TOP TIPS FOR HELPING YOUR CHILD PERFORM DURING EXAM TIME
Exams. An innocuous little word but one that conjures up images of stressed and exhausted children and equally fraught parents. However, with a little extra attention to a child’s nutritional and physical needs during this time, parents can ensure their children are properly equipped to excel.
Quality fuel for the body
An adequate intake of nutrient-rich, low GI foods will produce a steady release of energy throughout the day and allow your child to maintain concentration levels. Poor concentration has been linked to low blood-sugar levels, so in addition to three balanced meals your child will need to snack regularly on slow release carbohydrates such as bananas, apples, nuts, popcorn, avocado, and wholegrain breads and cereals to avoid those mid-morning or mid-afternoon energy slumps.
“Sugar makes you stupid”
This is the name of a paper recently released by Dr Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a professor of integrative biology and physiology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science.
Says Dr Gomez-Pinilla, "Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think. Eating a diet high in high-fructose corn syrup over the long term alters your brain's ability to learn and remember information.”
High-fructose corn syrup, a cheap liquid six times sweeter than cane sugar, is commonly added to processed foods, fizzy drinks and sweets. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes more than 40 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup each year.
However, Gomez-Pinilla also found that supplementing with omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can help limit the damage caused by high-fructose corn syrup. He says, “DHA is essential for synaptic function — the brain cells' ability to transmit signals to one another. This is the mechanism that makes learning and memory possible. Our bodies can't produce enough DHA, so it must be supplemented through our diet."
"Our findings suggest that consuming DHA regularly protects the brain against fructose's harmful effects," said Gomez-Pinilla. "It's like saving money in the bank. You want to build a reserve for your brain to tap when it requires extra fuel or to fight off future diseases."
More on Omega-3 – nature’s brain food
Evidence is mounting on the importance of omega-3 supplementation for optimal brain development and functioning. While there has been much talk about the positive impact of omega-3 supplementation on children diagnosed with ADHD, this vital fatty acid is beneficial for all children, particularly at times when heightened concentration and focus are required.
Eye q™ is the only fatty acid formulation that is backed up by published clinical trials, and the results of numerous controlled trials performed in the UK’s Durham school district since 2002 have astonished educators and parents alike.
Andrew Westerman, a former County Durham head teacher and consultant to the Department for Education and Skills' National Remodelling Team, said: "This trial looked at how we can improve children's behaviour and learning through the use of supplementation, and we were stunned by the results, particularly in areas such as memory and concentration.”
The results of this trial, carried out at a school in Newton Aycliffe, showed that two-thirds of the children who supplemented their diets with eye q™ improved their exam performance.
Increase your child’s water intake
Another aspect of the successful results in the Newton Aycliffe trial was increased water consumption. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, poor concentration and reduced cognitive abilities, and even mild levels of dehydration can have a negative impact on school performance.
While most children would sooner reach for a fizzy drink, water is essential for optimal brain health and function. It maintains the tone of membranes for normal neurotransmission, and keeps the brain from overheating, which can cause cognitive decline and even damage.
By the time a child actually feels thirsty, there may already be a 10% decline in cognitive ability, so it is essential that children drink water regularly throughout the day – the recommended water intake for children between 9 and 13 years of age is at least 2 litres a day.
Ensure your child gets adequate sleep
The final aspect of the Newton Aycliffe trial was ensuring that children got adequate sleep every night. According to the US National Sleep Foundation, to function optimally children aged between 5 and 12 years need 10 - 11 hours of sleep a night, and teenagers need between 8½ - 9¼ hours. In polls conducted in the US, only 15% of children were getting the recommended amount of sleep.
As you have probably always suspected, staying up all night doing last minute cramming is really counter-productive – your child is more likely to forget information if he is not getting enough sleep. With proper planning, cramming should not be necessary.
The Sleep Foundation also recommends that children not be exposed to stimuli like TV’s and other electronic gadgets for one hour before bedtime, to ensure they fall asleep quickly and that sleep is uninterrupted.
Take regular breaks from studying
New research has revealed that 90 per cent of parents aren’t sure how long their children should spend studying. Educational guidelines recommend that studying is done in 30 to 45 minutes blocks with a ten minute break in between.
If possible, get your child outdoors during those breaks for a jump on the trampoline, a quick game of soccer, or a bike ride or walk around the neighbourhood.
About eye q™ chews
eye q™ chews have been specially formulated for children with “nature identical” strawberry flavoured chew capsules to minimise fishy smell and taste. They contain no additives like aspartame, saccharine, or hydrogenated oils.
Like all other eye q™ variants, the Omega-3 and Omega-6 oils are naturally sourced and of the highest grade, compliant with stringent EC and WHO regulations with regard to dioxins, PCBs, heavy metals and other potential pollutants.
eye q™ chews are available at leading pharmacies in pots of 60 or 180 capsules,