Eat Your Way to an A

How Your Diet Affects Your Grades, and What You Can Do About It


How Your Diet Affects Your Grades, and What You Can Do About It

Food — some of us think of it often, some, not at all. It can offer nourishment, pleasure, an escape from boredom, or detriment. It can seem that our bodies are black boxes; we put in food, something happens along the way, and it shows up on the other end. When we manipulate our food intake it may be primarily to manipulate our weight. In reality, this is a limited view of the power food has on us. The food we consume has the ability to affect our brain health, and more specifically as students, our grades.

A Canadian study using diet quality index — a health indicator that takes into account several things including diversity, quality, and balance of diet — found that students who reported a higher diet quality index also did better on standardized tests. Not an isolated incident, another study concluded that “students with higher academic performance (average grades above 90%) were more likely to consume milk, vegetables, and fruit daily than were those who reported lower grades.”

These findings suggest that, though studying is immensely important to achieve good grades, our food is a factor as well. This, in addition to other conclusions that exercise and sleep play a large role in our brain function, presents mounting evidence that we need to treat our bodies holistically. Each action we take affects multiple aspects of our health.

So how can we implement this information?

Next time you want a snack, reach for some fruit or nuts instead of candy or chips. In each meal, make sure to include at least one fruit or vegetable. Choose food that will nourish your brain, not just give it fuel to run on. Have a talk with your family on what you can all do to allow for healthier food choices.

A change in habit is easier said than done, and it is hard to be healthy in a world that is conducive to unhealthy choices. Sometimes healthy food is simply not available, and it doesn’t help to be surrounded by fast food ads on social media and television. But we do not have to be perfect, our best effort is still worth it. Making slow and steady improvements to your health is a valid way to reach the finish line of improved brain function.

Despite the odds against us, let’s not be discouraged; take baby steps towards a lifestyle that will benefit you in the long run and improve your grades. The tortoise did win the race, after all.