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Avoiding Refined Carbohydrates on Exam Day

According to Dr. Mindell, you should avoid refined carbohydrates every day, but especially when you have to concentrate. They will cause the body to secrete insulin, which can make you lethargic and hinder your concentration.

Just as there are many examples of foods that are good for you, and in essence, good for brain health, there are sources that hurt cognition, brain function and the ability to concentrate. "Many of the foods people rely on to help 'keep them going' are actually hurting them," says Stoler. "Examples of foods that are not so good for brain power, concentration, etc., and some alternatives include MSG (monosodium glutamate), alcohol, saturated fat, hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fatty acids, sugar (processed carbohydrates) and salt. Avoid these foods and beverages for a better memory and better concentration."

Alternatives to the "Think Before" Foods

There are alternatives. Instead of reaching for a soda or a candy bar for a quick pick-me-up or a beer after work to unwind, Stoler says you may want to check into some healthy alternatives.

"As previously stated, many of the things we eat to try to keep us going actually are what is slowing us down ? physically and mentally," says Stoler. "Some great alternatives are hard boiled eggs, raw vegetables, milkshakes made with soy milk, peanuts, an apple, orange, banana, grapes or even a few squares of dark chocolate."

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