Five foods that can help you focus on revision

Studying is something we all deal with at some point. Anyone who has tried revising on an empty stomach knows that it makes it hard to retain information. Focus can be affected by both your energy levels and your mood.

What you eat can be just as important as the environment you study in. What if there were foods that could sharpen your focus and increase your capacity for retaining information? Here are five foods with evidence to show they can improve focus and memory retention.

Oily Fish

Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have help memory formation, mental performance and behavioural function. Additionally, fish and omega-3 have been found to improve both concentration and mood.  Not getting enough omega-3 in your diet can lead to potential mood swings, feeling exhausted and low mood. (i) The best way to get omega-3 in your diet is to make salmon, sardines, trout, herring, pilchards or kipper a part of your diet. (i)


Your brain relies on a consistent source of energy to run at peak performance. The best foods are low on the GI-index and able to provide a steady supply of glucose (a type of sugar) to your brain. (ii) Wholegrains achieve this by gradually releasing energy into your bloodstream, which keeps you mentally alert across the day. Not getting enough whole grains or other carbohydrates can leave you feeling irritable. Brown granary bread, rice and brown wholegrain cereals are all great sources of whole grain.


For a boost in short-term memory, the blueberry is a great food item. Tufts University in the USA carried out research that found blueberries may boost short-term memory. (iii) Blueberries are easy to find in most supermarkets, and similar fruits include blackberries and red cabbage. Your best bet is to look for ‘purple fruit and veg’ that are known to contain anthocyanins. (iv)

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are very rich in zinc. Zinc is a valuable mineral that has been shown to enhance memory and thinking skills. Additionally, zinc can help with testosterone production in teenagers. (v) Other than pumpkin seeds, oysters, nuts and chickpeas are excellent sources of this mineral. (vi)


Rich in vitamin K, known to boost brainpower, broccoli is an excellent food for effective studying. Researchers believe that the chemical acetylcholine is essential for keeping our memories sharp. (vii) It may also assist in maintaining the peak-performance of our brains. Broccoli contains glucosinolates. Glucosinolates can slow the breakdown of acetylcholine in our bodies. (viii) Other foods that contain glucosinolates include cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower. Vitamin K can also be found in prunes, liver and hard cheeses.


i. Lewin, J. (2013). 10 foods to boost your brainpower. [online] BBC Good Food. Available at: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/10-foods-boost-your-brainpower [Accessed 28 Jan. 2021].

ii. Lewin, J. (2013). Spotlight on… low-GI. [online] BBC Good Food. Available at: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/spotlight-low-gi [Accessed 28 Jan. 2021].

iii. Krikorian, R., Shidler, M.D., Nash, T.A., Kalt, W., Vinqvist-Tymchuk, M.R., Shukitt-Hale, B. and Joseph, J.A. (2010). Blueberry Supplementation Improves Memory in Older Adults†. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, [online] 58(7), pp.3996–4000. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2850944/ [Accessed 28 Jan. 2021].

iv. Lienard, S. (2019). What are anthocyanins and why are purple foods so healthy? [online] BBC Good Food. Available at: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/what-are-anthocyanins-and-why-are-purple-foods-so-healthy [Accessed 28 Jan. 2021].

v. Shubrook, N. (2013). Top 6 health benefits of pumpkin seeds. [online] BBC Good Food. Available at: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-pumpkin-seeds [Accessed 28 Jan. 2021].

vi. Torrens, K. (2013). The health benefits of nuts. [online] BBC Good Food. Available at: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-nuts [Accessed 28 Jan. 2021].

vii. Giacoppo, S., Galuppo, M., Montaut, S., Iori, R., Rollin, P., Bramanti, P. and Mazzon, E. (2015). An overview on neuroprotective effects of isothiocyanates for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Fitoterapia, [online] 106, pp.12–21. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26254971/ [Accessed 28 Jan. 2021].

viii. Shubrook, N. (2013). The health benefits of broccoli. [online] BBC Good Food. Available at: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-broccoli [Accessed 28 Jan. 2021].


Related Posts

Download the App

Hidden strength the go – to, advice + support portal for 13 – 24 year olds designed to provide accessible and immediate support and chat-based therapy from qualified therapists to any young people who may be struggling with their mental wellbeing, completely for free.