Cooking is an activity that takes a person through a variety of brain functions. When we take to our kitchens to prepare our favorite dinner recipes, we are also honing many of our cognitive skills. Even before we open our refrigerator to get started, the meal plan must first be put together and organized. This activity requires anticipation, planning, and strategic ability. Problem solving is at work when we realize that we do not have all the ingredients for our favorite dish and have to improvise. Kneading, chopping, and mixing ingredients make use of motion control and hand-eye coordination. As dinnertime approaches and it becomes necessary to juggle between the stove and the oven, multi-tasking and concentration skills are exercised. Lastly, ensuring that dinner comes out of the oven at precisely the right time involves making use of short-term memory and visual-spatial awareness. After reviewing all the steps in meal preparation, it is easy to see that cooking dinner actually utilizes a variety of cognitive proficiencies.
Studies about brain training show that continually practicing these cognitive skills is a great way to improve brain function and increase overall well-being. Making and sharing a meal is also a great way to socialize with family and friends – another activity that helps us to stay mentally fit. The next time you are in the kitchen preparing a healthy meal you can now also relish the fact that you are helping yourself to a healthier mind. Bon appétit!