Nutrition for mental clarity

Tip: Nourish your brain with foods that support mental clarity and help prevent dementia as you age.

By the Chef Marshall O’Brien Group

Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is rising as our population ages. During Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month this November, we highlight the ways smart nutrition not only stabilizes your mood and improves your mental clarity day-to-day, but may also help stem development of dementia in your later years. Optimize your mind with smart nutrition, so you can think clearly, perform your best and get what you want out of life.

Fuel Up for Your Day

Breakfast is, quite literally, a breaking of the nighttime fast. You would never try to drive your car on an empty fuel tank – why start your day on one? The most important way to ensure mental clarity throughout your day is to begin it with a meal that provides protein and fiber for lasting energy. Chef Marshall’s Turkey & Sweet Potato Hash is a delicious, hearty breakfast that provides ample protein to keep you well-fueled and focused until lunchtime.  

Feed Your Brain

Load up on these foods that nourish your brain and support clear thinking:

  • Fruits and vegetables are loaded with polyphenols and other antioxidants, like beta-carotene and vitamins C, D, E and K, that improve cognitive performance, decrease oxidative stress and inflammation, and may help ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Fatty fish, like salmon, herring, sardines and rainbow trout, provide omega-3 fatty acids that are linked with improved brain health and reduced cognitive decline. Fish is also a good source of vitamins B6 and B12, which show promise in maintaining mental clarity and warding off Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Spices have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce cell damage. Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, is particularly effective at reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines, oxidative damage and cognitive deficits.
  • Water – Staying hydrated is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to maintain mental clarity. The symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, headache and lightheadedness, all of which make it difficult to think clearly.

Stay Off the Sugar Rollercoaster

Foods high in processed carbohydrates or added sugars cause your blood sugar to spike then plummet, leaving you feeling sluggish and more likely to get ‘hangry’ (hungry/angry) before your next meal. Emphasize whole grains and complex carbohydrates, which deliver a steady stream of energy to your body and brain, and help you stay sharp throughout your day.

Caffeine-Free Ways to Revitalize

You may be inclined to reach for that cup of coffee when your energy and mental vigor dip following lunchtime, but caffeine puts you on its own energy rollercoaster. Pull yourself out of the mid-afternoon slump with these caffeine-free ideas:

  • Take a brisk walk outside
  • Sip a cup of hot decaf or herbal tea
  • Do some gentle stretching exercises at your desk
  • Dab peppermint essential oil on your temples or the back of your neck

Give Your Brain a Boost

Eating the right foods improves your attention, mental clarity and mood. And when you eat mindfully, you transform meals into built-in periods of calm and mental rejuvenation in your busy day. Fuel up on a protein-packed breakfast, steer clear of sweets and excess caffeine, and load up on nourishing foods that feed not only your body, but also your mind.

You will love the way you feel!

Chef Marshall O’BrienThe Chef Marshall O’Brien Group is a dedicated assembly of professionals based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, committed to the goal of using nutrition to get kids and families to lead happier, healthier lives.