See Inside October/November 2007

Brain Food

Food fuels the mind as well as the body. Paying attention to what—and when—we eat can maximize our mental prowess

Many of us occasionally find ourselves eclipsed by mental fog. Our mind wanders in a lecture, and we miss its key point. We cannot focus on writing an article or preparing a presentation. We are unreasonably slow to calculate a waiter's tip at a restaurant--and then suddenly fail to recall a colleague's name when introducing her to a friend.

Mental slipups and slowdowns are a part of life, but we may be able to prevent some of them by paying attention to what we eat. Our diet affects not only our overall health and emotional well-being [see "Feeding the Psyche," by Michael Macht, on page 64] but also our ability to think, studies show. Nutrients in foods--or a lack of them--can influence memory, learning, concentration and decision making.

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