How to get smarter: Think faster and retain more information

  • By Brian Keane

I’m going to write about something a bit different (please feel free to comment and tell if it helped or it was a waste of time).

We all know that ‘eating healthy’ will make us leaner, fitter and healthier; but have you ever wondered what eating healthy does for your brain?

For some, the brain is probably the most underused muscle in the entire body and I’m the first to admit that I neglected it for years in the search for bigger biceps or 6 pack abs but over the last few years, I’ve realised that you can train your brain exactly like you train you biceps in the gym.

One thing that has supported me massively is the understanding of what foods help your brain to recover and grow; similar to eating meals to support your body to grow (or slim down as the case may be) in order to reach your goals.

You can take the exact same thought process (feeding your body to grow) to think faster, retain more information and make connections that would never have been made otherwise.

Whether you’re in good shape or are currently dealing with depression, mood swings or other mental health problems, there are 5 essential components of foods you need to tune up your brain.


CARBOHYDRATES: Balance your glucose – its fuel for the brain.

FATS: Essential fats – these keep your brain ‘well oiled’.

Phospholipids – there memory molecules give ‘oomph’ to the brain.

PROTEIN: Amino Acids – these are the brains messangers.

VITAMINS AND MINERALS: Intelligent nutrients – these include vitmaains and minerals that ‘fine tune your mind’


Your brain works on a network of neurons, these are special nerve cells that connect to other neurons.

You’ve got 100 billion neurons, each connecting to thousands of others.

The best analogy I can give is The Amazon. The Amazon stretches for 2.7 million square miles and contains around 100 billion trees. There are as many cells in our brains as there are trees in the entire rainforest.

Without getting too scientific, the connections between neurons are called dendrites and where there’s a gap (similar to spark plug gap in a car) where one dendrite meets another neuron, this gap is where the brain sends its messages.

Messages are sent from a sending station and received in a receiving station, called a receptor.

These sending and receiving stations are BUILT out of essential fats found in fish and seeds, phospholipids, present in eggs and organ meats; and amino acids, the raw material of protein.

The message itself (the neurotransmitter) is in most cases made of amino acids. Different amino acids make different neurotransmitters. For example, the neurotransmitter serotonin (which keeps you happy) is made from the amino acid tryptophan.

Have you ever wondered why you fall asleep after Christmas dinner? Turkey is loaded with tryptophan, which relaxes your body (due to serotonin release) and makes you nod off after Christmas dinner.

Just remember, you are what you eat and how you feel and think also depends on what you eat.

As someone who didn’t do particularly well in school, I’ve mentioned this regularly in the past; ironically its what made me such a good primary school teacher as I can relate with children who just cant seem to ‘get things’ at first.

However, going through life thinking you’re ‘not smart enough’ is a horrible way to live; I know, because I’ve been there; I’ve had people make me feel so small because I wasn’t ‘smart enough’ or ‘clever enough’ to do something– this post will hopefully give you some insight into the science behind how your brain works, but equally important is finding YOUR level of genius, people will read this and think “wow, he’s smart, he knows about the brain” when the reality is, it directly links in with my passion for fitness and improving peoples lives; when you find what you’re passionate about, you will find YOUR level of genius- regardless if that’s in floristry, fitness or finance. Remember: be the best version of you and just do you.

Brian Keane Fitness Podcast

Brian is a qualified personal trainer, sports nutritionist and strength and conditioning coach.

He is the best selling author of the book The Fitness Mindset and currently travels the world as a professional speaker. He also hosts the #1 podcast The Brian Keane Podcast.

Follow Brian on:


The Fitness Mindset BookRewire your Mindset Book