Brain boosting snacks to keep students going through exam season

Brain boosting snacks to keep students going through exam season
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a group of people in a room: There are some healthy snacks that can help boost brain power during exams

Exam season has arrived and here in Scotland, students have begun taking the National 5s, Highers and Advanced Highers.

Anyone who has even sat an exam knows what helps you get through those all important tests, from being well organised when it comes to revision to getting plenty of sleep and taking breaks when needed.

But eating the right food is also really important, especially since the stress of exam season can have many students reaching for energy drinks and sweet snacks for those caffeine and sugar boosts.

Here are five easy, nutritious things to snack on while hitting the books, compiled by health and fitness experts at

Oily fish

Omega 3 is one of the most effective fatty acids as it promotes high brain function and can improve memory. It occurs naturally in oily fish such as salmon mackerel and sardines, all of which are relatively cheap.

Since effective fatty acids cannot be made in the body, it is imperative that this is included in our diet instead.

Blackcurrants and oranges

Oranges and blackcurrants can increase mental agility

Both of these fruits are packed with vitamin C which is known to increase mental agility, alongside reducing anxiety and stress. The natural sugars in fruit are also much healthier and effective than chocolate bars or additives.

Nuts are a great source of vitamin E, which can help protect healthy brain function and prevent cognitive decline.

It can also boost the appearance of skin, giving a much-needed glow amid the stress of exams. And for those who prefer to avoid dairy, almond milk is also calcium-rich.


It may be one of the least popular vegetables, but broccoli is a high source of vitamin K, which is known to improve cognitive function and therefore improve brain power and memory.

Skipping greens is a rookie error when it comes to maximising the nutrition in a meal.


Many chemical reactions in our body require water so the rate which our brain processes information is determined by the level of hydration.

While energy drinks may offer a huge burst of energy, it doesn’t last long. It’s recommended to drink eight glasses of H2O a day.

A spokesperson for explained: “A healthy diet is always important, however in times which require higher levels of concentration and a lot of brain power a nutritious diet is vital.

“Endurance is critical, so going for foods which provide a short burst of energy will often leave you feeling unfulfilled and sluggish later on in the day.

“Students can improve their learning by simply swapping out crisps for dried fruits which can make all the difference in the world – after all, one mark could be the difference of a whole grade.”

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