Now Reading
The Best (and Worst) Food for Studying

The Best (and Worst) Food for Studying

Studying for an important exam is difficult enough without having to worry about what to eat – and what not to eat – during the days leading up. It can be quite the stressful endeavor in itself. Worry not, though, I’m here to help. Certain foods and liquids we eat and drink throughout the day can have an impact on our energy, memory and cognitive processing of information. This is why it’s crucial to keep a keen eye on what you eat if a test looms your way. As midterm week approaches, here is a list of 5 of the best (and 5 of the worst) food for studying.

The Best Food for Studying

Nuts, Seeds & Berries

Nuts, such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios, are packed full of omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber to aid in keeping you energized. Berries like blueberries, strawberries, and cherries are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants that keep our minds focused and sleeping patterns consistent. Lastly, seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower and flax, also have many benefits. Pumpkin seeds, for example, contain an amino acid called Tryptophan that has been proven to lower anxiety levels. Stash a handful of these nutritious snacks in a plastic baggy to carry with you throughout the day.


Try: Trail mix (with dried berries, nuts and seeds) sprinkled over Greek yogurt.


We should already be drinking at least a glass of milk a day, as our parents and doctors have told us countless times before, but it wasn’t for naught. Milk has many benefits including muscle health, brain and heart health, as well as controlling mood, appetite and sleep. Calcium, Potassium, and Vitamin D are essential in keeping our bodies working the way they should and milk is a great way to get these nutrients into our diet.


Try: A latte – get your milk and caffeine fix all in one fell swoop!

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate, in moderation of course, is an excellent source of fiber, magnesium, iron, copper and other minerals, which helps lower blood pressure and promotes healthy blood flow (including to the brain). The key is to buy dark chocolate that is high in cocoa, which contains more of the valuable minerals mentioned above. It also has a low dose of caffeine; making it a great food for studying to give you a quick burst of energy.



Bananas are a haven for vitamins and minerals. This tasty fruit is high in potassium, vitamins B6 and C, magnesium and manganese. Instead of energy bars loaded with added sugar, bananas are a better way to give you that boost you’re looking for. They’re great for digestion, too. Stress and poor diet can lead to stomach troubles, but bananas are great for regulating digestion and keeping your stomach at ease. In addition, they’ve also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress.


Try: Low sugar cereal with sliced bananas, topped with milk.


Avocados are a super food of sorts. Not only do they taste great, but are incredibly nutritious too. The most abundant vitamins in avocados are C, K, E, B5 and B6, as well as potassium and folate. Avocados are high in fat, but not the bad kind. They are rich in oleic acid, which is a main component of olive oil and delivers numerous benefits including reducing inflammation. Avocados are also loaded with fiber and help our bodies absorb nutrients from other foods we eat.


Try: Spreading avocado on whole grain toast.

The Worst Food for Studying

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are just plain bad. Yes, they give us quite the jolt, but at what cost? Most of them contain as much (or more) sugar than the average soda, but with tons of chemicals and caffeine that will almost assuredly lead to you crashing. Many of these drinks are also not well-regulated, meaning they’re not required to reveal how much caffeine or other stimulants are added, so you rarely know what you’re actually consuming. I say if you need a pick-me-up, stick to coffee.

See Also
Here's all the sushi gifts for sushi lovers out there that just can't get enough! From sushi making gift sets to tshirts, we have the best sushi gift ideas!

Processed Foods

I know foods such as hot pockets and bagel bites are not only quick and cheap, but also delicious. That’s why I’m not saying to kick the stuff completely, but before an exam it’s wise to do so. The reason is that these foods, along with most fast food, are chemically processed. These quick, often frozen meals contain lots of sugar and high fructose corn syrup, which slows our metabolism. They’re also generally low in fiber, and high in trans fats and refined carbohydrates, causing fatigue and reducing alertness.



Of course consuming tuna will not equate to a poor exam performance, however, it’s a safe bet to stay away from it before taking a test. Tuna has one of the highest levels of mercury of any commonly eaten fish and studies have shown that those with higher levels of mercury in their bodies experience a decline in cognitive functioning. It’s certainly not unhealthy, though not exactly a brain food either. But don’t fret seafood lovers, as salmon, mackerel and sardines are low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids…making them great food for studying.


Starches such as pasta, potato, and white bread are tougher for our bodies to digest and take more energy to do so. Our bodies digest starches as sugar which means that it’s stored in the body and converted to fat. Starches also typically lead to higher blood glucose levels because of their high carbohydrate content and high glycemic index values, translating to little nutrition except for calories and carbs.



Most cheeses are high-fat, high-calorie foods, while many of them are also high in sodium. Cheese contains lactose that can cause digestive issues for those who are usually not effected by most foods, which is important to know if you choose to drink milk as mentioned above. Eating high-calorie foods that are high in fat and sodium will often times slow you down, especially if its apart of a greasy meal like pizza or nachos. If you can’t break the stuff; lower calorie, lower sodium cheeses include part-skim mozzarella, Swiss, and feta.



Featured image source: