When you think of better thinking tools and techniques what comes to mind initially? Books? Workshops? Coaching?

How about chewing gum?

No!? Well a new chewing gum called “Think Gum” has recently come to my attention whilst working in Turkey. It claims to improve your brain power by improving the cognition of its user. I have a potential unease envisioning a product working by forcing your retinas to move at such a rate as to improve cognition for a longer period than normal. This is just my own initial cynicism ofcouse, and nonetheless this area is a sign of another channel of our desire to explore and deliver better thinking.

As a professional food buyer in the early part of my career, I would have loved to work with a product like this. We are living in a multi benefit age now where consumers want to get the maximum output from occasions, eg getting moisturised whilst in the shower, or even having our feet exfoliated, and so utilising those principles in the world of gum makes sense.

So in theory the combination of fresh breath and better brain power is genius, right?

Well, the ingredients in the gum include a wide range of things that have long been thought to help enhance cognitive abilities, some of which are Ginkgo Biloba, Guarana, Vinpocetine (cognitive enhancer), Bacopa (speeds information processing), and Natural Caffeine. Along with the “brain-boosters” the gum also contains Peppermint (for flavouring and relaxation) and Rosemary (for energy and stress relief). If you haven’t figured it out by now, the caffeine product world is all a numbers game. One of the first things people will check for is total caffeine. “Think Gum” tries to dispel this myth, adding only 10mg of caffeine per piece. To put that figure into context, a product like Ben & Jerrys Fairtrade Ice Cream has around 70mg of caffeine per ‘scoop’ of 8 oz, whilst Oreo cookies have around 1.3 mg of caffeine per cookie.

Whether thinking gum is the future of better thinking though remains to be seen.

This has got me thinking beyond simply gum and about our broader relationship with food and the impact that has on our thinking. Traditional science will tell you that fish, vitamins and fresh fruit will provide your brain with the ingredients that boost our sense of well-being and cognition in a natural way. In that sense I wonder how important a sense of well being is as well in relation to what foods go into our bodies.

What do you think? What are your favourite brain foods and what specific food routines do you use to create a better thinking focus?

Han-Son Lee