With countless hours studying and three-hour exams, the HSC can be a huge drain on the brain, so you need to keep it well fed. Enter Rebecca Gawthorne! She’s a UOW grad, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist who posts regular nutrition advice and inspiration to her 119,000 Instagram followers at @Nourish_Naturally. She also gave us her top 5 everyday foods (no hipster quinoa here) to keep your brain in tip-top shape.

1. Oats

“Packed full of low GI, long lasting energy, fibre and minerals, oats are one of your best options for boosting and maintaining concentration levels. Eating a bowl of porridge for breakfast topped with some fresh fruit like banana or berries is the perfect pre-exam meal. Oats have a low glycaemic index, meaning they stabilise your blood sugar levels, which allows you to think clearly and effectively during long exams.”

2. Bananas

“Your brain runs purely off glucose (a type of sugar) and bananas are packed full it. Eating a banana will give your brain the healthy, natural, low GI sugar that it needs during exam time. Plus bananas also make you happy, literally! Bananas contain high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid, which is converted into serotonin in your body. Serotonin is the feel-good, brain neurotransmitter, which makes you feel happy! So if exams make you stressed or sad, eat a banana and smile!”

3. Salmon

“Packed full of healthy types of omega 3s fatty acids DHA and EPA, salmon is important for healthy brain function. It's also packed full of protein and minerals, which aid concentration too.”

4. Nuts

“Nuts are little powerhouses bursting with nutrients important during exam periods. In particular, nuts are high in iron, a mineral needed for transporting oxygen around your brain and body.”

5. Water

“While technically not a food, this is probably the most important on the list. Dehydration can cause you to feel tired, lethargic and irritable, making it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time. Water is extremely important during busy, stressful exams and should be your main (or only) fluid. This means choosing water instead of energy drinks, coffee and soft drinks.”

Interested in a career in Nutrition Science? Check out the range of degrees at UOW and where they can take you.