It is widely known that eating a healthy diet benefits our physical health. But less is acknowledged about the psychological benefits. We have all tried exotic ingredients or foods that make us feel happy. But, how is our mood actually affected by what we eat? And, how can it end up influencing our creative thinking?
Pay attention to your body and your mind right now. Are you working at your maximum potential? Now recall what you had for lunch or breakfast and how it may be affecting your productivity. Now put this into perspective. Because this is something that is happening over an extended period of time and not instantly.
The role of glucose as our brain’s fuel
The award-winning psychologist, Ron Friedman, explains in one of his articles for Harvard Business Review how “food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance, which is why a poor decision at lunch can derail an entire afternoon.”
And this happens because “about everything we eat is converted by our body into glucose, which provides the energy our brains need to stay alert. When we’re running low on glucose, we have a tough time staying focused and our attention drifts. This explains why it’s hard to concentrate on an empty stomach”.
The problem is that our body does not handle all foods at the same rate. Renée Leonard-Stainton, qualified Naturopath, Nutritionist, and Western Medical Herbalist, explains how our body processes glucose and how to eat for mental energy. “Eating foods with a low glycemic index (meaning that they release glucose more gradually into the bloodstream) may help you avoid the lag in energy that typically occurs after eating quickly-absorbed sugars or refined starches.”
Turning fruits and vegetables into well-being
Research conducted by the University of Otago in New Zealand recruited 400 people aged between 17 and 25 years old, to try to define the association between fruit, veg and well-being. For 13 days, participants reported their consumption levels of fruit, vegetables, sweets, and chips, as well as their well-being, curiosity, and creativity. Researchers discovered a correlation between higher fruit and vegetable intake and higher average well-being, curiosity, and creativity levels among the participants. But what is more interesting, is that their fruit and vegetable consumption on one day, didn’t improve their well-being the following day. This therefore emphasizes the need to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet consistently.
Foods that boost creativity
The studies mentioned before, prove that foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals promote well-being, curiosity, and creativity. But what specific foods should we consume to improve our productivity and consequently our creative thinking?
Vitamin C is an essential factor in the production of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that underlies motivation and promotes engagement. Foods with vitamin C are not only oranges but also strawberries, pineapple, mango, kiwis, papayas, brussel sprouts, bell peppers, and broccoli.
B vitamins influence feelings of vitality and engagement. You will find a source of vitamin B in tuna, Swiss and cottage cheese, shrimp, sardines, mussels, oysters, clams, salmon, crab, trout, herring, beef, chicken, turkey, whole-grain oats, and milk.
Antioxidants such as vitamins E help reduce bodily inflammation, improve memory, enhance mood, and may help prevent depression. Ingredients with vitamins E include almonds, spinach, sweet potato, avocado, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, butternut squash and olive oil, among others.
Finally, spices are such an important part of our daily diet. Cinnamon, for instance, makes your neurons stronger for a longer period of time. Research from the University of California at Santa Barbara shows that a sprinkle of cinnamon in your meal can help blood flow and stabilize proteins in the brain, improving blood glucose.
In conclusion, our creative thinking is affected by a number of external elements, but the food we eat is such an important part of it. Choosing a diet with ingredients that are gradually processed by our body are crucial to staying productive. At the same time, our diet will also affect mental energy and positivity, and the combination of these factors will determine our levels of creativity.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.