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Calling All Creative People — Need a Boost?

eating for creativity
Dr. Lindsey Mcilvena, MD

In her day job, treating patients living with chronic disease, nutrition and lifestyle are not after-thoughts, they’re central to helping her patients get well. She’s also our go-to expert on plant-based diets.

We’re all on the same page about nutrition at this point — what we eat matters! Our food choices can bring us closer to optimal health, or they can perpetuate and even cause chronic diseases. We really are what we eat.

But does this premise about food extend to the creative process as well? Are you an avid photographer, painter, poet, or interpretive dance aficionado looking to boost your creativity? Or perhaps you’re just looking to put some ummph back into your projects at work? Let’s find out what the science says.

With many aspects of nutrition, it’s hard to pin down one component responsible for one effect. The antioxidants, fiber, polyphenols, and phytonutrients in whole foods work synergistically to help us prevent  disease, live with vitality, and experience creativity.

There have been some interesting studies about creativity related to Parkinson’s disease, the neurological disorder that affects balance, muscle movement, and fine motor skills. Several studies have shown that when Parkinson’s patients are given medicines which enhance dopamine release, their creativity takes off.

Hmm, so maybe if we try and support healthy dopamine production and release, we can get a similar benefit. The amino acid tyrosine is the precursor from which dopamine is built, and folic acid is one of the vitamin cofactors required for dopamine production.  Eating a diet of foods rich in tyrosine and folic acid may help to boost dopamine levels naturally. It just so happens that such foods are some of SuperFoodsRx’s most valuable players.

Foods high in tyrosine include beans (black, white, adzuki), fish (yellowtail, tuna, salmon), greens (spinach, watercress, mustard greens) and sesame seeds.

Foods high in folic acid include spinach, avocado, romaine lettuce, asparagus, endive, cabbage, turnip greens, black tea, chayote, seaweed (wakame, laver, kelp, agar), chives, dill, artichokes, and broccoli .

Eating these foods may not turn you into the next Mozart, but you can rest assured that they’re good for your whole body and perhaps your creativity as well.

Eating for Creativity – SourcesAmerican Neurological AssociationInstitute for Psychological Research and Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands, Mayo Clinic

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