Eleven Foods to Stimulate Creativity in the Brain

Are you seeking a way to supercharge your imagination? Why don’t you start with your dinner plate?

Certain meals contain the ideal combination of nutrients to help your neurons do their jobs well. What should you put on your plate? Chow down on these 11 foods that stimulate creativity in your brain.

1. Cruciferous Vegetables

Did you know that the bacteria in your teeth can travel to your brain, where it may hinder your creativity and increase your Alzheimer’s risk? Scientists discovered a species of bacteria called Porphyromonas gingivalis could travel to this organ, releasing enzymes called gingipains that can destroy nerve cells. This destruction leads to memory loss and, eventually, disease.

However, what if you don’t always have a toothbrush or time to use one after meals? The solution is to pack some carrots and cauliflower along with your lunch and eat it after your sandwich. The rough, fibrous surfaces scrub away dirt and debris from tooth surfaces, decreasing the food source your oral bacteria need to thrive.

2. Nuts

Depression can wreak havoc on your creativity. One way to reignite your spark is by eating foods high in the minerals zinc, selenium, and magnesium. Research published by the National Institutes of Health suggests sufficient intake can alleviate this condition as effectively as antidepressants, especially among individuals with an underlying deficiency.

Where do you find these substances? One plant-based source comes from nuts. A single Brazil nut contains your full day’s recommended daily allowance of selenium alone — you must use care not to eat too many. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pecans are also excellent snacks.

3. Seeds

Another rich source of zinc, selenium, and magnesium lies in seeds. Fortunately, these tiny wonders are among the most versatile foods, making it a snap to add them to your diet.

A sprinkle of sunflower seeds or pepitas brings a pleasant nutty crunch to salads. They’re far more nourishing and satisfying than croutons made with white flour. Chia and flax seeds are excellent plant-based sources of omega-3s along with minerals, so add a liberal handful to anything from stir-frys to soups.

4. Seafood

Have you ever tried to come up with an engaging advertising slogan or even pen the next line of an essay when your temples pound and kaleidoscopes of migraine yuckiness dance before your eyes? How did that work out for you? Probably not well.

Seafood can help stimulate creativity in your brain by running interference against the pain that inhibits imaginative thought. Fish and crustaceans are high in riboflavin or vitamin B2. Research published by MedlinePlus indicates that regular intake of this nutrient can reduce your number of migraine headaches by two attacks a month. If your attacks last an average of two to three days, you reclaim up to six days out of every 30. It also reduces the severity when you do get hit.

Another way that increasing your seafood intake stimulates creativity is by lowering your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, preserving the neural channels that allow for rational thought. Sufficient intake of the DHA and EPA in fatty fish promotes brain growth in infants and children and may boost cognitive brainpower in adult women.

Omega-3s also help fight depression, which can stifle creativity. Why not make like the Catholics and make fish Friday a tradition, along with some mackerel on meatless Monday to meet your intake requirement?

5. Kale

Kale is an excellent plant-based source of B vitamins, including riboflavin. Plus, this versatile veggie makes an interesting alternative to tortillas when making wraps. Create a speedy lunch in seconds by adding a slice or two of lean protein like turkey, some cheese, and a few tomato or red pepper slices to a leaf and rolling it. Add a dash of oil and vinegar and some salt and pepper, and it’s like eating a sandwich without the white bread.

You can also braise kale and serve it as a side dish. The only people who should use caution with this veggie are those prone to kidney stones or taking blood thinners — check with your doctor or dietitian to be sure.

6. Green Tea

You might reach for coffee for a caffeine injection to supercharge your creativity when the afternoon doldrums strike. However, opting for a latte could keep you awake into the wee hours, disrupting your sleep patterns and giving you an even worse time concentrating.

While green tea does contain caffeine, it’s a mild dose — delivering a jolt of only 96 mg instead of 400. Therefore, you might do better busting the afternoon slump with this substance, as you’ll feel less jittery at night.

7. Curry

One reason why you might struggle to stir your creative juices has to do with inflammation. This condition often brings with it more than its fair share of distracting aches and pains.

Turmeric contains curcumin, one of the most potent anti-inflammatories you can find. It gets even more powerful when you add black pepper. A traditional Indian curry contains both substances in droves, so enjoy.

8. Quinoa

You know how the commercial tagline goes: you’re not yourself when you’re hungry. You’re probably not very creative, either.

Quinoa will fill you with lasting energy for much longer than a candy bar. The fiber in this ancient grain keeps tummy rumbles from distracting your concentration. Best of all, it’s safe for many people with celiac disease, although those who are particularly sensitive might find that the proteins are similar enough to cause trouble.

9. Garlic

Could that slice of pizza supercharge your creativity? Perhaps if it comes with a garlicky crust.

Garlic contains allicin, a compound this root herb emits when crushed or chopped. This substance can help lower your blood pressure, which is helpful if stress impacts your creative power. It may also ease any distracting muscle soreness from your last power workout more quickly.

10. Berries

When it comes to anthocyanin intake — a vital group of antioxidants — you can’t do much better than berries. Best of all, these tiny fruits are versatile and easy to add to numerous dishes.

Add a sprinkle of dried blueberries to your lunchtime salad. Blend some raspberries into your morning smoothie to counteract the sweetness of the bananas and milk with a little tartness. Your taste buds and neurons will thank you.

11. Mushrooms

Some mushrooms have long-standing reputations for increasing mental clarity. For example, reishi and cordyceps have neuroprotective properties that make them worth the bitter taste.

However, you don’t have to pucker your lips to get the benefits. You can find these extracts in liquid supplemental form. Add a dropper to your green tea and enjoy the dual perks of antioxidants and adaptogens.

Stimulating Creativity With Food

If you want to stimulate creativity in your brain, why not start with your diet? Add more of these 11 foods to your plate and watch your imagination come to life!

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