Impact of Nutrition on Brain Health and Academic Performance

eating with friends

Academic performance depends on many factors. Students who are trying to reach their academic goals usually focus on improving their organizational skills, studying more efficiently, or respecting deadlines. But there’s more to being a great student than meets the eye. Nutrition is an important piece of this puzzle, but most students don’t think of it this way.

Why is nutrition so important for our brain? What foods help us improve our academic performance? What is the link between the two? Let’s find out.

How Does Food Impact Brain Health?

Our brain is the most complex and most active organ in our bodies so paying attention to how we’re feeding it is extremely important. Our brain controls the rest of our system and is responsible for carrying out all our daily activities.

This is why nutrition education is important for students. They primarily need to learn to take care of brain health by making sure they’re eating all the right foods. Here are the nutrients that our brain needs and the foods they can be found in.

Omega3 fatty acids

Crucial for brain development and proper functioning. You’ll find them in walnuts, flaxseeds, and different types of fatty fish.

Vitamin D

Exposure to sunlight is the best way to provide this vitamin that is essential for healthy cognitive function.

B Vitamins 

All leafy greens, as well as eggs and dairy, will provide enough B vitamins and help the brain maintain its healthy functioning.


The brain needs antioxidants to protect it and ensure there’s no cognitive decline. Fruits and vegetables that are rich in color contain lots of antioxidants. Think red cabbage, kale, raspberries, beetroot, or blueberries. 

How Does Food Impact Academic Performance?

As you can see, the food we eat is responsible for the health of our brains. Consequently, that impacts how our brain performs its daily duties, many of which are responsible for our academic performance.

That means that food and academic performance go hand in hand, thanks to the mediation of a well-nurtured brain.

Here are just some of the things that depend on how well we eat and how much energy we’re giving our brains.


Without the energy and nutrients, the brain won’t be able to absorb as much information, making it harder for us to study and get good grades.

Focus and Concentration

If the brain is tired and worn out, it’ll make it impossible for us to pay attention to classes or focus on our studying. For instance, a simple writing assignment could turn into an agonizing task.


If there’s something that students need, it’s energy to maintain their routine and keep up with their busy schedules.


Nobody feels great when they’re hungry. This is because our brain controls our mood and if it’s poorly fed, we won’t be feeling great either. This will negatively impact our study motivation.

What Foods are Best for Memory, Focus, & Concentration?

Now that you see just how important it is to eat all the right foods that your brain’s going to love, it’s time to list those best for memory, focus, and concentration. You don’t have to eat all of these but include at least some in your daily menu, and your brain will thank you.

  • salmon
  • sardines
  • sunflower seeds
  • walnuts
  • almonds
  • blueberries
  • spinach
  • avocado
  • raspberries

You can make healthy snacks and make sure you always have something from the list in your fridge or cupboard.

What Foods Give Us Energy?

Finally, if you’re among the 40% of students experiencing burnout, your brain needs that extra power boost. You need to provide it with energy. Here are some foods that will help you do it.

  • beans and lentils
  • all kinds of fruits
  • chicken
  • dark chocolate
  • water

Combining these two lists will skyrocket your brain health and positively influence your academic performance.

Final Thoughts

The impact of nutrition on brain health and, thus, on academic performance is immense. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is significant for students, especially those struggling to keep up with academic assignments. 

Hopefully, our guide and the list of foods we’ve selected will help you start working on your brain health. As a result, your academic performance will improve, and you’ll enjoy your academic years more than ever.

Author’s Bio

Olivia Evans is a dietary specialist and a blogger. She writes to raise awareness about the importance of nutrition and how it can change our quality of life for the better but for the worse as well.