These foods will boost your brain power

Science means that you can eat more, study less


Exam season is coming up and anything that can help cram years’ worth of largely irrelevant facts into your brain is worth considering as the desperation sets in.

Modafinil is the go-to solution, but for those who want a slightly more natural brain boost that doesn’t involve hourly trips to the toilet, there are certain foods you can eat to improve your cognitive functioning that you don’t need a dealer for.

Prof Kieran Clarke, professor of physiological biochemistry at Oxford, said dieting undoubtedly affects the brain and its ability to take in and remember information.

She said: “Fresh fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates are obviously good for you, but they’re especially good for the brain as they promote the production of glucose. Glucose is needed to fuel the brain and drops in glucose levels can cause confused thinking and a loss of concentration.

“Junk food is the main thing to avoid, as it contains fatty acids which block the production of glucose in the brain.”

“Fuel basket”

It will also lead you to put on weight, waste time lamenting your appearance in the mirror rather than revising and eventually lead to an overpriced last-minute ticket to Vegas as a desperate attempt to find someone drunk enough to marry you.

But Prof Clarke also warns students against undertaking drastic diet plans during exam time, as “these can lead to tiredness, irritability and reduce your brain’s functioning.”

Waking up at the crack of dawn to grab a library space is depressing enough. Don’t make it worse by denying yourself the simple pleasure of a bowl of cereal.

Clarke does however recommend caffeine to boost brain activity, although not too much or you’ll lose concentration. One to two cups of tea or coffee a day are the perfect amount to get the sparks flying and prevent that afternoon slump. Combine this with regular exercise and breaks and you have the perfect recipe for revision.

Here are some library-proof foods that will enhance your cognitive capability and make the grind seem slightly less futile.

Complex Carbs

Oatmeal, wholegrain brown bread, brown rice, quinoa will boost the brains functioning power. Complex carbs provide a steady supply of glucose which promotes a healthy blood flow.


They contain high levels of antioxidants which help protect the brain from oxidative stress and increase the signalling capabilities in brains

They also improve short term memory and improve the brain’s capacity to learn and recall information

Blueberries have been proven to reduce the symptoms of depression

diet 4

Pumpkin Seeds

Good source for zinc which enhances memory and thinking skills.


Popeye’s dietary fetish contains high levels of vitamins C and E which help to improve cognitive abilities.

Rats with a diet supplemented with vitamin E experienced a 500-900 per cent increase in brain tissue and a significant increase in the release of dopamine in the brain. Not only does it increase pleasure but also controls the flow of information around the brain.

Dark Chocolate

This sophisticated snack has powerful antioxidant properties and contains multiple natural stimulants, including caffeine.

These natural stimulants enhance focus and concentration, as well as stimulating the production of endorphins.


Nuts, especially walnuts, contain high levels of antioxidants which combats the damage to cells’ DNA caused by free radicals.


Although it is a fatty food, it contains monounsaturated fat rather than saturated which promotes a healthy blood flow to the brain.

They also lower blood pressure which counters the risk of a decline in cognitive abilities associated with hypertension.


Contain the chemical Luteolin (also found in celery and peppers), which reduces brain inflammation and improves the memory power of the brain.


Maybe not suitable for the library but a pint or glass of wine a week improves mental functioning because it increases the flow of blood to the brain.