“Food is simply fuel, not just for our physical performance but also for our cognitive performance.”
While studying, it is so important to make sure your body is healthy and your brain can function at its highest capacity. We all know what it’s like to be slaving away on an assignment or cramming for an exam and struggling to understand or retain any information.
Deakin Graduate and nutritionist, Tammy Kacev spoke to Dscribe about how important a healthy and consistent diet is while studying.
“Food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance, which is why a poor decision at lunch can derail our study sessions” Tammy explains.
When deadlines are rushing at you and all of a sudden exams are on your doorstep, sometimes it is hard to remember how important food is and to ensure you have a healthy and consistent diet.
“Nutritional status can directly affect our mental capacity while studying” Tammy finds. Iron, zinc and carbs are all really important nutrients that we have to make sure we have in our diets while studying. They provide you with better concentration, perception, intuition and reasoning.
Even if students are eating healthy foods for their main meals, it can sometimes come undone when they snack on a rush and pick an unhealthy option.
“Prepare healthy nutritious snacks for between meals to keep brain fuelled during those long study sessions,” Tammy advises with plain Greek yogurt with fruit or plain crackers with peanut butter being some of her suggestions.
Instead of hearing your tummy rumble in the library and opting for a bag of chips and an energy drink, you should grab a banana and a bottle of water. Hydration is so important and is often forgotten when deadlines are overwhelming and coffee seems to be the only cure for your drowsiness.
“Hydration helps fight fatigue”, Tammy says. Make sure enough water is being consumed every day to enable your brain to work to its full potential when learning. 2 litres a day is recommended.
Dscribe spoke to University students from Melbourne to see if they eat healthy snacks and what their favourite snacks to eat while studying. This is what they said:
Ali, 20, Deakin Media Student: “To be honest, I often feel too busy to pack snacks before coming to uni because I work as well as studying. I almost always buy food when I am at uni but I try to get the healthier options. Sometimes I go for chips or a toastie but usually I go to my favourite cafe on campus and get a yoghurt and fruit mix!”
Luke, 19, Monash Science Student: “I still live at home with my family and I have younger siblings so mum always has snack food in the cupboard for me to grab if I have uni. Usually I just grab some fruit or a muesli bar when I am going to class.”
Sam, 18, Deakin Nursing Student: “In my first year of uni I never ate healthy but during my studies and placements I have learnt how important it is to eat well so I try really hard to do that now. Usually for uni days I take fruit and some nuts and make sure I drink heaps of water while I am studying so I don’t get a headache or anything that will slow me down.”
At university, concentration and motivation can be your best friend or your worst, so make sure you fuel your body with healthy foods to ensure your mind can stay focused which will help you get the results you want with your course.