Eating for Exam Performance

Soon after the Easter holidays, young people will be starting their GSCEs and A Levels.  This is an important time for those at school, and the pressure to succeed and move on to the next stage of their lives is very high to.  So how can eating help our young people cope with the pressures, how can they eat to improve their exam performance? 

The key thing is to eat!  And be aware that pressure may lead to loss of appetite.  Kicking off the day with a healthy breakfast is key and will set you up for the day.  Try to eat oats – a granola, muesli or porridge, as oats give you energy and are a slow burn carbohydrate.  Eggs and yoghurt are great for helping your cognitive function and improve memory. 

For the rest of the day, try to eat regularly and avoid taking in too much caffeine and sugar as these will only give you a temporary boost.  The suggested ‘brain power foods’ are wholegrains, seeds and nuts; oily fish, eggs, blueberries and blackcurrants, tomatoes, broccoli and sage. Vitamin B6 & B12 are particularly important to brain health and preventing mental fatigue, so lentils would also be a good idea.  Make a brain boosting chilli bean con carne for dinner perhaps, find our very own recipe here!

Stay hydrated, with water which helps the brain and body function efficiently, remember 85% of brain tissue is water. Dehydration can cause energy generation in the brain to decrease.

Getting enough rest and relaxation is essential and Sleep is King for peak performance.  It’s important to take breaks from the revision and not cram through the night, you’re less likely to take in or retain information.  Try to set up a bedtime routine and give yourself time off from the revision – go for a walk, a run or treat yourself. 

Eating with others is also a boost to your mood and wellbeing, so try to eat as a family wherever possible. 

See our attached ‘Brain Superfoods’ to keep on the fridge as a reminder of what to eat.