Eating healthy foods may increase focus while studying for finals

Pulse Reporter and Pulse Reporter

As finals approach, sophomore Julie Nemeth knows she will increase her caffeine intake to help her study.

Nemeth said she goes to Starbucks regularly, but when finals week comes around, she makes her own coffee.

“I have a coffeemaker in my room and I definitely use it more often during finals week,” she said. “I like coffee it helps me study – It’s the caffeine I’m certain.”

Caffeine comes in handy for students that are studying, Nemeth said.

Mary Jon Ludy, a professor in the family and consumer sciences department said one cup of coffee is all that it takes to help students focus when wanting to study.

“If you start having five cups of coffee, it’s not going to help you more than the first one did,” Ludy said.

Something Ludy said was that students need to be more conscious of is eating more full, regular meals, which will help students focus for exams in a healthier way.

“I know a lot of times students don’t eat all day because they wake up late for class,” she said. “Part of the brain thing is eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. Maybe have some snacks in there as well.”

A balanced meal consisting of carbohydrates and protein help keep the body going for three to four hours between meals. Fruit and vegetables are strong in iron, vitamin E, Selenium and Vitamin B-6 can help students focus, according to the Livestrong website.

“Carbs should give you a kick within 15 minutes of eating,” Ludy said “That should keep you going for 1 or 2 hours, and then the protein kicks in at the 1 or 2-hour mark and keeps you going for 3 or 4 hours.”

But food is not the only trick students have developed to help them study.

Freshman Nick Blakely said he likes to suck on mints to help him focus.

“I have used peppermints since my third grade teacher passed them out on a test,” Blakely said. “They work for me and I trust them when I study or take any exam.”

Ludy said she has heard of students using mints as a way to help them focus, but has no data on whether it has nutritional worth.

“The peppermint thing is something I have been exposed to,” Ludy said. “I think there is something where the teacher is telling you that you are going to do better, so I think there is a psychological effect that is attached to it. If you believe you are going to do better, you are going to do better.”

The most important part to eating focus food Ludy said is that you should start right away.

“There is no reason to wait [to start eating better],” Ludy said. “I think that is important to start thinking about too because if you are studying for finals, the time to study is not the night before. You won’t retain all the information from staying up all night. Likewise, now is a good time to start [eating better].”