Beat Exam Stress with These 7 Endorphin-Releasing Foods

It’s estimated that 1 in 4 students (27%) suffer mental health problems during their time at uni, and this number is set to rise. With exam stress, social anxiety, and change of circumstances at a height, it’s no wonder so many students are suffering.

One way to help beat the symptoms of these stressors is to increase your body’s endorphin levels. Studies have shown that a boost in these happy-hormones can balance our mood, relieve stress and help us sleep better at night.

So if you’re feeling like you could do with a natural pick-me-up, here are 7 foods that will boost your endorphin production and help you feel more yourself.


Chocolate contains several properties that improve our mood and happiness levels. Phenylethylamine, also known as “the love drug”, serotonin and tryptophan have all been shown to create a feeling of intense well-being. Not that we needed an excuse for that bar of Galaxy…


Berries, and particularly strawberries, are often associated with summer, happiness, and good memories! The high levels of antioxidants also help stimulate blood supply to the brain, flushing it with happiness hormones.

Nuts & Seeds

Almonds, pecans, and walnuts all contain healthy fats and calcium, which have been proven to offset hormonal imbalances, as well as alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and irritability. Grab a handful of almonds as your study snack – they’ll be much more beneficial than a Red Bull.


Containing a load of Vitamin A & C, oranges can help brain functionality and the recall of happy memories. The folic acid in citrus fruit can also boost the production of healthy brain cells. IDEAL for a pre-exam brain-boost!

Spicy Food

Eating chilli and other spicy foods can increase the levels of serotonin in your brain, which makes you feel happier! It also revs up your metabolism and can help you feel a sense of excitement. So grab that takeaway menu and order the Vindaloo, pronto!


Grapes are packed with antioxidants, particularly flavonoids, which have been found to affect mood in a positive way. Their natural, sugary hit also helps keep your energy levels up and your mind sharp.  


Full of folate and vitamin B-12, oats can help ease depression and the feeling of anxiety. As a slow-release carb, they will also sustain your blood-sugar levels for a long period of time, keeping you full and satisfied, without the rise and fall of sugar slumps! Fill up on porridge for brekkie for a day-long mood-boost.


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