The Subtle but Powerful Link Between Food and Success

UPDATED: May 24, 2024
PUBLISHED: January 18, 2016

When it comes to being more productive, innovative and successful, there’s no shortage of advice. People will tell you to balance work hours, to get a good night’s sleep and to exercise.

You’ve also probably heard that eating healthy can help you be more successful, but do you know why?

It may not seem like it, but the human body is totally interconnected. Even though the food you eat technically goes to the stomach and not the brain, the nutrients in that food will travel through your bloodstream and go to every appendage of your body, including the brain.

Healthy foods will deliver energy and nutrients through the bloodstream, while unhealthy foods will transport fats and lead to lack of energy. But this doesn’t mean you can’t function on unhealthy foods.

Your body and brain can continue to work, technically speaking, if you eat fast food and soda every single day, but they won’t work at their full capacity. And you need to be able to work at your full capacity to achieve the level of success of which you’re capable.

The Benefits of Proper Nutrients

When you switch from eating unhealthy to healthy, the difference will be tangible. If you don’t believe it, try cutting out all sugars, fast foods, high sodium, and packaged or processed foods for one week. Drink a full 64 ounces of water each day as well.

Some of the benefits you’ll likely experience include:

  • Alertness
  • Clear thinking
  • Lack of fatigue
  • Stronger mental focus
  • Better memory
  • Creativity
  • Less stress
  • Better sleep

You might even discover some benefits that aren’t on this list, and all of them will contribute to your success in whatever endeavors you pursue.

What to Eat

It’s better to focus on what to eat rather than what not to. As long as you’re working on getting some essential nutrients in your body, you should be able to improve cognitive function.

  • Kale: Kale is one of the most valuable superfoods out there. It’s very low in calories and high in protein, amino acids, vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C. There are also zero fats and sugars. In addition, kale is a very high in omega-3 fatty acids. “Kale is one of the few foods that has more omega-3 fatty acids than omega-6s,” says Mike Kamo of Nutrition Secrets. He goes on to explain how this balance increases our capacity to absorb the nutrients, and omega-3s are essential for brain health.
  • Blueberries: Antioxidants in fruits such as blueberries are great for increasing your learning capacity and boosting your motor skills. Integrating plenty of antioxidants in your diet is particularly useful for maintaining brain health as you age. 
  • Lean proteins: Sparse portions of lean meat will give you all the protein you need to enhance your mental capacity. Other great sources of protein include beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. These foods are high in vitamins as well, which will also help to stimulate brainpower.
  • Green tea: Both green tea and green tea extract have shown positive results in enhancing cognitive function, particularly when it comes to memory enhancement. Be sure to drink tea with moderate to low amounts of caffeine, since high caffeine content can contribute to lack of productivity and other health issues.

Success in whatever you do is in the details. Thinking about what you put into your mouth each day could make the difference between a highly productive, fast-paced lifestyle and a slow, listless life.

Food, sleep, exercise: Find out why you seriously need all 3 to be successful.

Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer and researcher who contributes to a number of reputable online media outlets and news sources, including, and, among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he’s also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local nonprofit literacy organization and rock climbing. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.