Updated: Oct 16, 2020
Preparing for the toughest exam in the Philippines is challenging. It will definitely test you physically and mentally. While preparing for the Philippine Bar Examination, you will find out how important it is to improve and enhance your brain function so it can withstand the five (5) months of rigorous bar review.
For you to improve your memory and your capacity to focus and concentrate, be mindful of your nutrition and your lifestyle. Of course you're allowed to have cake and ice cream sometimes to combat stress but there are healthy alternatives that will greatly benefit your barrista brain.
Good nutrition helps you focus and have stamina to finish your target readings. Eating healthy will also help you think clearly and comprehend better. As you're supposed to read a hundred or so pages daily, you will need to ensure you are able to eat nutrient-rich food that enhances the health of your brain.
Researchers have taken an interest in the effects of nutrition and diet on the chemistry of the brain. Experiments seem to indicate that eating certain foods can increase the levels of concentration of certain neurotransmitters, and that this presumably would have consequences for the speed and efficiency of neural message transfer. One of the more common neurotransmitters, acetylcholine, plays an important part in memory, sleep processes and motor coordination, and seems to increase in concentration in response to higher intake of food rich in lecithin. (Albrecht, Karl (1987) Brain Power. New York, New York: Prentice Hall Press)
Being mindful of what you eat will therefore be important in helping your brain achieve its full potential for the bar exams. The following are the nutrient-rich foods which enhance the health of your brain.
1. Fatty Fish- Two (2) types of omega-3s in particular EPA and DHA, are crucial for optimal brain health and are found in cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and trout.
2. Blueberries- Widely regarded as King of Antioxidant Food, blueberries are essential in energy production within brain cells. Raspberries and Acai fruit are also known as antioxidants or brain-healthy foods.
3. Yogurt- It is a probiotic food which is essential to promote and maintain brain health.
4. Soybean, sunflower, corn and canola- They are excellent sources Omega-6 fatty acids that play an important role brain function.
5. Broccoli- It is known to improve brain health. It is packed with Choline which improves memory. Also, broccoli along with other vegetables contain Sulforaphane, which powerfully assists in DNA repair.
6. Herbs and spices- They are antioxidant superpowers which promote optimal brain-health. Basil is a potent antioxidant that improves blood flow to the brain. Sage enhances memory while Thyme helps protect neurons in the brain and it also increases the amount of DHA in the brain. Spices like Turmeric, cinnamon and cloves are also excellent in improving brain function.
7. Nuts and seeds- Unsalted nuts and seeds are packed with healthy protein which is needed for the health of all body organs and neurotransmitters.
(Amen, Daniel (2017) Memory Rescue: supercharge your brain, reverse memory loss and remember what matters most. Illinois: Tyndale House Publishing Inc.)
Staying Fit and Active
Whether it is yoga, walking or lifting weights, physical activities or exercises help stimulate your brain and improve your ability to think clearly. So, it would definitely be beneficial for you to add brain-boosting physical exercises in your barrista schedule.
Keeping the brain stimulated, whether physically or mentally will help your brain withstand the rigorous training it will go through while you are reviewing for the bar exams. When you allot time for exercise during your bar review, you are able to unwind, keep fit and active and most of all, you are able to stimulate and enhance your brain function.
One of the prominent yet underappreciated features of exercise is an improvement in memory performance. Studies have shown that physical activity stimulates memory formation, increases our neurons' ability to recover from injury, and is exceptionally beneficial to the formation of brand-new brain cells. The more you work out, the more your brain produces a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which plays a key role in growing memory-forming neurons." (Mosconi, Lisa (2018) Brain Food. New York, New York: Avery)
While reviewing for the bar exams, you may be conscious of the limited time you have to review all the bar subjects. As you only have 5-6 months to read your notes, reviewers and bar materials, you are probably preparing yourself for sleepless nights. Yes, you need to put in the work for bar exam success. However, you need to consider how this will affect your brain health. Remember, if you want to function well, you need to sleep too.
Experts agree that sleeping is crucial for memory consolidation and learning, and that poor sleep negatively affects these much-needed abilities. Without adequate sleep, your brain becomes foggy, your attention dwindles, and your memory stalls. This might not be news to anyone who pulled an all-nighter cramming for a test only to find they couldn't recall most of the information the next day. (Mosconi, Lisa (2018) Brain Food. New York, New York: Avery)
You may often forsake the need to stay hydrated because you desperately need to finish your target readings for the day. However, not staying adequately hydrated has consequences for both brain and body. Research has shown that performance in tasks requiring attention, memory and physical performance are diminished when you are just 2 % dehydrated. (Mosconi, Lisa (2018) Brain Food. New York, New York: Avery)
So, for you to achieve your full potential as a barrista, you need to be adequately hydrated by drinking 8 glasses of water everyday.