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‘Adequate sleep and balanced diet essential part of exam preparations’

‘Adequate sleep and balanced diet essential part of exam preparations’

Tribune News Network
Doha
Energy drinks give a false sense of energy and trick the body into staying awake for longer and over-consumption of these beverages can have negative health consequences, Zohair Ali al Arabi, a Senior Clinical Dietitian at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has said, while stressing the importance of healthy eating for students preparing for exams.
“It is true that energy drinks will make you feel more alert and energetic, but it’s a false feeling that results in distraction, poor memory, and staying up late. This will make students sleepy and sluggish at a time when they need their concentration and mental sharpness. Energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine and stimulants that students do not need, and drinking milk or juice is a much healthier choice than these stimulants,” said al Arabi.
Many people are misled by claims that energy drinks increase focus and improve performance, he noted, adding that getting sufficient sleep and eating a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for helping students perform well on their exams. He also stressed the importance of staying hydrated as even mild dehydration can lead to tiredness, headaches, and diminished concentration.
“As the exam season starts, many parents will experience stress even before their children. Parents can help their children maintain healthy habits that will keep them in good shape for their exams by encouraging them to eat a nutritious diet, get sufficient sleep, and get regular exercise,” said Arabi.
“Parents play a major role in ensuring their children have access to nutritious foods and should plan the day’s main meals - breakfast, lunch, and supper – as well as one or two snacks. Meals should contain a mix of the six major food groups as each plays an important role. Carbohydrates provide energy; milk, cheese, and other dairy products, and their alternatives provide calcium; protein is an important building block for the bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood; and fruits and vegetables provide important vitamins and minerals that are essential for focus and endurance. Meal planning for students is important as neglecting meals may result in poor concentration and memory because the brain cannot work properly on an empty stomach,” he added.
Eating a varied, well-balanced diet means eating a variety of foods from each of the six food groups daily, in the recommended amounts. It is also important to choose a variety of foods from within each food group.
Al Arabi recommends eating breakfast between 6am and 8am and says a meal containing milk, bread, cheese or Labneh, healthy fat like olive oil, and vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers, is a great choice. He recommended a snack between breakfast and lunch, suggesting a piece of fruit, and says rice, meat, and cooked vegetables or salad is a great choice for lunch. He also recommended a second snack between lunch and supper, suggesting cookies with milk or fruit.
Al Arabi also warned about the dangers of overeating, noting that over-consumption of food, especially foods high in sugar, fat, and salt, can wreak havoc on the body’s digestive system, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and stomach pain, as well as unintentional weight gain. He says overeating causes the stomach to expand beyond its normal size and can lead to feeling tired, sluggish or drowsy.
Al Arabi also recommended avoiding junk or fast food, especially fried foods, saying they can have a negative effect on the brain. He says foods high in saturated fat can compromise the memory and raise anxiety levels.

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