Eating Food for Cognitive Power


David Malan

Brain Food

We all love food. It tastes good, and more importantly, we need it to live. But not many people these days actually take advantage of the power foods provide for our mind and body. Most of us are aware but still ignore the fact that efficiently managing our diet can help with cognitive and physical performance. When accompanied with exercise, the health benefits one can obtain is incredible. So why is it that if someone were to create a pill that decreases cancer risk, increases longevity, boosts mood, sexual and cognitive performance, people would likely pay a lot of money, yet so many of us continue to make poor choices for our health?
In today’s society, many are unaware of the contents of the food they eat and the portions in which they are supposed to be eaten. We have all gotten a package of food and ended up eating all of it without looking to see the food label to realize that they just ate 4 portions of a food that had a lot more sugar than you would have thought.
For kids and teens in school, they do an even worse job watching what they eat. In fact, a lot of them would probably eat snacks, candy, and other unhealthy food all day if they could. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Empty calories from added sugars and solid fats contribute to 40% of total daily calories for 2–18 year olds and half of these empty calories come from six sources: soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza, and whole milk”. One reason for this is because when they have to go to school every day, they are in a system which provides not particularly nutritious food in cafeterias, and it is easier to bring snacks to school for lunch. Not only that, but they are more capable of eating unhealthy foods without gaining weight like an adult’s body would.
Just as surprising, the majority of us not only are ignorant of what and how much we are eating, but we also don’t take advantage of all the great foods that improve our cognitive and physical health. So what foods are good for our cognitive function?
Fatty Fish– About 60% of our brain is made out of fat, so when eating good fats from things like salmon, it can play a role in sharpening our memory and boosting mood.
Coffee– For frequent coffee drinkers, you will be glad to hear that your routine morning drink can not only boost alertness and mood, but it can also help protect against Alzheimer’s. That is due to its contents of caffeine and antioxidants
Blueberries– These blue, sweet spheres contain compounds that deliver positive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. These powerful antioxidants can delay brain aging, improve memory, and even delay short term memory loss.
Pumpkin Seeds– Unexpectedly, they are rich in many nutrients which assist in brain function. So next time you are carving a pumpkin for Halloween, make a note to keep the seeds for a little healthy snack.
Dark Chocolate– Many know that dark chocolate is healthier than standard milk chocolate, but did you know that it is actually good to improve memory and mood?
Green Tea– Similar to coffee, green tea also is good to drink to improve alertness with its caffeine. Again like coffee, it can help protect Alzheimer’s, but it can also reduce the risk of getting Parkinson’s disease. Additional to those incredible effects, green tea has proven to also reduce anxiety, improve focus, memory, performance and alertness.
Avocados– High in “good fats”, avocados are good to eat to reduce high blood pressure and to lower the risk for cognitive decline.

There are lots of foods that we could eat to improve cognitive power. Although, there are other important things to do or eat (or not eat) to stay happy and healthy. Just eating a little bit of some of these powerful “brain foods” isn’t going to suddenly make you think smarter or faster or improve your health significantly by itself. By managing what we eat, exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating these nutritious foods, you will find that your mind and body will feel better than it ever has.