5 Foods That Lower Your Mental Performance

Eating is important to help maximize your mental performance but not everyone knows how to eat in the proper way

Dr. Conor Hogan Ph.D.
4 min readMay 13, 2021

“Eat everything in moderation.”

That’s a wise old piece of advice I got when I was young.

Another one was:

“A little bit of what you fancy is no harm.”

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

But are these true for your mental performance and your health?

Well, the truth is I`m no longer at that young boyish age of when I heard these pieces of advice. Now I`m middle-aged and my needs have changed somewhat regarding my mental performance and my health. Because I`m growing older now whereas when I was a child I was growing up.

And although there are challenges in being the age I am there are also advantages.

Firstly I have a lot of experience. I know what suits my digestion and what doesn’t. At this stage, I must have eaten every food I know of at one time or another and I’ve experienced my feelings after I`ve eaten the food and how it affects my level of performance as well.

And when we speak about eating foods in moderation or having a little bit of what you fancy we need to start looking at why there is a need for minimizing certain types of foods.

The reality is because they don’t serve you well.

Here are 5 foods that lower your mental performance and harm your health as well:

1. Candy may remind you of being a child but it will make you older than you are.

Because it’s full of sugar. And sugar does not lend towards great mental performance or health either. The most obvious reason is that too much sugar will mean you’ll gain too much weight.

But there are more significant dangers to eating sugar as well.

Sugar causes inflammation which has been proven to be the bedrock of many diseases. It increases the risk of heart disease also.

And although there are many advertisements for how sugary drinks and snack bars fit into the athletic lifestyle as well as the sponsorship of many professional sportspeople in this regard, the science says these products are not good for you.

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There has also been substantial evidence pointing to the increased risk of acne, depression, and even cancer from taking sugar. Instead of giving energy sugar takes energy and can increase fat on the liver.

2. Foods with excess salt in them dehydrate the body.

And with foods like potato crisps, pringles, and packaged meals readily available and millions of people buying them daily it is setting their diets back rather than increasing their performance and health.

Because excess consumption of salt increases sodium and this can be too much for your kidneys to handle. There can also be too much pressure on your heart and your blood vessels. And this can push you towards having a greater chance of heart attack or even a stroke.

3. Fats on food may be tasty but they are not healthy.

And they cause excess fat on your body. This is defined by anyone who has a body mass index (BMI) of over 25. That means they are considered medically overweight. Anyone over 30 on the BMI chart is also considered obese.

Recent research states that since 1976 there has been a four-fold increase in the number of overweight children from 5–19 years of age and this is brought on by them eating too much fatty food.

It all lends itself to a very unhealthy population which will have massive health implications as all of these young people develop into their later years in life.

4. Alcohol not only dehydrates the body but puts the brain on a different trajectory of thinking.

And that’s against what high-performing individuals require.

I remember when I was growing up and my teacher told our class that alcohol was drunk when there was:

“A hatch, a match, a catch, and the dispatch.”

I wasn’t sure what he meant initially but soon laughed as he explained it meant all the major events of life. Because when there was a baby born, a game or contest won, a marriage or a death people drank together.

And that’s not a bad thing.

But when individuals drink alone and several times daily that’s when problems with alcohol start.

Because drinking alcohol will slow a person down and deteriorate health over time. Not only because of the hangovers that excess consumption of alcohol gives but from the damage it does to the liver as well.

Then there are a lot of diseases that can occur because of this too. Not to mention lifestyle issues, broken relationships, and absences of mind that cause accidents and confused thinking patterns.

5. Smoking kills- it’s that simple.

Photo by Dylan Fout on Unsplash

Even though it has been perceived as being sexy it’s not. Because smoking fills your lungs with carcinogenic materials that deteriorate your health with every breath.

In the short term athletes and anyone demanding air to their lungs to go faster, longer, and stronger will be denied this because of their lungs’ inability to go deeper in their capacity to pump oxygen.

Anyone wanting to succeed in the short term wants clear thinking but smokers are often more anxious people. And in the longer-term smoking cigarettes will rob you of energy and slow down your cardiovascular health too.

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Dr. Conor Hogan Ph.D.

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