Eating for Exams

Late night study sessions and upcoming exams might have you reaching for those 2-minute noodles and energy drinks. However, you’ll want to optimise your nutrition during revision and exam period to ensure your brain is ready to absorb all that information with a diet packed with brain boosting foods.

Here are our 12 best brain foods that will help boost your concentration and focus, and where you can get it on campus.

1. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish tops the list and is an abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is important for overall brain function. Incorporating fatty fish like salmon, trout, tuna, sardines and mackerel into your diet while you’re cramming for exams, will aid in improving memory and mood.

Dukkah Salmon @ Main Course  


2. Avocados

Avocados don’t just taste good, they’re also nutrient rich and packed with healthy monounsaturated fats that support healthy blood flow and information-carrying nerves in the brain. A healthy blood flow means a healthy brain. Avos are also high in tyrosine that keeps the brain motivated and focused.

Smashed Avo @ Darwin’s


3. Berries

Berries are antioxidant-rich and can have positive effects on the brain like improving memory, learning and decision-making. Adding berries to your diet during study sessions, can help keep your brain sharp as well as being a great source of nutrients. Antioxidant-rich berries that can boost brain health include blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, blackcurrants and mulberries.


Berry Blast Smoothie @ Darwin’s


4. Dark Chocolate

There is finally an excuse to eat chocolate. Just make sure it’s dark chocolate, as it’s high flavanol levels has been shown to benefit brain function. Flavanol have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that may aid in improving memory and reaction time.

Chow Cacao Smooth Dark Chocolate @ The Lolly Shop

5. Turmeric

Turmeric has been shown to improve the brain’s oxygen intake, increase cognitive function and strengthen memory. It’s a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that may benefit memory and improve mood, which is just what you need to keep you performing at your best.

Turmeric Latte @ Darwin’s and On a Roll Bakery

6. Nuts

Nuts are a great source of Vitamin E and zinc, which helps cognitive functioning in the brain. They are also excellent sources of healthy fat, protein and fibre and can help keep you fuelled throughout marathon study sessions.

JC’s Nuts @ The Lolly Shop

7. Eggs

Eggs are a great way to fuel your brain. The humble egg is nutrient-dense with choline, which is an essential nutrient that aids memory and cognitive functioning. Eggs also have lutein, which is vital for good eye health. Eggs are also a good source of energy that will make you feel fuller for longer.

Egg Sandwich @ On a Roll Bakery

Eggs Your Way @ Darwin’s



8. Green Tea

Green tea contains a smaller amount of caffeine than coffee. It also contains l-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to release caffeine more slowly, instead of all at once, which can lead to you crashing. Green tea can give you a much milder and different kind of “buzz” than coffee.

Tavalon Green Tea @ Darwin’s and On a Roll Bakery



9. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are a brain-boosting superfood that are the ultimate food for a productivity boost to keep you going during exam period. They contain complex carbohydrates to fuel your brain and protein to keep you alert. Chickpeas are also full of magnesium, which speeds up the transmission of messages in your brain.

Chickpea & Hummus Wrap @ On a Roll Bakery


10. Fruit

If you need a sugar hit, the naturally occurring sugars in fresh fruit are going to be more useful than refined sugars. Fruits with naturally occurring sugars also tend to be rich in nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein – all substances which your body requires for optimal health.

Fruit Salad @ On a Roll Bakery

11. Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach and broccoli are a vital source of Vitamin K, which plays an important role in improving cognitive function. They are also full of B-vitamins, which are proven to help memory and alertness. They also contain folic acid, which improves mental clarity. The general tip is, the greener the leaf vegetable is, the better.


11. Coffee

It’s a no brainer that most people rely on coffee to help improve mood and focus, and especially around exam period caffeine consumption usually increases. While caffeine might be helpful, too much can leave your irritable, sleepless and anxious. Make sure you drink coffee strategically and determine the best dosage and ideal cut-off time, so that it doesn’t interfere with your sleep. Getting enough sleep during exams is just as important as your diet.

Coffee @ On a Roll Bakery and Darwin’s



Following a healthy diet and eating regularly during studying and exams is important to keep your mental performance at peak. However, it goes hand in hand with ensuring you stay hydrated and get enough sleep.

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