What Do Geniuses Eat? Here's Nikola Tesla's Diet

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Nikola Tesla had clearly one of the most creative and productive minds in world history. He did numerous valuable research projects and always knew how to stay energetic and focused. Let’s learn how he stayed sharp and active from his own words.

In an interview in 1933, when he was 77 years old, he said:

“Our condition of body and mind in old age is merely a certificate of how we have spent our youth. The secret of my own strength and vitality today is that in my youth I led what you might call a virtuous life.”

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Photograph: Tesla in 1879, while 23 years old.

Tesla believed that if he wanted to continue working until he died, he had to control his passions and appetites.

“I want no vacation - no surcease from my labors. If people would select a life work compatible with their temperaments, the sum total of happiness would be immeasurably increased in the world.”

"Many are saddened and depressed by the brevity of life.”

“What is the use of attempting to accomplish anything?' they say. 'Life is so short. We may never life to see the completion of the task.' Well, people could prolong their lives considerably if they would but make the effort. Human beings do so many things that pave the way to an early grave.” 

PhotographTesla in 1885, while 29 years old.

We as humans, are very successful at making ourselves unproductive. For Tesla, our eating habits are the simplest way to do this.

"First of all, we eat too much, but this we have heard said often before. And we eat the wrong kinds of foods and drink the wrong kinds of liquids. Most of the harm is done by overeating and under-exercising, which bring about toxic conditions in the body and make it impossible to throw off the accumulated poisons."

And how was Tesla’s diet?

"Why overburden the bodies that serve us? I eat but two meals a day, and I avoid all acid-producing foods. Almost everyone eats too many peas and beans and other foods containing uric acid and other poisons. I partake liberally of fresh vegetablesfish and meat sparingly, and rarely. Fish is reputed as fine brain food, but has a very strong acid reaction, as it contains a great deal of phosphorus. Acidity is by far the worst enemy to fight off in old age.”

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Photograph: Tesla in 1931, on the cover of Time Magazine, while 75 years old.

In a different interview in 1935, Tesla said:

“I myself eschew all stimulants. I also practically abstain from meat. I am convinced that within a century coffee, tea, and tobacco will be no longer in vogue. Alcohol, however, will still be used. It is not a stimulant but a veritable elixir of life.” 

What he says is: “Stay away from acid, keep a vegetarian diet and you can also consume some alcohol.”

Tesla was known to drink a whiskey every day.

One of his favorite foods was...Potato!

"Potatoes are splendid, and should be eaten at least once a day. They contain valuable mineral salts and are neutralizing.”

And of course, he was a strong supporter of exercising.

"I believe in plenty of exercise. I walk eight or ten miles every day, and never take a cab or other conveyances when I have the time to use leg power. I also exercise in my bath daily, for I think that this is of great importance. I take a warm bath, followed by a prolonged cold shower.”

He didn’t have much time left to do anything else in his strict daily regimen, even to sleep!

"Sleep? I scarcely ever sleep. I come of a long-lived family, but it is noted for its poor sleepers. I expect to match the records of my ancestors and live to be at least 100. My sleeplessness does not worry me. Sometimes I doze for an hour or so. Occasionally, however, once in a few months, I may sleep for four or five hours. Then I awaken virtually charged with energy, like a battery. Nothing can stop me after such a night. I feel great strength then. There is no doubt about it but that sleep is a restorer, a vitalizer, that it increases energy. But on the other hand, I do not think it is essential to one's well being, particularly if one is habitually a poor sleeper.”

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Photograph: Tesla on a Serbian dinar note.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it to 100, and instead died while he was 86.

But he said amazing things about being old:

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I have an excellent certificate of health. I never felt better in my life. I am energetic, strong, in full possession of all my mental facilities. In my prime I did not possess the energy I have today. And what is more, in solving my problems I use but a small part of the energy I possess, for I have learned how to conserve it. Because of my experience and knowledge gained through the years, my tasks are much lighter.”

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Photograph: 1935, an article written by Tesla for the Liberty Magazine

Tesla was always thankful for his life and always valued his experiences.

“Contrary to general belief, work comes easier for older people if they are in good health, because they have learned through years of practice how to arrive at a given place by the shortest path."

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