The Impact of Diet and Nutrition on Students’ Learning Outcomes
It’s no secret that the brain requires some essential nutrients to function optimally. A lot of studies have focused on how to improve the brain and overall health.
But do you know that an unfulfilling diet can alter your brain’s cognitive abilities?
Students with nutritional deficiencies are prone to metabolic adjustments that affect their cognitive potential and the overall performance of the brain.
Dietary supplements have shown remarkable benefits. Researchers are still working on discovering a direct link of nutrition with brain activity.
A student’s eating habits heavily influence not only their physical but their mental health. Indirectly, a bad diet will reflect poor academic performance in school.
How Do You Identify Bad Diet?
Students tend to be invested in schoolwork and extracurriculars, forgetting to take care of themselves. Most often their diet is neither planned nor adequate. That’s especially so, when they’re on their own or under pressure of academics and examinations.
But it’s not so difficult to know when your diet goes off the track. Your body will give you these signals to tell you if something is wrong.
Here are the typical symptoms you should look out for:
- Feelings of fatigue
- Experiencing digestive discomfort
- Frequently falling ill
- Bad oral health (bleeding gums, cavities, bad breath, etc.)
- Bad skin (wrinkles, droopy skin, acne due to unbalanced hormone production, etc.)
- Unhealthy hair and scalp (experiencing massive amounts of hair loss, greasy hair, dandruff, etc.)
- Rapid weight loss or gain
Some of these symptoms can be damaging to your mental and physical health. They may take a toll on your confidence and ego.
Moderating your food intake makes all the difference. A well-rounded meal plan includes all sorts of brain foods.
Nutrients and Their Impact
Let’s see how good nutrition and the lack of it impacts our body functions.
Unsaturated Fats, Protein, Carbohydrates And Natural Sugars
These nutrients derived from pulses and lentils, fruits and veggies collectively help us focus, pay attention and mediate our emotions.
Studies show that consuming foods with a high amount of saturated fats can lead to weak memory, low energy, and critical health conditions.
Inadequate carbohydrate intake may lead to lower amounts of blood sugar. This in turn negatively affects the hippocampus, the part of our brain that regulates learning and declarative memory.
Adequate protein is vital as growing bodies require protein more than any other nutrient. Proteins are synthesized into dopamine and noradrenaline, which are neurotransmitters.
Put simply, protein fuels chemicals that are responsible for learning and processing memory. Dopamine affects the perception of reality, motivation, and the ability to experience happiness. Noradrenaline helps regulate stress and blood pressure.
Vitamins And Fatty Acids
Vitamins and fatty acids (such as omega-3) are essential for strong vision and cell maintenance.
How to Improve Academic Performance?
Being a student comes with a lot of responsibilities. Understand that asking for help is okay; whether it’s wanting someone to do a paper for you in case you’re overwhelmed, or seeking help from a school counselor, or needing extra guidance from a teacher. All of this is normal.
Push yourself to promote an affordable balanced diet. Incorporate greens, vitamin supplements, nuts and seeds, carbs, and a decent amount of natural fats in your routine.
Take occasional breaks from academics to pursue a hobby or an interest to keep your brain engaged and active and prevent burnout.
Every decision you make is interconnected. Eventually, making healthy lifestyle choices will help you achieve your academic goals.
The human brain is a powerful yet fragile organ system. The brain is responsible for all the learning – a process that never really stops.
Nurture your brain and start introducing yourself to new, healthier foods to support your ability to learn, explore and grow.