Health is wealth! Many people already came to the realization that choosing a great diet plan, such as a nootropic diet, will lead to physical and mental improvements. This nootropic diet has shown many benefits in optimizing cognitive performance including enhancing brain and memory function, better focus, and improved mental clarity. Understanding and learning the fundamentals of incorporating nootropics in your diet plan is essential to guarantee the best health outcomes.
Nootropic meal planning should not be stressful, demanding, and time-consuming. An easy and comprehensive diet guide is all that is needed to ensure proper planning and preparation. This guide will serve as a good reference to make a complete shopping list of what is needed and what should be bought during your entire nootropic diet journey.
If you find it difficult to eat a well rounded, and lean diet, then supplementing with herbal nootropics is a great option to ensure you are getting all of the nutrients your brain and body need for optimal daily performance and longevity. Try our daily meal replacement blend Mind, and our stress and anxiety reducing sleep aid Mend, for a full day's nutrition and recovery for brain and body.
How to Use the Nootropic Diet Guide
This nootropic diet guide serves as a quick overview of the possible shopping options in store for you. All of the items listed here are chosen for their efficacy to support brain and body performance so that you don’t have to guess what’s best.
Making a grocery list and shopping for supplies is made simpler and more enjoyable when you follow a plan with a goal in mind. Our diet guide is categorized into several food groups making it readily digestible and user friendly. Each category includes an overview of the health benefits as well as the recommended and commonly identifiable ingredients or foods fitted for a nootropic diet.
There might be many ingredients available in the market that fall into each category and claim to have good effects on cognitive function. Refrain from buying and consuming just anything though, and be sure to do your own additional research. physically and mentally healthy, and meet a certain goal. Instead, keep in mind that not all foods are created equal based on their nutritional content, like high fat (trans or saturated) and low carbohydrates or high carbs etc.
Here’s a quick overview, where you can see in-depth breakdowns of each category alongside with some helpful ideas and tips of what food to eat and to include in your diet. Use this as a reference before heading to the grocery store and shopping for your meals.
Your diet should include high fat and a moderate amount of protein. Choose proteins that are high quality, lean, and nutrient dense. Quality over quantity should always be applied. 4-6oz of meat is plenty for the average person. Those training for bulk and size will need more.
Grass-fed and pastured-raised beef, organ meats, bison, lamb, and fatty wild fish are the best choices of protein as this will not only minimize the bacteria and steroid hormone intake, but also provides lean protein with good nutritious fat. If you aren’t already aware, fat is not what’s making you fat. Especially not quality fats that come with quality meats.
Properly raised pork and chicken are hard to find and may be a bit costly, thus the consumption of these food choices can be limited to small amounts.
Processed meats and cured meat intake should be controlled because of the extra ingredients which contain added sugars and carbohydrates and loads of sodium. You need salt, but not that much. So we’re very sorry, but your favorite deli sandwich is not good for you. If they roast a whole turkey and then slice that for their sandwich meat, then you’re good to go. If the meat is in a prepackaged slab, and you’re wondering how did that piece of meat get shaped like that, then don’t eat it.
Meals served to enhance brain functions should always ensure a balance between the protein and fat present in the body.
Below are some of the protein-rich foods that are commonly consumed for a nootropic diet.
- Fish - Anchovy, bass, catfish, cod, flounder, haddock, halibut, mackerel, mahi-mahi, orange roughy, salmon, sardines, snapper, tilapia, trout, and tuna. Fattier fish and anything that is caught wild is a better option.
- Shellfish - Clams, oysters, lobster, crabs (real crabs and not the imitation), scallops, mussels, shrimp, and squid
- Poultry/Poultry Product - Chicken, duck, quail, pheasant, and turkey. Whole eggs from the free-range environment can be obtained from the local market and prepared in different ways like fried, deviled, boiled, poached, or scrambled.
- Beef - Steak, prime rib, veal, roast beef, baby back ribs, grass-fed ground beef(so many more nutrients than grain fed), and stew meat. Stick with fattier cuts if possible.
- Pork - Ground pork, pork loin, pork chops, tenderloin, and ham. Stick with fattier cuts and watch out for added sugars.
- Offal/Organ Meat - Heart, liver, kidney, and tongue. Offal is also known to be a good source of vitamins and nutrients.
- Other Meat - Bison, goat, lamb, other wild game. Again stick with fattier cuts.
- Deli Meats - Bacon, cold cuts, salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, turkey bacon, and turkey sausage. Check labels if it is cured in sugar or if it contains extra fillers.
- Nut Butter - Natural and unsweetened nuts, almond butter, macadamia nut butter, and legumes
*We keep harping on eating fat, because if you would eat nutrient dense fats you become satiated much sooner and for longer, and thus eat less empty calories. You will start to lose weight, and you’ll have more real energy and better focus. It’s not a gimmick, processed foods and trans fats should be avoided at all costs. They rot your body and mind.
Most dairy products are good for a nootropic diet. Your dairy consumption should be kept at a moderate level though. As much as possible, meals should be comprised of protein, vegetables, and added fats. Choose full-fat products over fat-free or low-fat due to more carbohydrates and less filling effect. Raw and organic dairy products are also better options, if available. So eat real butter, no salt added. Opt for hard cheeses over soft cheese. “American” cheese, should be avoided at all cost. Heavy cream in your coffee rather than skim, 1%, or 2%. The difference is fat solubility and the closer to the real deal you can stay the better off you will be.
BUT Be careful if you have lactose sensitivities, and allergies in digesting dairy products. You can choose and stick with very hard and long-aged dairy products since they contain less lactose.
Other than fats, these dairy products, and by-products have proteins in their composition. Proper intake monitoring is highly advised.
Below are some of the dairy products that are commonly consumed for a nootropic diet.
- Full-fat Greek yogurt
- Heavy whipping cream (preferably raw)
- Mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
- Butter (from grass-fed cattle)
- Whole milk (preferably raw)
- Spreadable - Cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, mascarpone, creme fraiche, etc.
- Soft Cheese - Mozzarella, brie, bleu cheese, Colby, Monterey Jack, string cheese, etc. (If you must dabble in soft cheese)
- Hard Cheese - Aged cheddar, blue, parmesan, feta, swiss, etc.
Fats and Oil
During a nootropic diet, the majority of the daily calorie intake should come from fats, protein and vegetables. It’s also not a start and stop diet, but rather a long term lifestyle aimed at keeping your body lean and your mind sharp. These fats are vital to the body and at the same time dangerous if wrong types are consumed and if taken in large amounts. Fats are usually combined and added to meals in the form of sauces, dressings, or even as simple toppings. Always choose good and healthy fats from natural sources like meats and nuts. But be mindful of the nut and seed intake as they also contain carbohydrates. Too many carbs, especially processed carbs will leave you feeling scrambled and kill your productivity. Now, if you’re training for a big race, triathlon or the like, you will need to increase your carb intake, but should still never choose processed carbs. If you love bread, limit it, and go for a fresh baked option with the fewest ingredients possible.
Know the different types of fats and their benefits. Saturated and monounsaturated fats are preferred to be taken due to their chemical stability and less inflammatory properties. On the other hand, completely avoid trans and hydrogenated fats since they are processed and chemically altered to improve shelf life, thus commonly linked to chronic illness like heart disease.
The grass-fed animals and organic sources of fats and oils are the best options for a nootropic diet. Coconut oil is one of the best options because it is full of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which serves as an efficient fuel source for the brain.
Below are some of the fats and oils that are commonly consumed for a nootropic diet.
- Oils - Coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil, and MCT oil
- Nuts/Seeds - Almonds (or almond butter), macadamias, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and Chia seeds
- Other fats – Lard, tallow, cocoa butter, coconut butter, bacon fat, duck fat
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables which are high in nutrients and low in carbohydrates are the best filler foods to use in a nootropic diet. These foods are also rich in fiber, making it great for your digestive system by keeping you regular, regulating blood sugar levels, and helping with absorption rates of nutrients and supplements. If available, choose the organically produced fruits and veggies, for fewer pesticide residues and improved nutrient profiles.
Vegetables that are dark, green, leafy, and grown above the ground are the best options. Underground vegetables can also be used for flavors and should be consumed in moderation. Home fermentation of vegetables with carbohydrates can be a great solution. The process will eat up the sugar present in the vegetable.
Fruits are only limited to berries and avocado. Stick to berries such as strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. An avocado is a healthy option due to its high-fat content.
The types and amounts of fruits and vegetables added to your meals should be carefully checked and monitored to maintain proper nutrient intake.
Below are some of the fruits and vegetables that are commonly consumed for a nootropic diet.
- Vegetables - Leafy greens, cabbage, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, bok Choy, Lettuce, Radicchio, Brussels sprouts, bean sprouts, broccoli, green olives, black olives, artichokes, cauliflower, leeks, bell peppers, asparagus, kohlrabi, celery, cucumber, zucchini, snow peas, and okra
- Root Vegetables - Onion, parsnip, garlic, mushrooms, and squash
- Fruits - Avocados, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, cranberries, and mulberries
- Fermented foods - Sauerkraut (no added sugars), Kimchi, Natto, pickles, Salsa, and Kefir
Baking Supplies and Sweeteners
Low carbohydrate flours and sweeteners should be used in baking for a nootropic diet. However, limiting the cravings for sweets should still be done as these are not as nutritious as the whole food options. Staying away from sweets and refined sugars will essentially promote further success of a nootropic diet plan. Sugar cravings can be managed by eating alternative foods like nuts and seeds.
The alternative ingredients and substitutes used in baking and as sweeteners should have a lower glycemic impact on your body.
Below are some of the baking supplies and sweeteners that are commonly consumed for a nootropic diet.
- Baking Supplies - Coconut flour, almond flour or almond meal, coconut flakes, cocoa powder, sea salt, baking soda, and vanilla
- Sweeteners – Erythritol, Sucralose, Xylitol, Pure stevia powder, Pure stevia drops, Monk fruit, Mannitol, and various blends
Condiments and Sauces
Condiments, sauces, and gravies have numerous gray areas in a nootropic diet. Avoiding these pre-made sauces and condiments is highly recommended due to added sugars and sweeteners. Make sure to carefully check the labels for the ingredients used in these readily available condiments.
Making your own sauces and gravies at home using simple ingredients is a good option as long as certain guidelines are followed. Use low carbohydrate thickeners like xanthan gum or guar. Adding those with carbohydrates, such as lemon and lime juice, can also be done but should be so in very small amounts.
Below are some of the pre-made condiments that are commonly consumed for a nootropic diet.
- Brown mustard, and whole seed mustard
- Soy sauce or coconut amino or braags amino (keep your sodium content in mind if it’s a problem for you)
- Sugar-free ketchup
- Mayonnaise (preferably cage free and avocado oil)
- Hot sauce
- Low-carbohydrates salsa
- Worcestershire sauce
- Salad dressing (with fattier dressings like ranch and Caesar)
- Sugar-free flavored syrup
Spices and Herbs
Spices and herbs are good for a nootropic diet as long as they are in their pure form. Pre-made spice mixes from stores should be carefully checked for any additional sugar. If possible, buy fresh herbs and dry them at home without any extra ingredients to ensure better quality. Some herbs have carbohydrates in them. Make sure to monitor the number of spices and herbs added in meals and adjust them accordingly to your nutritional requirements.
Below are some of the common spices and herbs that are commonly consumed for a nootropic diet.
- Cayenne pepper
- Chili powder
- Salt and pepper (no worries with the nutritional information)
Drinks and Liquids
If on a nootropic diet, stay simple and stick to drinking eight or more glasses of water per day. Water can help keep your body hydrated from the natural diuretic effect caused by a nootropic diet. Adding flavor to water can be done using natural sweeteners and flavorings.
Raw and full-fat milk is also a good option. Plant based milk can also be considered as long as it doesn’t contain carrageenan or other additives. Unsweetened coconut and almond milk can also replace dairy beverages.
Coffee, black tea, and green tea contain antioxidants. This can be consumed in the morning for additional energy with added fats. These beverages can also help improve mental focus. Limit drinking 2-3 cups of caffeinated drinks per day.
Below are some of the drinks or beverages that are commonly consumed for a nootropic diet.
- Water (duh- more of this than anything)
- Milk - Raw milk, coconut milk (unsweetened), cashew milk (unsweetened), and almond milk (unsweetened)
- Unsweetened tea (preferably black or green)
- Unsweetened coffee
- No soda, none, never, no diet, no nocal, it’s a huge nono
- Heavy creamer (sugar-free)
- Hard liquor or alcohol (drink moderately)
- Clear over dark, mezcal over tequila, hard in smaller quantities over beer
- Small packets of flavoring (usually added in water)
- Broth (loaded with vitamins and nutrients to replenish electrolytes for a kickstart)
The Bottom Line
Having healthier and stronger bodies is highly achievable through a proper and well-balanced diet. This nootropic shopping guide is a categorized list of the highly recommended foods that help you stick with a proper eating plan. Also included are the helpful tips that can be used for better eating habits. Use this as a reference for easier meal planning, more enjoyable food preparation, and a better, healthier, smarter YOU!