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Brain Foods: Eating Your Way to Exam Success

This article is part of Roar’s collaboration with the Positive Peers this Take Time In, which is KCLSU’s campaign on 4-21 May to support positive wellbeing for students online during this exam period.

Research shows that university students who eat healthier meals generally have better memory, process information faster, are more alert, and achieve higher grades. Although exam season can be a time of high stress for many students, and eating a nutritious diet may not be the main priority, good nutrition is linked to better academic performance. Here are some foods that improve brain health, along with ideas for healthy revision snacks to keep your brain happy and healthy whilst revising this exam season.


Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are rich in anthocyanins. Scientists suggest that anthocyanins enhance mental performance by increasing blood flow to the brain, promote learning and memory, and have anti-inflammatory properties. Citrus fruits, including oranges and grapefruit, are also highly nutritious – they are rich in flavonoids which promote learning and memory, and protect nerve cells against injury.

Snack ideas
– Greek yoghurt and mixed berries
– Summer fruits smoothie
– Rainbow fruit salad


Nuts are packed with vitamin E and zinc, nutrients that are essential for brain health. They are also great sources of healthy fat, protein and fibre, which can help to keep you fuelled through long revision sessions.

Snack ideas
– Apple slices with peanut butter
– Dark chocolate and almonds
– Mixed nuts or trail mix


Avocados are rich in lutein, a carotenoid that accumulates in the brain and eyes. Carotenoids are linked to positively influencing brain function and mental performance, making them great fruits to eat during exam time.

Snack ideas
– Red bell pepper with guacamole
– Avocado toast/crackers
– Avocado milkshake


Eating eggs can boost brain health because of the high concentration of nutrients in them, including vitamin B12, choline, lutein and selenium. They can improve memory, cognition and attention, as well as overall neurological health.

Snack ideas
– Boiled eggs
– Spinach, mushroom and tomato omelette
– Scrambled eggs and avocado toast


Adding fish and seafood into your diet can enhance memory and brain health, whilst slowing mental decline. Fatty fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fats, vitamin B12 and selenium.

Snack ideas
– Tuna lettuce wraps
– Salmon and cucumber roll-ups
– Tuna and chickpea salad

Red, green and orange vegetables

Increasing your intake of carotenoid-rich vegetables, such as peppers, carrots and broccoli, can boost brain health and improve overall physical health. Furthermore, vegetables particularly rich in lutein and zeaxanthin include kale, spinach, lettuce and peas.

Snack ideas
– Grilled veggies with your favourite dressing
– Cucumber, pepper and carrot sticks with houmous
– Vegetable crisps, e.g. kale, parsnip, carrot

If you’d like to pick up more tips and tricks to look after your wellbeing, join the Positive Peers’ Thrive sessions! You can also check out the Positive Peers website and the KCLSU Wellbeing Hub to explore what’s on offer.

Priya Patel



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