Foods Boost Creativity

Eat your way to creativity.

It may just sound like a wonderful myth, but it’s actually true that certain foods boost creativity. Normally I’m a bit careful about believing something that says “eat your way” to anything. It sounds a bit like a gimmick. But, surprise! There are times when it’s actually true.

Certain foods boost creativity. Love them strawberries. Image.

Certain foods boost creativity. Love them. [flickr. carowallis1/ Creative Commons]

Food does a lot more for us than just getting rid of that hungry feeling. Eating the right foods can improve how you feel. Which improves your creativity. Which improves your writing.

A bad diet makes you feel bad.

It’s almost become a cliché thing to say, but it’s true. We are a fast-paced society. Recently, I read an article about the decline of the lunch hour, and it got me thinking. Is this attitude of constantly being busy and on the move impacting more than just our stress levels? Namely, is it affecting what we eat and lowering our creativity?

Because of the lack of time people are able to designate to food, they end up eating a lot of fast and pre-packaged, processed foods. All are high in those bad fats. Not good.

“What we eat can affect our creative energies. Processed foods high in trans fats, excessive sodium and sugar, as well as artificial ingredients, can drain us of creative ideas. Those foods can leave us feeling foggy, uninspired and downright bored, not to mention lethargic, sick and disease-prone.”–Jill Ettinger via Naturally Savvy

The bottom line here? Food that has a negative effect on your body also has a negative effect on your mind. This statement is, in fact, scientifically proven. Since the brain uses much more energy than the rest of the body (you’re constantly using it, even if not consciously), much of the energy we get from food goes straight to the brain.

Certain foods boost creativity.

Let’s go back to the idea of your brain and its energy use. An easy way to describe the way food and your brain interact is by using the metaphor of a car and its fuel.

“If you think of the brain as an engine, it’s going to run better on high-grade fuel. That’s what a brain-healthy diet provides.”–Paul E. Bendheim, neurologist via Livestrong

So, what should be eat? What can be considered good fuel for the brain? Jill has that covered too. Complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and antioxidants are great foods to boost your creativity.

If you aren’t the most well-versed in different types of food (I know that before researching for this post I definitely wasn’t.) then it might help to go over some specific examples of these types of foods and how they influence your brain.

Complex Carbohydrates

Foods boost creativity. Oatmeal image.

Oatmeal helps boost creativity. [flickr. rachelhathaway/ Creative Commons]

These keep the glucose flowing to the brain for longer. They’re complex, meaning they take longer for your body to break down. Good sources for complex carbohydrates include vegetables and whole grains.

Specific examples of foods containing complex carbohydrates:
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Oats
  • Brown rice

Essential Fatty Acids

Foods boost creativity. Avocado image.

Avocados help boost creativity. [flickr. 65647869@N05/ Creative Commons]

These help the brain in processing information. Processing information is important when thinking creatively. Good sources for essential fatty acids (commonly referred to as omegas) include seeds, fish and healthy oils.

Specific examples of foods containing essential fatty acids:
  • Flaxseeds
  • Pine nuts
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Avocado
  • Olive oil


Foods boost creativity. Berries image.

Berries help boost creativity. [flickr. jaclynjanai/ Creative Commons]

These protect cells and boost immunity. No one does their best work when sick, and antioxidants keep you feeling bright and brisk. Good sources for antioxidants include berries, citrus fruits and dark leafy vegetables.

Specific examples of foods containing antioxidants:
  • Blueberries
  • Oranges
  • Squash
  • Mustard greens
  • Kale
  • Dark Chocolate

Other habits and foods boost creativity, too.

Complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and antioxidants provide a good starting point to finding foods to boost your creativity. But they aren’t the only foods that provide good brain fuel. Here’s three more tips to improving your creative brain function:

1. Eat the rainbow.

No, I’m not talking about Skittles. One good way to power your brain is to be creative and colorful with your plate. Colorful fruits and vegetables tend to contain more vitamins and nutrients. Be an artist and brighten up your plate to improve your creative thinking skills.

2. Drink up.

Now, this isn’t exactly about what you should eat. It’s about how much you should drink–water, that is. Being dehydrated can cause your brain to stall and not work up to it’s full potential. So, drinking the recommended amount of water will keep your brain running and keep your mood up.

3. Eat Breakfast.

Many studies have been done about the importance of kids eating breakfast. Kids who eat breakfast do better in school. Although the results aren’t as pronounced, differences in performance can be seen between adults who eat breakfast and those who do not. Remember that your brain needs fuel. Going a whole night and then a whole morning without fuel doesn’t allow your brain to run at its full potential.

Fuel your creativity.

Your brain is like an engine. Certain foods and habits can keep it running smoothly. So, next time you’re facing what you think is writer’s block, try indulging in some brain food to kick-start new ideas. Because certain foods boost creativity. It’s worth trying, and it can only leave you healthier.


[Featured image via flickr. carowallis1/ Creative Commons]

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