Eat these 6 foods to kickstart your creativity ASAP (yes, there are foods that make you more creative)
Are creative thoughts born of thin air or nourished by what we nosh on? We asked pharmacist, dermatologist, founder of Murad (and all-around wellness advocate) Dr. Howard Murad and Lisa Young, PhD, registered dietitian nutritionist, adjunct professor of nutrition at NYU and author of Finally Full, Finally Slim to help break down the facts around feeding creativity and countering cognitive decline.
Which foods can help make us more creative?
Research shows that fruit and vegetable consumption foretold greater curiosity and creativity versus days when these items were not consumed. However, “There’s no magic pill—or food—that prevents cognitive decline,” Young says. “The best ‘brain foods’ can help produce the hormones that increase alertness, while helping the mind process new information.” Rather than dosing yourself with a dozen eggs and expecting a creative burst, “a consistent, healthy dietary pattern can help support brain health.”
Foggy memory? Popcorn contains zinc, which helps neurotransmission,” Dr. Murad says. “It also helps manage dopamine for anti-depressant benefits, as well as focus and memory.” Like all the foods on this list, moderation and sensibility are essential to reaping the benefits (meaning go easy on the butter and salt).
In the 1970s, egg yolks got a bad rap for being high in cholesterol and building up arterial plaque—one of the lead factors in heart attacks. But treating our heart right with egg-white scrambles meant depriving our bodies of essential nutrients. “Egg yolk is full of nutrition—the most important being choline—for neurotransmission and memory,” Dr. Murad says. Eggs also contain taurine that helps keep the brain healthy for neurotransmission—and may help stave off long-term memory loss.
Just a handful can do your entire body good. “Nuts and seeds contain good fats which enhance brain activity,” Young says. “Pumpkin seeds, as an example, are rich in zinc that’s essential for enhancing memory and critical thinking. Nuts and seeds in general contain nutrients that help counter anti-depressant activity, which may help to get rid of creativity-killing thoughts.”
Carbs and creativity can actually go hand-in-hand. “Whole-grain bread and beans have inositol that helps balance brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine,” Dr. Murad says. “Inositol can also help with balancing compulsive disorders and anxiety” and can be found in dried prunes, almonds, peanut butter and cantaloupe.
A polarizing vegetable? Yes. But beets’ benefits are undisputed. “Beets are high in nitrates that increase blood flow to the brain which may help boost focus and creativity,” Young says. Beets are also gaining traction with trainers and athletes because they can help increase energy levels (great for left-brainers and right-brainers) and can help enhance athletic performance. Another less-than-favorite root veggie that boosts brain function is radishes. Fortunately, both beets and radishes can blend in to a flavorful salad without being too overpowering.
From the Mediterranean diet to the National Institute of Health’s DASH diet, fish is the all-star of many nutritional guidelines that support total health and longevity. It’s loaded with omegas which can “help build gray matter and counter memory loss,” Dr. Murad says. Grey matter influences how or cells communicate, function and process information, and it feeds off omegas found in all kinds of fish, as well as walnuts, edamame and flax seeds.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Murad, and are for informational purposes only, even if the advice of physicians and medical practitioners are included. This article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should not looked be considered specific medical advice.
References for this information:
Foods, 2021, volume 10, issue 2
British Journal of Health Psychology, 2015, volume 20, issue 2, pages 413-427
Nutrients, 2020, volume 12, issue 10
News Medical Life Sciences Website