Brain Health

Natural Study Aids to Help You Ace Your Next Exam

By Harris Wheless

College can be a real juggling act—one that may require you to handle all that life throws at you while leaving you stressed, tired, and unable to study as much as you’d like to. In order to maximize your study time and keep you feeling energized throughout the rest of the day, it might be worthwhile to consider some natural approaches for this upcoming school season.

Many college students have turned to more holistic study aids as a way to boost their focus, improve memory, and wash away feelings of stress and anxiety. These natural alternatives can help you grind through all of the readings and lecture slides you’re poring over while simultaneously prevent you from feeling burnt out.

Next time you start to feel overwhelmed, try using one of these supplements or natural energizers to maximize your study time and keep you on the path to success.

The Best Natural Study Aids


Curcumin is a natural substance found in turmeric, a plant that has long been used as a spice and medicinal herb. More recent studies have found that curcumin has beneficial properties like its ability to increase levels of growth hormones in the brain, which can improve brain function. Curcumin is also an antioxidant, and has potent anti-inflammatory effects.


As it turns out, chocolate consumption can actually help keep your brain healthy. Eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can improve memory and cognitive performance. It contains antioxidants called flavonoids that can improve brain blood flow, oxygen levels, and nerve function. Improving these aspects of brain health can also lead to an improvement of other related functions, and snacking on some chocolate while studying is a nice treat that can make it a little easier to stay motivated during the studying process.


CBD is a cannabis compound that has become popular as an ingredient in wellness supplements, and it can be used for a variety of health benefits. It has the potential to ease symptoms like stress and anxiety, while also improving your mood and clearing your head. Once consumed, CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to regulate bodily processes, which can result in enhanced focus and concentration, as well as a better, more effective studying experience.

Fish Oil

Fish oil supplements are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are known to reduce inflammation, relieve stress and anxiety, and promote overall health. Many studies have shown that those who consume fish or fish oil supplements may experience improved working memory, which can certainly come in handy when you’re trying to retain information for an exam. Fish oil can also have positive effects on other aspects of mental health, and can play critical roles in human development and heart health.


Caffeine is nothing new to today’s college students as it’s often used to improve attention and mental alertness. To this end, many people consume coffee, tea, sodas, energy drinks, and other products as a way to get a quick energy boost. Caffeine produces these effects by blocking adenosine receptors in your brain, which ultimately makes you feel less tired. Some products have a higher or lower concentration of caffeine, but too much of this compound can be overstimulating, so you should take this into consideration when using it as a study aid.

Green Tea

This tasty beverage has an incredibly high concentration of antioxidants, which are essential for brain health. People who drink green tea have said it helps them improve their memories, as well as overall health and wellness. Green tea includes high concentrations of polyphenols and catechins, which studies show prevent inflammation and cell damage. Like coffee, green tea contains caffeine, but not quite as much. So, if coffee tends to make you jittery, green tea may be a good alternative.


L-theanine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in tea leaves, and this compound can often be found in supplements that are formulated to enhance learning, attention, memory, and other cognitive functions. Like caffeine, L-theanine is a “smart drug,” or a substance taken to improve mental performance in healthy people. It boosts levels of calming brain chemicals and promotes concentration, memory, and other related functions.

Finding the study aid that works best for you

Natural approaches to handling high stress situations can be effective in the short term, and when you find yourself stuck in an intense studying period for multiple exams, these healthier study aids can help you form good study habits and achieve results in the long term.

These alternatives are preferred over other prescription drugs like Adderall, which some students turn to when cramming for exams. Adderall is a medication intended for patients who suffer with ADD (attention deficit disorder) or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder), but when people without this condition take these prescription pills they can feel unnaturally focused on a project. Additionally, Adderall can have unhealthy side effects like high blood pressure and heart rate, heightened agitation, and increased levels of anxiety. Fortunately, natural alternatives such as the ones listed above can have benefits related to focus and stress reduction without the harmful side effects or overly intense stimulation.

Many supplements can help you feel more alert and process information faster, but finding the right one for you can sometimes be a challenge. You may even want to try multiple different study aids to determine which products work best for you, and how you can use them to your advantage when focus and memory retention matter most.

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