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From the Desk of Dr. Len

What to Eat Before a Test or Presentation

Dr. Len Lopez - Wednesday, March 22, 2017

dr len lopez, what to eat before a test, presentation, We all know how important a pre-game meal is before any sporting activity, but did you know it’s just as important to have the right pre-test/presentation/interview meal as well?


I have to find a better name or term!


Anyway, before your next test, presentation, interview or whenever you need to be mentally sharp -take a look at what you eat before you step-into-the-box.


The reason is really simple, because what you eat will trigger the release of various neurotransmitters (brain messengers) that can either stimulate or suppress mental activity.


Carbohydrates and a carbohydrate rich meal will trigger the release of serotonin which is known to help relax and calm us down.  Something that is great, but before a test or presentation, you don’t want your brain to be calming down and getting ready for a nap. 


Think about it!  How do you feel after a pasta or pizza meal at lunch?  Does it make you want to take a nap? How about a bagel, or oatmeal and juice for breakfast?  Are you guilty of mid-morning slumps?


If you have an early presentation or test STAY AWAY from oatmeal, bagels, pancakes, waffles, donuts or any other type of pastry or breaded food.  They are loaded with carbohydrates, typically refined processed carbs, which are the worst.


What you want to eat to stimulate as much mental activity as possible is PROTEIN.  Protein triggers the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters that work as mental stimulants. 


A protein rich meal for breakfast or lunch will help stimulate not suppress mental activity so you can think clearer, feel a bit more alert and awake.  Some simple easy choices are eggs with bacon or sausage, an omelet with veggies, plain yogurt with nuts (I like hempseed with pecans and dark chocolate chips), jerky, sardines, chicken/beef/fish with veggies.


Coffee and tea (caffeine) can also be used, but stay away from the caffeine found in soft drinks, as they are usually loaded with lots of sugar, which will have a negative or rebound effect on you later.  If you do use coffee or tea, remember it will also make you run to the bathroom more, so be aware of that.


In short - if you need to be as mentally sharp as you can be, make sure your last meal is helping not hindering you. STAY AWAY from foods and drinks loaded with carbs before you take that all important test or presentation.  On the other hand, if you want to give yourself all the advantages you can, EAT a Protein rich meal to help stimulate your brain and nervous system. 


Bon appetite.

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