Boost Your Brain Power for Exams and Work – 10 Tips for SummerTime

 

As summer rolls around, the combination of high temperatures and brain-intensive tasks like exams or demanding work projects can be daunting. Over the years, I’ve navigated these challenges by optimizing my vegan diet and lifestyle to keep my mind sharp and focused. Here’s my story and some insights on how you too can boost your brain power and enhance cognitive function during the hot summer months.

Embracing the Summer Heat

I still remember waking up on a summer morning, the sun just beginning to rise, and starting my day with a refreshing glass of water followed by a nutrient-packed smoothie. These early morning rituals became my foundation for staying hydrated and energized. A diet rich in plant-based foods provided me with sustained energy and essential nutrients, setting the stage for productive days ahead.

Brain Food and fruit plate by Chen Mizrach

Enhancing Cognitive Function for Exams and Brain-Intensive Work

1. Stay Hydrated

Hydration became my mantra. I started my day with a big glass of water and made sure to hydrate regularly. Snacking on water-rich fruits like watermelon, strawberries, and oranges kept me refreshed. I also experimented with homemade electrolyte drinks using coconut water, lemon juice, and a pinch of sea salt to replenish minerals lost through sweat.

2. Nutrient-dense meals

My go-to brain-boosting breakfast was a smoothie bowl with banana, blueberries, spinach, chia seeds, and almond milk, topped with nuts and seeds for added omega-3s. For snacks, a trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit or hummus with veggie sticks was perfect. Lunchtime often featured a quinoa salad with chickpeas, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and a lemon-tahini dressing, providing a good mix of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs. Dinners typically involved a stir-fry with tofu, broccoli, bell peppers, and brown rice, offering complete protein and essential nutrients.

Nutrient Dense Meal

3. Brain-Enhancing Supplements

To ensure I was getting all the necessary nutrients, I included a B12 supplement or fortified foods in my diet. An algae-based omega-3 supplement supported my brain health, and I took an iron supplement when needed.

4. Creating a Conducive Study or Work Environment

Studying or working in a cool, well-ventilated room helped me prevent overheating and maintain focus. I took short breaks every 45-60 minutes to stretch, hydrate, and refresh my mind. Incorporating mindfulness techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises significantly reduced stress and enhanced my concentration.

5. Optimizing My Schedule

I found that scheduling intense study or work sessions in the morning when temperatures were lower and my brain was fresh worked best. Cooler evening hours were reserved for review and consolidation of information.

6. Healthy Desserts to Boost Brain Power

Treating myself to chia pudding mixed with almond milk and topped with fresh berries and a drizzle of maple syrup was both nutritious and delicious. A small piece of dark chocolate with a handful of almonds became my brain-boosting treat, while frozen banana bites dipped in dark chocolate served as a refreshing and healthy dessert.

Photo by Yulia Khlebnikova – Chia Breakfast

7. Good Sleep Tips

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day regulated my sleep cycle. Keeping my bedroom cool and dark promoted better sleep, and creating a relaxing bedtime routine that included reading, gentle stretching, or meditation signaled to my body that it was time to sleep.

8. Light Exercise for Mental Clarity

Morning walks(or a short, light early morning run) started my day on the right foot, getting my blood flowing and boosting my mood. Gentle yoga practice stretched my body and calmed my mind, while even short bursts of exercise increased endorphins and improved concentration.

9. What to Wear on Exam or Work Days

Choosing loose-fitting, light-colored clothing helped me stay cool during exams or work. Comfortable footwear avoided any distraction from discomfort, and layering up with a light jacket or sweater kept me comfortable in air-conditioned environments, but if there was no air-conditioning, well forgot the sweater…

Miranda Kerr street style

 

by Ateliê Mariely Freitas
(Left to right) L.L. Bean Women’s Cloud Gauze Shirt, Long Sleeve in Coral Quartz; Banana Republic Sedona Linen Dress in Buffalo Brown; Quince 100% European Linen Maxi Shirt Dress in Golden Brown; H&M Women Linen-Blend Shirt in Blue
L.L. BEAN; BANANA REPUBLIC; QUINCE; H&M – (aarp.org)
Photo: 8848os.com

*My upcoming article will focus on how and what to wear in this year of plastic-free fashion. We’ll explore making smart outfit choices whether you’re on vacation, at work, or attending an event. But first, we’ll delve into suitable outfits for teens and adults for exams and office settings.

10. Concentration Tips on Exam or Work Days

A healthy breakfast with protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs fueled my brain. Bringing a water bottle to my exam or office ensured I stayed hydrated(and a healthy low-caffeine coffee like Ganoderma or aloe coffee packed with nutrients and a nice aroma). Practicing deep breathing exercises before and during the exam or work session kept me calm and focused. Maintaining a positive mindset and using visualization techniques helped me feel more prepared and relaxed.

Veganism and Cognitive Function

Research suggests that a plant-based diet can have several benefits for brain health. Antioxidants and phytonutrients in plant foods help reduce inflammation, which is linked to cognitive decline. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can improve cardiovascular health, ensuring better blood flow to the brain. The complex carbohydrates and fiber in plant-based foods provide a steady supply of glucose, the brain’s primary fuel source.

Practical Examples and Meal Ideas

Hydrating Morning Smoothie: Ingredients: 1 banana, 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 cup almond milk. Blend all ingredients until smooth. Top with sliced almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup for added sweetness and nutrients.

Midday Power Salad: Ingredients: 1 cup cooked quinoa, 1/2 cup chickpeas, 1/2 avocado, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, mixed greens, lemon-tahini dressing. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with lemon-tahini dressing and mix well.

Evening Stir-Fry: Ingredients: 1 block firm tofu (cubed), 1 cup broccoli florets, 1 bell pepper (sliced), 1 carrot (sliced), 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 cup brown rice (cooked). Stir-fry tofu and vegetables in sesame oil until cooked. Add soy sauce and mix well. Serve over brown rice.

 

*NEXT: Stylish and Sustainable: Outfits for Exams and Office in the Year of Plastic-Free Fashion – where comfort meets style (tips & tricks)

Read Also: Summer Training Tips




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