Studying for exams can be stressful, overwhelming, and tiring, and relying on caffeine from coffee and energy drinks often makes focusing even more difficult. So as college students, what should we be eating instead in order to actually help our studying and focusing abilities? Here are the top 5 categories of food to fuel your brain and help you prepare for that next test.

Healthy Fats

nut, cashew, meat, hazelnut
Kirby Barth

Your brain is made up of 60% fat.  By consuming healthy fats, like those in fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and eggs, you will promote brain growth and health.  To be more specific, omega-3 is the fat you really want to be including in your diet.  This essential fatty acid is linked to aiding against depression and Alzheimer's disease.  Additionally, consuming omega-3 will assist your memory and learning abilities. 

Seeds also contain micronutrients such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper.  These all work together to help keep your thought process in order as well as keep your brain health in tiptop shape.  Keep a nice bag of trail mix handy so you'll always have food to fuel your brain throughout your busy lecture days.


sweet, Whole Foods Market, Whole Foods, Fruit, mango, orange, kiwi, blueberry, jar of fruit, strawberries, strawberry, grape
Shelby Cohron

Fruits high in vitamin C and antioxidants are imperative to a busy college student's diet. Vitamin C decreases mental decline and supports brain health as you get older, while also providing you with energy to stay awake.  Most fruits can be consumed as food to fuel your brain, especially those that are high in vitamin c including oranges, kiwis, guavas, grapefruits, papayas, strawberries, and much more. Antioxidants improve communication between brain cells, therefore delaying brain aging and improving memory. Including blueberries, black berries, and cherries in your diet will make studying more beneficial.


teacup, flowers, Spring, tea
Rebecca Buechler

Here's the tea: Antioxidants, including polyphenols, are found in teas such as green, white, black, and oolong tea. The antioxidants help fight off memory decline and Alzheimer's disease. Furthermore, a magical amino acid called L-theanine is found in green and black tea leaves. This little miracle helps calm the mind while keeping you awake and focused simultaneously. If you're looking to spice things up a bit with a trendy turmeric tea, you're in luck. This spice helps our brains in numerous ways, including aiding in the production of dopamine and serotonin, helping brain cells grow, and strengthening our memory capacity.


broccoli, vegetable, cabbage
Kristine Mahan

Dark leafy greens contain vitamin E, which aids against numerous neurodegenerative diseases. Furthermore, they fight off a bad amino acid called homocysteine, which is linked to the death of nerve cells in the brain. Additionally, greens contain vitamin K. This vitamin promotes brain health by preventing brain cell damage and boosting memory.  Veggies such as kale, broccoli, spinach, and collard greens are great to munch on throughout the semester.

Dark Chocolate

cocoa, chocolate chips, chips, chocolate
Caroline Ingalls

No, your eyes do not deceive you.  It's no secret that chocolate is a mood booster, which we all need when submerged in college textbooks.  Additionally, dark chocolate contains flavonoids and other antioxidants which enhance memory and slow down the aging process of our minds;  so chocolate literally keeps us young at heart (and brain).  Finally, this miracle food also contains caffeine so we aren't falling asleep during lectures.  

In conclusion, there are tons of foods out there to help fuel your study-cram-session besides energy drinks and coffee. By keeping your mind and body well fed, you'll feel more prepared for your tests and less cranky, making your whole college experience a lot more enjoyable. So be sure to make time for some brain food!