Using Smart Nutrition To Up Your (Mental) Game

Using Smart Nutrition To Up Your (Mental) Game

By Adina Puleo

We are all here because we want to be better gamers. This post will talk about the types of foods you’ll want to make staples in your diet, so that you can up your game and perform better, for longer. Our approach for this post will be to highlight those magical “ingredients” found in your diet that keep your systems on their a-game, so that your body and brain gets all they need to up your scores.

From a nutritional standpoint, there are certain foods that promote optimal brain function, and there are certain foods that keep your body at its best. We will cover both, by breaking down the food, what it boosts, and what aspect of gaming it benefits.

Let’s start with the brain. Made up of soft tissue, water and fat, your brain is responsible for everything from regulating basic survival functions to advanced decision making. From concentrating and focusing for hours on end, to strategizing, and even to staying motivated to keep going, you can thank your brain for most of your gaming prowess. Here’s what it needs to keep it happy and healthy, and where you can get it.


Omega-3 Fatty Acids - These are a major building-block of the brain. Your brain is 60% fat, with 50% of that fat being of the Omega 3 kind. Omega-3s sharpen memory, improve mood, and help to prevent mental decline.

Try: Fatty, cold-water fish such as wild salmon, halibut, and trout


Medium-Chain Triglycerides - These are a type of fat (saturated) that break down as ketones, which fuel the brain.

Try: Unfiltered Coconut Oil


Antioxidants:

These are substances that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. In this instance, they delay brain aging, and improve memory by preventing environmental free radicals from damaging cells in the brain. All of these are powerful antioxidants.

Curcumin - A potent antioxidant, this compound aids memory, eases depression, and promotes brain cell growth. It also boasts anti-inflammatory properties.

Try: Cumin, Curry Powder

Flavonoids - Another type of antioxidant, which protects the brain and enhances memory. Anthocyanins belong to this group, and contain both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Try: Blueberries, Raspberries, and Black Rice

Vitamin A - An antioxidant that aids in memory retention.

Try: Whole Milk

Vitamin C - A powerful antioxidant.

Try: Oranges

Vitamin E - An antioxidant that shields cell membranes from free radical damage.

Try: Almonds and avocados

Carotenoids - A nutrient which improves cognition (thinking ability) and memory, and prevents depression.

Try: Carrots

Betaine - Supports serotonin, a mood stabilizer.

Try: Beets

Zinc, Magnesium, Copper and Iron - Minerals that regulate nerve signaling.

Try: Whole Eggs

Vitamin K - A fat-soluble vitamin essential for forming sphingolipids, which are a type of fat densely packed into brain cells.

Try: Broccoli

Glutamine - An amino acid that not only fuels the brain, but is also a building block for GABA and Glutamate. Glutamine enhances mood and mental performance.

Try: Beef and Chicken

Caffeine - A chemical compound that increases alertness, improves mood, and sharpens concentration.

Try: Coffee, Black Tea, Chocolate, and Green Tea or CRIT for a mix of multiple stimulant sources.

B Vitamins - A group of vitamins responsible for energy production, DNA/RNA synthesis/repair, and the synthesis of many neurochemicals and signaling molecules.

Try: Animal Products (Pork, Beef, Chicken, Fish, Eggs, etc.)

Vitamin D - A fat soluble vitamin that activates enzymes involved in neurotransmitter synthesis and nerve growth. This vitamin also protects neurons and reduces inflammation.

Try: Fatty fish, Mushrooms

Choline - A micronutrient that your body uses to produce acetylcholine, which regulates both mood and memory.

Try: Whole eggs

Carbohydrates - Carbohydrates fuel tissues, cells, muscles, and most importantly, they also fuel the brain. Carbs break down into glucose, which supports both memory and concentration.

Try: Oatmeal

Now that we have given you a rather extensive list of everyday vitamins and minerals, what they do for your brain, and where you can get them without taking a pill, let’s talk about some other ingredients and foods that are very important for health and wellness.


Water:

Your body mass is 55-75 percent water. Besides being essential to life and a core component of every single cell in your body, water plays a critical role in temperature regulation, digestion, and elimination.

Try: Tap, Filtered, or Spring. They will all serve to hydrate you.


Minerals:

Sodium - This mineral regulates fluid balance and blood volume, while also keeping both nerves and muscles working.

Try: Sea Salt (in moderation), Seeds, Nuts, Grains

Potassium - This mineral maintains fluid balance, stabilizes blood pressure, regulates pH levels, and is necessary for both heart health and muscular contraction.

Try: Bananas, spinach, sweet potatoes

Calcium - Besides being vital for bone density and bone health, calcium is also involved in muscular contraction, blood flow, and nerve function.

Try: Dairy, White Beans, Dark Leafy Greens

Iron - This mineral is crucial to blood production, and oxygen transport around the body.

Try: Animal products, especially organs like heart and liver.

When all else fails, supplements can provide concentrated doses of all the good-for-you ingredients that you can also find in the various “superfoods”, vitamins, and minerals, above. As always, talk to your doctor before introducing any new supplements into your routine.

Fuel your temple, and excel at your game. It really is as simple as that.