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Preparing for Exams, Part 4: The Proper Meals

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In Singapore, many parents in particular would prepare pig brains to help their children become smarter, and therefore, excel better at exams. To help you with that, here is a list of food items that you can prepare between your child’s study periods to help boost the “brainpower” of your child.

  1. Salmon: In spite of some people’s aversion to fishes and their stench, the salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the predominant structural fatty acid in the central nervous system that helps with brain growth, brain function, and eye health. Your brain can only make a small amount of DHA from other kinds of fatty acids, so you need to consume it directly from food like salmon.
  2. Eggs: Particularly the egg yolk, which contains choline, a key component of cell membranes that accounts for a high percentage of brain mass. It also contains acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that carries messages to and from nerves. In other words, eggs help improve brain and memory function.
  3. Lean Meat: Basically non-fatty meat such as skinless chicken, skinless turkeys and red meat (like pork chops with the fat trimmed off). Lean meat contains important minerals like zinc and iron. Zinc forms an integral part of the structure that regulates communication between nerve channels, and it has been shown that low levels of zinc can ultimately lead to faulty memory. Iron, on the other hand, helps with supplying oxygen to the brain, so it is quite clear that iron is a very important source of minerals. A lack of it can also cause cognitive and attention deficiency.
  4. Dairy: Milk, cheese and yoghurt – all excellent sources of calcium. Other than improving the strength of your bones, they also help improve the electrical signals within the brain.
  5. Nuts and Seeds: Contains a large range of minerals including protein, essential fatty acids, vitamin E, several B vitamins, iron and zinc, all of which are important for brain function. But if your child is gaining a little too much weight, limit his intake because nuts and seeds are naturally high in beneficial monounsaturated fats; if your child is getting too thin for his own good, do the reverse. Walnuts and flaxseeds, in particular, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  6. Whole Grains (Including Oats): These are the main source of carbohydrates, and the high fibre content helps to regulate and maintain a constant supply of glucose needed for brain energy and function. They are also high in certain B vitamins that assist in making neurotransmitters. The combination of all these nutrients in wholegrain food has also been shown to improve auditory attention and memory cognition.

And there you have it, all the nutritious meals for the entire day, breakfast to dinner. Get packing for your child’s lunchbox now instead of just steaming those pig brains!

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