The pressures we feel at times are internal due to our poor dietary choices. Dr. Caroline Leaf is a leading educationalist, author and brain researcher who believes “There is a proven link between what we put into our mouths and how we think and feel.” In the article “Foods to boost brain power,” Dr. Leaf explains, in short her study, on what brain foods are, the children’s response to brain food, and its relation to emotion and test performance. “The right foods protect children’s health in body and mind,” says Dr. Leaf. “They also improve marks by boosting academic performance on the exam day.”
Baltimore County Public School system has done a great job informing parents before MSA to make sure the children have rest and breakfast before exams, but the nutrition chosen can make an effective change in attitude and performance. The best diet during exams is the diet of our ancestors. That means foods as much in their normal state as possible, such as meat, fish, chicken and eggs, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, preferable organic. These foods optimize brain function. They provide the sustained energy needed for hours of intellectual activity. They activate memory by stimulating the release of neurotransmitters; brain chemicals involved in receiving, processing, storing and accessing information optimally when needed most- during exam (Leaf).
The worst foods during exams would be all the junk, processed, high-carbohydrate foods- some breakfast cereals, breads, cakes, sweets, pies and other foods saturated with sugar, salt, chemical colorants, flavourants and preservatives. They inhibit brain function. They “cloud” the brain and “fog” thinking by inhibiting the release of chemicals needed for an alert brain. Dr.Leaf specifically goes over how the individual types of brain food affect the improvement of brain function. “Breakfast is essential to kick start the brain on the day of an exam.” Many parents think as long as their children eat before exams they would be better equipped to take their MSA exams. Often giving Cinnamon Toast or Pops cereal as a quick fix breakfast, but this information proves this is not the way to go. Dr. Leaf also goes over getting better quality sleep and exercise as increasing brain efficiency and decreasing anxiety, which would give children a better testing position.
When parents are informed about the nutrition they chose for their children, they will purchase better foods and the children will actually enjoy school, because they feel great, which allows them to do well. Having a smart, well adjusted child starts with good nutrition. Please visit Dr.Leaf’s site for the extended study and articles on children’s nutrition and learning ability: