To get the best grades you can in your exams, it’s important to feel motivated and be in the zone to succeed. This motivation starts with fueling your brain with foods that will help you succeed.
Staying healthy is key to high educational performance, so it’s good to adopt a healthy diet to keep your brain and body on top form.
So whether you need to do your essay from scratch or go into college to sit your exam, it’s important to have a proper meal beforehand so that your brain is fueled and you feel ready to work.
When planning your pre-exam meal, you should generally try to eat healthy foods like fruit and vegetables. These foods are proven to improve how you perform academically, but can also improve your mental health. They’re also so much better for your brain than over-processed foods like sweets.
In this article, we’ll take you through 10 of the best foods to eat that will help your brain succeed in college exams—some of them might surprise you!
How the food you eat affects your brain – Mia Nacamulli
Why is it important to fuel your brain before an exam?
When you go into an exam, you want to feel like you’re on top form.
You’ve probably spent a lot of time revising and following some of the best revision tips but all of this hard work won’t mean anything unless your brain is functioning properly.
If your brain is fueled properly, you’ll find it easier to recall all of the information that you learnt while studying. You can fuel your brain by eating foods that are proven to support brain function.
Generally, the best foods to eat before your exams are things that haven’t been highly processed—so stay away from foods like sweets and crisps.
All of the foods that we’ll be discussing in this article are super healthy, and can also easily be incorporated into fun and exciting meals.
These meals will not only keep your stomach full throughout your exam but also keep your brain focused and energized.
10 foods to eat before an exam
1) Oily fish
Foods like mackerel and sardines are extremely healthy types of fish as they contain lots of protein and omega-3.
These important nutrients will keep your brain functioning, but are also relatively cheap to buy at the supermarket—which is great for students like you!
2) Dark greens
The darker the green, the better it is for you! Things like kale and broccoli are all dark, leafy greens that are super healthy for college students.
Look out for these kinds of greens next time you’re in the supermarket because they are full of nutrients like Vitamin K, B6 and B12.
These have all been proven to help your brain focus, and will keep you alert so you can remember everything you’ve studied.
3) Peanut butter
Peanut butter is an easy food to add to your diet as all you need to do is put it on some toast to enjoy it.
Peanut butter contains healthy, unsaturated fats will help you to stay alert and keep focused.
4) Green tea
If you want to feel less stressed during an exam and feel more alert, make sure to drink a glass of green tea beforehand.
The delicious tea contains the perfect combination of caffeine and L-theanine (an amino acid) that will improve the way your brain works, and your ability to stay focused for longer periods of time—all things that are going to be very important whilst you sit your college exam.
5) Fresh fruit
The more raw food you eat, the better you’ll feel, so of course fresh fruit was going to make its way onto this top 10 list.
A lot of fresh fruits like oranges, kiwi, tomatoes and strawberries all contain high amounts of Vitamin C.
This is a great vitamin that supports your overall brain health and can protect the cells in your brain from future damage.
This may seem like a bit of an odd one, but onions are actually an amazing food to eat to help your brain succeed in exams—maybe just make a dish using onions, rather than actually eating an onion on it’s own though!
Onions contain anthocyanin and Vitamin B, which both work to keep your brain healthier, for longer.
7) Whole grains
Whole grains, or complex carbohydrates, like pasta, brown rice, cereals etc. are all rich in fibre and are sources of slow-releasing energy.
This means that they will fuel your brain for longer, and you won’t experience the slump you sometimes get when eating foods with high amounts of sugar.
Whole grains will help you keep a steady supply of energy throughout your exam, which will improve the likelihood of your success.
Not only are eggs one of the most versatile and simple foods to cook with, they’re also great for your overall brain health.
Whether you fry, poach or boil them, they’re the perfect way to prepare your brain for a college exam as they’re packed full of nutrients.
Some of these nutrients include protein and Vitamin B12 which will fuel your brain with energy to keep you focused during your exam.
9) Dark chocolate
Looking for a sweet snack that’s going to help you before an exam? Look no further than dark chocolate.
Make sure that it’s dark chocolate that you’re eating, not white or milk chocolate—these types of chocolate have been heavily processed so they don’t contain the key nutrients that dark chocolate does.
Treat yourself to a bar of chocolate before your exam as a lot of studies have found that dark chocolate keeps you focused for longer, speeds up your reaction time and helps to improve your memory.
10) Olive oil
You may have heard that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world, and a key component of this diet is olive oil.
Studies have shown that olive oil can be linked to better visual memory and fluency, so will help you get through your exam with ease.
It’s probably not a good idea to drink olive oil on it’s own, but try cooking a pre-exam meal using it so that you can enjoy all of the benefits.
We hope that this article taught you everything you need to know about foods you should be eating before an exam—did any of these shock you?
Do you have any fun recipe ideas using these foods, or know of any other foods that are good for your brain? Let us know!
Interested in eating more healthy for life?
Listen to our friends over at Wellness Force Radio to learn about the “5 Must Have Nutrition Fundamentals”