Best Foods to Eat Before Exams

June 4, 2018

A breakfast table with banana, yoghurt, muesli, eggs and nuts

It’s that time of the year again, the libraries are full of students and all-nighters are commonplace (not in the fun kind!). We often turn to junk food to relieve our exam or study stress, as well as energy drinks to keep us awake. Although they do have their own perks, they are not exactly healthy. There are also certain food and meals that can give an extra boost without all the harmful sugar and salt.

Breakfast on Exam Days:

According to numerous studies, students who eat breakfast perform better in exams than students who don’t eat breakfast. The best pre-exam breakfasts include slow-release carbohydrates like porridge, whole grain bread or low-sugar muesli. These foods provide slow release energy to help get you over the line on those marathon exam days.

To avoid the embarrassing loud rumbling tummy in a quiet exam hall, add a protein food such as milk, yoghurt or eggs to help keep you full for longer. To boost your brain power on the exam day,  try to eat a portion of food rich in Omega-3 fats, which can be found in oily fish.

Foods to Boost Your Brain Power

These foods below are great for your mind and body, whether you’re taking your exam, or revising for it, i:

  1. Whole Grains

a selection of wholegrain foods on a table

Feed your body energy with slow releasing whole grain products, such as brown wholegrain cereals, rice, pasta and granary bread. Whole grains help with concentration and focus, keeping you alert throughout the day.

  1. Oily fish

salmon fillet on a wooden chopping board with lemon

Fatty acids are not produced by our body, so can only be obtained through the food we eat. These fats are great for your brain, as well as joints, muscles and general wellbeing. They can be found naturally in oily fish, or linseed, soya beans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and their oils. Main sources of oily fish include salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers (not for the faint hearted).

  1. Blueberries

a bunch of blueberries in a basket

Blueberries may help boost short-term memory if you have difficulties retaining large amounts of data for the big day ahead. Blueberries contain anthocyanins,which you can also find in most dark red and purplish fruit and veg

  1. Eggs

a carton of eggs on a white wooden table


Egss are rich in vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid. These are great for reducing the risk of cognitive impairment, which can help to reduce the risk of wrist cramp in an exam. Other vitamin B rich foods, like chicken, fish and leafy greens, have all been shown to reduce and help improve cognitive brain function as well.

  1. Pumpkin seeds

pumpkin seeds in a bwol beside some pumpkins on a wooden table

Pumpkin seeds are known to be rich in zinc, compared to a lot of other seeds, which is crucial for enhancing memory and thinking skills. Pumpkin seeds are also full of stress-busting magnesium, as well as B vitamins (you can see a theme here). They also contain another chemical called tryptophan, which plays a role in the release of serotonin, helping you beat the exam morning blues.

  1. Broccoli

a bowl of steamed brocoli

A great source of vitamin K, broccoli is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower. Numerous studies report that broccoli is high in compounds called glucosinolates, which in turn boosts your levels of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine helps the central nervous system perform properly and to keep our brains and our memories sharp

  1. Green tea

a glass of green tea surrounded by tea leaves

Although coffee and energy drinks can help give you an immediate boost before revising or an exam, but may make you more fatigued in the long run. Green tea is a good alternative opting for a high caffeine drink, providing antioxidants and boosting concentration.

Do you have a morning breakfast ritual before your exams? What helps you to knuckle down and kick the brain into gear? Share your exam preparation meals with readers below