DIET FOR STUDENTS TO IMPROVE MENTAL WELL-BEING

Exam time comes with a lot of stress and anxiety. At times, it becomes difficult to handle too much pressure. Such high levels of stress result in the release of certain hormones like cortisol in our body which might affect our potential to concentrate and memorise. Therefore, it is very important to keep stress at bay, as much as possible, especially for students. 

A healthy well-balanced diet plays a very important role to beat stress. During examinations, most of the students compromise on their diet. High levels of cortisol increase the cravings for unhealthy foods rich in fat and sugar. Unfortunately, this faulty and imbalanced diet not only makes us fat but further increases anxiety levels. 

Here is the list of some of the foods which are not only nourishing for the body and packed with nutrients but also helps alleviate stress.

1. Milk - Milk is one of the healthiest and nutritious foods for everyone. It is rich in calcium, potassium, proteins, iodine, phosphorus and vitamin B2. Milk aids in reducing stress levels of the body as it contains a protein called Latium, which minimises cortisol levels. In addition, milk also contains tryptophan. This amino acid is required for the synthesis of serotonin which relaxes the mind and calms our nerves.

2. Yoghurt - Yoghurt or curd is another stress-relieving food. Yoghurt comes with an additional perk of probiotics which promotes a healthy gut microbial balance. Poor gut health is associated with increased anxiety and depression. Studies revealed that good bacterias like Lactobacillus help combat the level of stress hormone in the body. 

3. Banana - Bananas can also be a great snack option. Instead of bingeing on chips and other unhealthy snacks, have a banana as fruit or in shakes and smoothies. Bananas have been shown to keep our mood happy and relax by boosting the levels of serotonin. Moreover, it contains minerals like potassium and magnesium which are good for our blood vessels and eases psychological stress.

4. Orange - Oranges are one of the richest sources of vitamin C. Some clinical trials suggest that stress causes a dip in vitamin C levels of the body. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant needed to have strong immunity. Oranges provide this additional dose of vitamin C, strengthen immune health, reduce our tendency of falling ill and stress hormone level.

5. Almonds and Walnuts - Munching on nuts like almonds, walnuts are a great alternative to satisfy in-between meals, untimely cravings. They come with the goodness of healthy fats, stress-busting and immunity enhancing compounds.

6. Green Leafy Vegetables - Leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, mustard greens are rich in many vitamins and minerals. Folate is one of the nutrients present which stimulate the release of dopamine - a happy hormone, in the body. This aids in relieving stress to regulate our mood and improves the ability to concentrate.

7. Dark chocolate - Yes, you have read it correctly! Chocolates also assist in relieving our stress. This is due to the fact that they contain cocoa powder which has a compound called Phenethylamine. This compound has the ability to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, depression and elevate our mood. In order to reap the benefits, opt for dark chocolates and have 1-2 cube per day as they are high in calories as well.

Including these foods in the diet will help in better dealing with the exam pressure and tension. Apart from these foods, make sure to sleep well and take out some time for exercise. A good night sleep and a regular physical activity routine work wonders to melt away all the stress. 

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