Make good food choices for great grades.
Eating habits can affect concentration, memory, and overall grades.
How you choose to fuel your brain and body while at school will affect your overall performance in class and in exams. A couple of simple hacks can keep you supporting your body, so your body can support you.
Exam time is associated with late nights and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee! For anyone sensitive, that can mean trouble sleeping, irritability, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, and headaches. So know your limits: Health Canada says 400 mg a day is safe for adults 19 years of age or older. That’s 2 medium Tim Horton coffees, or one extra-large and a can of Coke.
Considering an energy drink? The caffeine in energy drinks may help you stay alert, but these drinks are higher in sugar and calories, and more expensive than healthier beverages. Companies like to add amino acids, like taurine, or extra carbs, like inositol, but there is no evidence to suggest these ingredients are anything but a sales technique. Niacin (B3) is a common addition to energy products, but niacin can cause burning, tingling, itching and redness in the face, arms and chest if consumed in big enough quantities. Limit these beverages and watch out for portion size!
Growing evidence has shown that being even a little dehydrated is tied to a range of subtle effects — from mood changes to muddled thinking. In one study, they asked participants to limit water consumption during the day, and then gave them a test. One percent dehydration caused from just one day of limited water increased total errors by 12%. If you knew having a big glass of water would reduce your exam errors by 12%, would you do it?
If you want to get the best grades possible, the evidence is clear that breakfast helps. In fact, the more often you have breakfast the better, as studies have found that eating breakfast 7 days a week is associated with better grades and test scores than eating breakfast 5 times a week! Carbohydrates get converted into blood sugars, which is your brain’s preferred fuel source. It helps with memory, recall, focus and concentration. Planning a balanced and nutritious breakfast is simple with the new Canada’s Food Guide; include one fruit or vegetable, one protein food, and one whole grain and you’ve got a breakfast to fuel both brain and body for an active morning.
Healthy eating isn’t all depravation and kale. Chocolate happens to be very, very good for us! Dark chocolate in particular enhances production of endorphins in the brain, aka the “feel-good” hormones. It also reduces pain and minimizes the negative effects of stress. Dark chocolate is a good source of flavonoids, which have been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, which in turn improves memory, attention span, reaction time, and problem-solving skills! Math problems? Try chocolate first! And in case that wasn’t convincing enough, the antioxidants in dark chocolate have been proven to reduce the risk of dementia in later life.
Most importantly, listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry, drink water when you’re thirsty, and get some sleep when you’re tired. It’s the easy way to get to an A!
MEET OUR NEW EXECUTIVE CHEF KEEGAN GILCHRIST
At 6 foot 9 Chef Keegan cuts an imposing figure in the kitchen, even when he's not holding a knife. Keegan is executive Chef at the OttawaU. He has refined his culinary skills working at a variety of restaurants. He earned a chance to apprentice at his family’s favorite restaurant, where he started working washing dishes. This is how he worked his way through the ranks to Assistant Manager where he was in charge of production, and dinner service.
Keegan is from a remote part of Quebec where he grew up on lake front property. His love for cooking started at a very young age, along with his love for fishing. He used to hike down a stream running out of his lake where he would catch brook trout and bring them home where his mother would pan fry them as he would watch in amusement. They would also go berry picking and make blue berry pies and wild berry cobblers. Keegan spent his adolescence in Utah where he live with a Mexican family and learnt authentic Mexican cuisine (passed down from generation to generation). This is where he developed his love for spicy food. He has since mastered many different international styles of cooking.