Doha: With students’ exam period approaching, the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) advises school students to follow a healthy diet.
Asma Ouagueni, Dietician at PHCC’s Leabaib Health Centre, said, “Healthy diet during exam period is an essential component that contributes to academic achievement, as nutrition impacts stimulation and inhabitation of concentration and memorisation related areas in the brain.”
Ouagueni stated that students should not skip their breakfast meal, especially during exam period, as it is essential to replenish the body with energy needed to move, concentrate, and study, and it helps stabilise their blood sugar levels. She advised students to eat complex carbohydrates found in whole grain bread or oats, in addition to protein found in milk or eggs, and fibre found in fresh vegetables, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, to name a few, and fats found in olives, nuts, avocados, and some liquid oils. This is how we end up with a satisfying breakfast that feeds both your tummy and mind.
The dietician noted that the breakfast alone is insufficient, explaining that “we also need balanced lunch and dinner meals that are not large or high in fats, as students would feel overwhelmed, which leads to a feeling of laziness and lethargy, resulting in a low academic performance.”
The dinner should be prepared early, at least two hours before bedtime, to enable the body to digest food and avoid gastroesophageal reflux and other possible indigestion health problems arising from incomplete digestion of food.
Ouagueni recommended eating snacks – meals consumed between main meals, stating that students should choose snacks’ quality over quantity, as many students choose calorie-rich snacks without nutritional value, such as chips, sweets, soft drinks, chocolate, among others.
“Recent studies have shown that although these choices may provide sufficient calories for the body, they may cause low-grade inflammation known to happen with those with obesity and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, as they are rich in simple sugars, bad fats, preservatives.”
These choices also negatively affect the formation of gut bacteria, which leaves a negative impact on brain functions through the gut–brain axis, leading to inhibition of concentration and memorisation areas and impairment of cognitive function, Ouagueni added.
Exercising such as walking in leisure time and sleeping early for at least seven hours are also recommended to avoid headache and poor concentration.