Foods to Fuel Mental Performance

Foods to Fuel Mental Performance

By Annette Doody
Savory Bistro Owner & Wellness Coach

Dear Annette: Fall classes are progressing and my kids have a demanding schedule. Is it true that food can affect how they perform in school?

Dear Reader: The new research proves that this is truer than we could have ever imagined. We focus on food for physical health but it may be even truer for mental and cognitive health. Our brains use 20-30 percent of all our calories. Calories from processed and fried foods hurt the brain, calories from whole foods feed it. The research shows brains can heal and change. Good diet, exercise and reduction of toxins is key.

Researchers like Dr. Daniel Amen are leading the charge on how the foods we eat affect mood, depression, cognitive ability, memory, and overall brain function. As it turns out what is good for the heart and body is also good for the brain: clean whole food, exercise (both mental and physical). The biggest news is we can shape and change our brains. This is very new and exciting research.

The thing that bothers me the most is when I hear parents say “my kids are picky eaters” and they have a diet of soft drinks, high sugar, and processed foods. Kids are adaptable and can be taught to eat healthy; it must be modeled and encouraged. Their little brains do not have a chance and they certainly will not be working on full potential without healthy foods. Once again the number one thing you can do for your brain for development and healthy aging is to get off processed and fried foods.

Notice the majority are plant-based foods. Notice how many of these foods that kids love. It is becoming very clear that food truly matters. Did you have any of these items today to get through your school or work day? Did your children’s brains get any of these foods? The Amen clinics are having great success in treating everything from depression, ADD, memory loss, and even traumatic brain injury. They have had great success working with the NFL and veterans, and have scanned and studied more brains than any other research group. If you are interested in the research, go to

The lifestyle section on the clinic’s site has a host of recipes to enjoy. Remember when you are feeding your kids you are feeding their bodies and brains.

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