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The food you put into your body can have a huge impact on how your brain works. This is important to remember around exam time, when you're probably paying more attention to books than breaky. Learn how the food you eat affects your body so you can choose foods that fuel your brain and smash your study schedule.

What's food got to do with it?

Your brain is the most complex part of your body. Like a computer, it runs millions of processes every day. It never stops working, so it needs constant topping up with the fuel it operates on—glucose, which is a type of sugar. Your body obtains glucose from your food, and it’s delivered to the brain through the bloodstream. The problem is, your brain can’t store glucose, so you need to top up your levels every day.

If your brain isn't properly fuelled, you're likely to feel sad and irritable. You might also have trouble sleeping, poor memory, and difficulty problem-solving. That's not how you want to feel when you turn up for an exam.

Which foods are the best fuel?

Brain food for studying includes:

  • Protein — meat, fish, eggs, poultry, legumes, nuts and seeds, dried beans and lentils, dairy products and soy products.
  • Antioxidants — fruits and veggies, including berries, and pomegranate juice.
  • Omega-3 — oily fish, flax seeds and flax oil, and eggs, chicken and beef.
  • Dietary cholesterol — dairy and egg yolks.
  • Monounsaturated fats — avocados, nuts, olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil.
  • Caffeine (moderate amounts) — tea, coffee and dark chocolate.
  • Water.

Try these simple swaps 

The best way to feed your brain is to eat a wide range of foods from all food groups. However, when you’re hitting the books, it can be a little tricky to put it into practice. So, we’ve come up with some easy meal-swaps that will get your brain humming in no time.

 Swap this...
 For this...
 Processed cereal
Porridge topped with fruit and walnuts
Biscuits or a muffin
Wholegrain crackers with cheese and tomato
Frozen pizza Homemade wholewheat pizza
Burger and fries
Steak and salad
Chocolate or lollies
Fresh or dried fruit
Ice-cream Yoghurt and berries
Potato crisps
Handful of nuts
Energy drink
Fruit smoothie
Coffee Green or herbal tea

Eating well-rounded meals most of the time will help you study better, and lead to better results.

What can I do now?

  1. Check out more study tips and advice on beating exam stress.
  2. Read more about healthy food choices.
  3. Chat about study snacks on our forum.