9 Best Brain Foods for Exams and Studying

By Ian Acosta on February 12, 2017

So it is almost time for that final you have been stressing over. The hours upon hours of studying have seemed like an eternity and have basically turned your brain into mush at this point.

What is the best way to combat this? Well, for one thing, you should probably catch up on sleep. Most importantly, you need to make sure you are getting enough nutrients so your brain and body can function properly. What are the best foods to eat and snack on while studying in preparation for the big test and just before you are about to take it?

Let’s talk about what a brain food is and then go from there.

Thoroughly nourishing brain foods are ones that have high amounts of fats, nutrients, water, and some carbohydrates. Unfortunately, there is no one single food that fits this category to a tee, so you’ll have to combine some of the following.


1. Nuts

Nuts are probably the best all-around food for brain health. The reason? They contain nutrients, fats, and also some carbs. Everyone (except for those with nut allergies) can eat them and most people I know enjoy them. From walnuts to pistachios and almonds and cashews, they all contain vital nutrients and promote positive brain functions to keep the brain chugging like a machine.

One very important exception is the peanut. Because the peanut is technically a bean, it does not contain the same vital nutrients as other nuts so be wary.


2. Apples

Apples are a very powerful brain fruit. They contain a high level of acetylcholine which is a chemical that increases movement and sensory perception. In addition, they can diminish symptoms of Alzheimer’s and improve cognitive functions. An apple a day can keep the doctor away as well as keep your brain healthy and strong.

3. Blueberries

Another strong fruit to help brain activity is blueberries. As DJ Khaled says, major key alert: blueberries are packed with strong antioxidants to help greatly improve memory, comprehension, decision-making, and numerical ability.

Stressing before that big calc or stats exam? Have a bowl of blueberry yogurt. The blueberries help as just mentioned and the yogurt will help regulate your digestive tract with all of the good bacteria packed within.


4. Salmon

For all of you fish fanatics out there, this is a perfect meal to consume before going to a study session or heading to a big exam. The reason? The good fats — specifically, the omega-3 acids. This fat is very important in improving memory and cognitive functions and can boost learning capabilities while also keeping cognitive functions sharp.

My favorite meal before a big test? A plate of salmon, rice, and broccoli. It contains a great balance of fats, carbs, protein, and nutrients to get my mind going while also making sure I don’t get too hungry during an exam.

5. Pumpkin seeds

For the guys who love to chew seeds, this is a great snack to have to keep the mind sharp. Not only do they possess great fats for brain activity, they are chock full of zinc. During stressful times, men tend to lose more zinc than women which can cause a nutrient deficiency in your body. Prevent the stress and keep your body and mind sharp by chewing on some pumpkin seeds.

6. Broccoli

According to findings, broccoli may help protect the brain during injuries such as a concussion or other minor head trauma. In addition, it reduces the risk of developing dementia as you age. Now my favorite pre-test meal sounds a lot more appetizing, doesn’t it? In all seriousness, broccoli is a great vegetable to have with any meal and the health effects are palpable.


7. Dark chocolate

Thank goodness there is a brain-friendly dessert. In fact, dark chocolate is one of the best foods for overall brain health as well as body regulation. Dark chocolate can diminish stress, improve blood flow to the brain and in the body as a whole, and it boosts memory retention, as well as naturally stimulates the body with caffeine.

8. Eggs

Eggs are rich in vitamin B12. This vitamin is widely considered to be the best when in need of energy. In addition to this one single vitamin, you get a surplus of other vitamins, minerals, and fats crucial to brain development and health. Have an exam in the morning? Consider having an omelet before you go take it.

9. Water

Although technically not a food, water is vital for not only your brain but also your body in general. Water keeps you hydrated which means your body and brain keep working to the best of their ability. Water also helps regulate your body and helps you maintain a stable state in your body and mind.

Always keep a glass of water near you when studying and, if allowed, have a water bottle with you on test day to keep your mind and body hydrated and focused.

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