Cara Cunningham, MINDI, Community Dietitian
Wednesday, August 15 – just a date but to second level students it mean only one thing - leaving cert results day! Many homes are thrown into chaos at this incredibly stress-inducing period. So what could you eat that may help lower the temperature and calm those fraying nerves?
Some may reach for comfort foods like chocolate, sweets and a good old fry but stop. Think about it - these choices tend to make you feel good for a little while, but then comes the sugar slump! So, in order to avoid the rollercoaster of moods and fortify you, to keep you as cool as a cucumber long term here are a few suggestions.
Switch to Low GI! Sounds very technical however what this means is go for high fibre versions of foods, were the energy will be release slowly into your body, keeping your blood glucose level on a more even keel and more importantly leaving you feeling less anxious, irritable and edgy. Low GI foods include granary type breads, wholegrain, fruits and vegetables.
Choose the rainbow of fruits! Especially fresh fruit which are packed with Vitamin C and the B vitamins. Low levels of these vitamins have been linked to depressive moods. It fortifies your immune system making you ready for anything!
Keep well hydrated! Even a small amount of dehydration your mood drops, concentration drops and you get more irritable. So make sure to have at least eight to ten cups of fluid per day (approx two litres ). If the weather is hot, adding some frozen lemon or cucumber to water, is a good way to cool it down and add flavour. Fluids can be any type of liquids (apart from alcohol ), but beware the caffeine rich drinks such as coffee, tea and colas, although they may make you feel alert. Too much makes you feel ‘jittery’ – not a good mix!
Keep active! I know this isn’t food but the more active you are the healthier your brain is, making it easier to cope with everything life throws at you. Also time spent exercising is less time for thinking!
Alcohol, as a depressant, mixed with stress isn’t a great combination. The best advice is (if you are over 18 obviously ) stick within the limit – they are no more than 17 units per week for men and 11 units per week for women. Remembering that is a limit not a target and these units should be spread over the week not all saved up for one or two nights.
There is no doubt waiting for anything is stressful but hopefully everyone get the results they deserve and have worked so hard for. Best of luck!
For more information on any of the issues discussed above or for more information on diet and nutrition, please contact Maria at: The Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster by telephone on (044 ) 9395518 or email [email protected].