By Mike Dunphy
Boost your creativity and inspiration with these foods.
The apple that bounced off Newton's noggin (so the story goes) as he reclined under a tree didn't leave just a painful welt on the natural philosopher, but a revolution in thought. Why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground? The answer then smacked him on the head, too—gravity. The landmark discovery not only became a foundation of science, which eventually gave us cell phones, espresso machines, and Star Wars.
As for the apple, it may finally get the credit it deserves with the connections between food and brain power. When starved of nutrients, your brain can struggle to even get you dressed in the morning; feed it omega-3s and vitamin K, and the next revolution may emerge. We don't suggest pelting yourself or employees with bags of Granny Smiths—but adding these 10 items to your diet may help unleash your inner Newton. After you've finished the first chapter of writing your new novel, check out these 23 Foods That Happy People Eat.
Green tea remains one of the healthiest things for your body and brain, increasing the connectivity among all its parts to allow for complex thought. The dose of caffeine sharpens it further, and the amino acid, theanine, ensures it releases gradually, eliminating creativity-killing crashes. Check out more benefits with these 20 Teas That Melt Belly Fat—Fast!
If you don't drown it in butter, oil, or ranch, America's favorite munchable is surprisingly helpful to the brain. The whole grains help keep you mentally alert longer by regulating glucose flow, while a one-two punch of B6 and B12 vitamins boost short-term memory and concentration.
The legends of fish's brain boosting abilities are true. Eating it just once a week increases the size of the brain's hippocampus—the learning center—by 14 percent. Thank the omega-3s, which build the gray matter that processes information and signals to the brain. Just bake or broil, don't fry—and steer clear of farmed salmon. Find out where your favorite fish ranks in terms of nutrition in our exclusive report of 40+ Most Popular Fish—Ranked!
Egg-white omelets may save you from too much cholesterol in the blood, but avoiding the yolk deprives you a healthy dose of brain-friendly goodies, including choline—the "backbone" of one neurotransmitter that is critical to memory, brain speed, and processing sensory experiences. The added omega-3s don't hurt either.
The seed of a brilliant thought, it appears, can come from handfuls of actual seeds. Pumpkins' come with a particularly high dose of zinc—essential in enhancing memory, critical thinking, and general cognition. Also an anti-depressant, it helps banish creativity-killing thoughts. Avoid these 15 Foods That Make Your Depression or Anxiety Worse.
This is less scientific and doesn't work for everyone…but if you're trying to slim down and have scaled back on your guiltiest pleasure, make use of it as a reward for the completion of a creative project. In this case, you might get your creative juices flowing by teasing them with your Pavolvian, be it crème brûlée or a dark chocolate pudding.
The fundamental element of life is also essential to finding great ideas. Made of 80 percent water, the brain functions seriously depend on it. Even slight dehydration impairs its abilities, making any eurekas a challenge. But add water and mental flexibility rockets by 14 percent, according to one UK study. Not a huge fan of plain ol' water? Try one of these 50 Best Detox Waters.
Painting bowls of fruit is nice—but artists should eat them for the nutrition and opportunities they provide. For the brain, few match the benefits of the blueberry, whose high doses of antioxidants fight free radical cells that knock the brain off-kilter. Indeed, studies showed that mice fed blueberries navigated mazes more easily; the same goes for your mind.
Few nutritionists can recommend throwing back beers and bourbon to find mental focus, but alcohol's ever presence among the great artists and poets of history tells another story. Whether it removes inhibitions or encourages thinking outside of the box, alcohol inspires some creative thought—but usually before a host of bad ones. So, proceed with caution.
A Brand New Taste
What better way to stimulate your sense of adventure before a creative activity than eating something you've never tried before? Pick up a dragon fruit at the Chinese market or a kangaroo jerky at the Australian deli—a zap to the taste buds can do the same to the mind.