) is an effective way to ensure that fish is being included in the diet.
Fish contain omega-3 and many fatty acids which contribute to cognitive endurance. Studies conducted have shown that consuming fish high in good fats increases the volume of grey matter in the brain, increasing memory and cognitive development.
Legumes should be included in a diet because they all provide a long lasting stream of glucose into the brain via the blood stream (very low glycemic index = long lasting energy!).
Lentils, chickpeas and beans can be included in a dark green leafy salad bowl or eaten cooked or dried by themselves.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
These are nutrient dense, compacted with an array of vitamins and minerals. There are so many different types of vitamins in so many different types of fruits and vegetables.
Many fruits and vegetables have a low glycemic index and provide long lasting energy.
Basically – eat a lot of fruit and vegetables and your brain will be overwhelmed with energy!
Aim to combine food rich in an array of vitamins and minerals with those of a low glycemic index. Your brain will be super energised and you will be able to concentrate to finish that past paper with flying colours!
I always find that its fun to make fancy and creative snacks as a study break!
Energised brains are the key to effective studying!
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Sibel Alca has two little problems: Perfectionism – it drives her and everyone around her insane, and her brain’s inability to decide what it wants in life. If there was a career which combined her scientific curiosity, and her performing arts passion, she’d be set. But even with her flexibility from years of dancing, Sibel is finding that it’s difficult to stay intact when opposing passions pull you in polar directions. After surviving her Preliminary HSC year while completing half her actual HSC, Sibel believes that anything is possible. She is looking forward to a lighter, perhaps easier, HSC year in 2017.