They say that you are what you eat… and that has never been more true than when you need to pull a little creativity from that noggin of yours. Whether you are working on your next best-selling novel or gunning for the best in show at the local art fair, the food that you feed your body is the fuel that boosts your brain. From healthy grains to fatty acids and some wild card foods in between, cook up a dish of brainpower with these good-for-you ingredients that can lead to some seriously mind-blowing creativity.
SUPERFOODS THAT SPARK CREATIVITY
I cannot promise you the Pulitzer or the Nobel Prize, but you just might come close with these 20 superfoods that promote creativity and good brain health at every stop along the way.
Though not a word you hear everyday, quinoa is popular among chefs and devoted foodies for its culinary diversity and unique taste. Quinoa is also packed with iron that helps to support optimum brain function. Because your brain needs 20% of the oxygen in your blood to work properly, iron is a vital addition to your everyday diet.
New to quinoa? Try red for a nutty, savory flavor or black quinoa for a meal that packs a crunch.
*Helpful hint: Rinse quinoa under cold water before cooking it. This will remove traces of bitter saponin, a natural coating that can cause your quinoa to taste bitter.
RECIPE IDEA: Try this Quinoa, Avocado, and Corn Salad
#2. Brown Rice
This diet staple is much healthier for your brain than white rice because it is loaded with B-vitamins such as riboflavin. Riboflavin is a good source of brain energy that can keep you in full creativity mode for hours. Brown rice is also filled with healthy carbs that provide you with even more energy to meet that deadline.
*Fun fact: Brown rice is also a favorite food among bodybuilders who use the healthy carbs to kick start energy and muscle production.
Looking for a power boost to finish that new painting or land that perfect tag line for your new product at work? Oats are the perfect choice. Filled with complex carbs that are then broken down into glucose, oats are part of the perfect recipe for boosting brainpower, creativity and make a great start to a good day.
#4. Whole Grain Breads
Processed white bread zaps your food of its natural benefits… and nobody wants that. Whole grain bread is unstripped of brain-healthy key nutrients like vitamins, healthy fats, protein, fiber and essential minerals. If you need an additional energy boost, stack on some turkey and low-fat mozzarella. Then, get back to composing that perfect song… Julliard here you come.
Amaranth is packed with a bevy of goodness, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, B vitamins and potassium… but that’s not all. Amaranth is also high in lysine, an amino acid typically absent in most grains. Need more reason to try amaranth? Protein.
The next section of our article focuses on foods that provide essential fatty acids. These acids play an important role in helping your growing brain to create new creative pathways.
Ready… here goes.
The list of benefits that seeds provide for your brain could create their own article in and of themselves. With omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamins A and E, zinc and even thiamine, seeds kick start your brain’s functionality and help you to be more productive. If you need to get a lot done in a short time, eat like a bird. Reach for the seeds.
#7. Oily Fish
Fish has long been touted as the ultimate brain food. Salmon, trout and sardines all contain essential Omega 3 fatty acids that play a critical role in nervous system health. In fact, according to a recent study covered in The Atlantic, when eating fish just one time a week, the memory and learning center in your brain grows 14% larger than those who don’t consume oily fish. This finding suggests that it may even lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
High in vitamin E as well as protein, nuts can help to prevent memory lapses and enrich your concentration capabilities. Whether you are a modern artist or a dedicated brain surgeon, this potent food will keep you on your toes, working to the best of your abilities.
Oleic acid helps your body to build up the essential coating of insulation that is found in the white mater inside your brain… and avocados has this vital nutrient in spades.
*Fun fact: Information can travel at speeds up to 200 miles per hour when a healthy coating of insulation is present inside of your brain. Talk about productive.
MUST READ: 13 Savory Ways to Cook With Avocados
#10. Olive Oil
The healthy fats inside of olive oil have been shown to not only boost visual memory, but also verbal fluency. If you have an upcoming speech, add a few teaspoons of olive oil to your dish to keep the right words coming. As for stage fright, perhaps you can try that age-old tip of imagining the audience in their underwear.
Feeding your noggin is important, but protecting it is just as vital to a lifetime of creative brilliance. The following antioxidant-rich foods help to keep your brain cells healthy and going strong while also offering a layer of protection against free radicals which have been known to cause cancer.
Celebrities everywhere have been spotted wearing those trendy kale tee shirts. Maybe Beyoncé loves this super food so much because it can not only help to hydrate the body, but also promote healthy brain function.
Blackberries, blueberries and strawberries… oh my. Every berry has its own makeup of creativity boosting ingredients that also helps to promote a good memory. You might say, berries just might be the difference in staying in black and white… and finding yourself in living color.
RECIPE IDEA: Try this Berries & Cream Tie Dye Fruit Smoothie
Cognitive abilities are enriched by the vitamin K that hides in a bowl of broccoli. Also packed with potassium, broccoli helps the brain to heal and improve. The more you eat… the better the results.
Popeye turned to spinach because it made him strong… you will turn to spinach because it is loaded down with iron that can help to strengthen your memory, mental function and concentration. Hey, mama always said work smarter, not harder.
#15. Green Tea
A great alternative to coffee, green tea is enriched with antioxidants. Studies have shown that the special ingredients inside green tea can help to boost memory power that can be especially beneficial as you grow older.
Wild card time… these foods provide their own unique blend of brain-boosting goodness. If you are not a typical veggie or whole grain type, we have still got you covered. Grab a spoon. These surprising brain-boosters might be just what the doctor ordered.
#16. Dark Chocolate
Did somebody say chocolate? Studies have shown that consuming dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa can help to boost the blood circulation that is found inside the brain for up to a whopping 3 hours. If you have a test coming up, turn to chocolate. It just might get you that A.
With protein and tyrosine, an essential element in producing dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine… chicken can help to keep you alert and focused. If you need to be at the top of your game, never pass up the opportunity when someone passes you the chicken nuggets.
Your brain is made up of 80% water. Because of this, your brain needs to be well hydrated in order to function at its highest levels of creativity. Keep the Evian coming to see your best work ahead. It can help to keep a water bottle with you at all times. This will prevent you from loading up on dehydrating beverages like soda, keeping your body on the track to better health.
MUST READ: How to Make Infused Water + Recipe Ideas
You already know that eggs contain a high amount of protein, but eggs also contain choline which is an important nutrient for brain function. Power up on eggs before your big meeting and have the energy (and brainpower) to seal the deal.
Chinese medicine has praised the power of ginseng for good health for centuries. From libido to brainpower, ginseng does a little bit of good for every area of your life. In this case, it has proven to be a potent tonic and stimulator that keeps the mind healthy… and creatively charged for success.
Creativity is a beautiful thing and it deserves every chance it can get to shine. When you feed your brain more than the ordinary diet of fast food and in-and-out dishes… it will repay you by being extraordinary. From the Newberry Award for that talked-about children’s book to just the kind of award that comes from those you love thinking you did an outstanding job, creativity pays you back in spades. Treat your brain right… and it will provide you with a lifetime of imagination that will color your world – and the world around you.
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