Eat smarter, study harder

Fruit smoothie

What you eat can have a big effect on your ability to study. At times when you’re trying to revise for exams or get through difficult coursework, the last thing you need is to be feeling lethargic. Thankfully, you can get your body ready for study without radically changing your diet.

Below, we break down what you should eat to energise yourself and keep your mind in top condition so you can power through lectures and lab work to get the grades you need.

Memory retention

There’s no use reading all those text books if the knowledge won’t stay with you! Therefore it’s important to give your brain the nutrients it needs to facilitate both short- and long-term memory retention. Salmon with its omega-3 acids along with beetroot, grapes and sunflower seeds are all great for the mind, and leafy greens could help slow down age-related memory loss. Blueberries are said to be particularly great for your short-term memory as flavonoids from them are thought to improve neuron communication. So if you have an exam in the horizon, be sure to stock up!


You may think coffee is the key to staying alert and awake; though simply upping your water intake could be more effective. Stay hydrated by making sure you drink plenty of water throughout the course of a day – it’s calorie and caffeine free, and not to mention much cheaper than all those trips to the café!

Bananas and chickpeas are also great sources of potassium and magnesium respectively, which will relax blood vessels and increase the flow of blood to the brain. Even dark chocolate has its health benefits, being a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals such as potassium and copper along with having less sugar than milk chocolate.

Improved mood

Whole grains are rich in complex carbohydrates, vitamin B, omega-3 and fibre, which can all help enhance your brain power, circulation and mood.

Green peas, eggs and white potatoes are all carbohydrate-rich foods, and consuming these (without them being bogged down by high-protein or fatty foods) facilitates the production of serotonin. Serotonin is produced by the brain and boosts your mood, as well as curbing cravings for food, increasing your pain threshold and helping you sleep!

Improving your diet

Looking for ways to improve your diet without giving things up cold-turkey? Why not try these simple changes:

Make your own pizza bases

Making your own pizzas is always going to be fresher and healthier than ordering one from a takeaway, but you can take things one step further! Run cauliflower through a food processor until it is finely chopped and microwave it for five minutes. Leave to cool, squeeze out as much water as you can and combine with eggs to create a much healthier pizza base.

Include whole grains

Whole grains are one of the easiest foods to work into your diet. Swap out white bread and bagels for whole grain varieties and opt for brown or wild rice over white. Rather than sugary breakfast cereal, opt for porridge or shredded whole grain wheat. Combine your porridge with slices of fruit or a small portion of berries to kick your morning off with a burst of healthy energy.

Combine fruit juice and soda water

If you regularly have fizzy drinks and find it difficult to cut down, try drinking soda water with different varieties of fruit juice. Make sure you purchase 100% fruit juice rather than ‘from concentrate’ to get all the healthy benefits without added sugar.

Buy a smoothie maker

Smoothies are one of the best ways to make sure you get your ‘five a day’. Perk yourself up on the way to college or university with a morning smoothie by simply taking your favourite fruits and blending them together! You can either look for new flavour combinations, or experiment yourself. Either way, you’ll be combining multiple servings of fruit into one easy drink that can last throughout the day.

Buy bespoke crockery

One of the most challenging aspects of eating healthier is simply staying on track and doing it regularly. Buying a set of small plates is a helpful reminder to always add something extra to your meal. Keep your main meal on a larger plate, but always think about something to accompany it. Fill a small plate with a side-salad, or a ramekin bowl with a portion of peas or beans, to ensure no matter what you’re eating it’s supported by something healthy too.

It takes just a few small changes to your dining habits today to have a great effect on your study skills in the future. Start now, and once term begins, your body will be energised, focused and ready for the work ahead. For recipe suggestions, check out Mont Rose College’s brain food blog post.

Article supplied by Mont Rose College of Management & Sciences.

Image credit: Oleg Dudko/

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