Did you know that the food you eat can affect how your brain works as well as your mental wellbeing in general? Well, the brain is the engine in our bodies. Since engines need fuel to operate, the brain gets its fuel, which is glucose, from the food that we feed our bodies. So, when you need your brain to function at its optimum, especially during an exam, you must be mindful of what you feed your body. 

Eating well for mental health 

Nowadays people pay more attention to their diet, although it is hard to always know for sure what is best for their bodies and minds. The positive thing is that more and more people are becoming aware of the undeniable link between the food they eat and the mood they are in. In other words, our choice of food not only affects our physical health, but it plays a significant role in the way we feel.

Students feel most stressed during their examination session at school or university, therefore this is also the time when you as students should pay most attention to the food you get. Improving your diet will also help improve your mood, give you more energy as well as help you think more clearly. Chances are you will do better in your exams if you are feeling happier and more tranquil.

Eating healthy and the right amount of food is essential to maintaining good mental health. You need foods that are capable to heighten your brain capabilities in terms of memory and concentration, which are the two important tools for your success in your exams. Here, we explain four types of food that you can eat during exams and their importance in helping you perform and feel well.

1.       Fatty Fish/ Fish oil supplement

Fish, which is classified as white meat, is highly rich in protein and contains omega-3 fatty acids and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which are important acids in improving brain memory. They are also known to suppress depression and other mild mental diseases. In this case, eating fish during exams helps eliminate the mild stress and anxiousness that tends to surround such periods. Examples of these fatty fish include Bluefin tuna and Salmon. 

Fish oil supplement is equally good especially for kids or people who cannot access or are unable to eat fish. Fish oil is proven to increase the ability to concentrate and pay attention. You can agree that you need these two when preparing for exams, especially if it is a complicated test. For instance, if you are a physician assistant about to sit for the PANCE test, taking a spoon of fish oil supplement during those days puts you at a better chance to remember and improve your mood throughout the lengthy exam. Instead of being overwhelmed with anxiety, you will calm down and feel ready to face the challenging examination. 

2.      Caffeine

Caffeine is mostly found in chocolate, tea, and coffee among others. Moderate consumption of caffeine, especially when studying for an exam is essential as it is known to increase alertness and is refreshing. This enables you to revise for long hours without feeling worn out. Being a stimulant, you can stay awake for long hours and fully concentrate all through. 

Additionally, taking caffeine just before you enter the exam room helps to calm your nerves and the memory loss that comes as a result of being nervous. You are able to face the exam calmly, which is what you need to recall what you have studied. However, while caffeine helps with boosting your mental health, make sure not to overdo it. Too much intake of caffeine could cause dizziness, migraines, or worse, addiction.

3.      Healthy breakfast

Most people find the exam period demanding and would rather ditch breakfast to study more. Others do it for the fear of having a bad tummy in the exam room. However, missing breakfast could be the start of collapsing your memory and shrinking your abilities to concentrate. In other words, skipping breakfast will deteriorate your mental wellbeing. 

A well-balanced diet breakfast should contain wholemeal grains, which are highly rich in fiber. These are not only good for digestion but your brain as well since they keep your body energized. In addition, combining fruits such as blueberries and oranges can beef up your memory as they contain antioxidants that are responsible for stimulating blood flow into the brain. This means your brain stays fresh, hence the ability to concentrate more. Consequently, your confidence will grow and you will feel better. 

It is however important to not overfeed as that can get you to feel uncomfortable or even make you doze off when you should be concentrating.

4.      Vegetables 

Vegetables such as Kale, broccoli, and spinach largely help to keep your immunity high which is most likely to be lowered by the emotions that come along during exam periods. Vegetables contain vitamins A, C, and E, folic acid, and minerals that are essential for healthy living and improving brain functions. Vegetables contain a high water content which is important for keeping you hydrated all through. Dehydration can cause severe fatigue to your brain and could lead to dizziness, headaches, and memory collapse.

You should also note that drinking a lot of water along with taking vegetables is best to keep your body energized and your brain fresh. Some vegetables such as carrots, dark leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, cucumber are supplements that fight depression and play a significant role in your mental health. If you are feeling good mentally, then there is no doubt that you will do better in your exams. 


The truth is that we are what we eat. Food is a large determinant of how well you are both physically, mentally, and emotionally. Even in the middle of serious exam preparation, you ought to pose and fuel your brain with the above-discussed foods. On top of that, avoid alcohol as it can only collapse and mess up your memory. Above everything else, give your brain a chance to rest and relax your mind.