There’s little worse than sitting down at your computer to begin a project to find your brain full of fog and with the attention span of a squirrel. The curser in your Word doc blinks repeatedly. Hours go by without a single (good) idea.
This is why when I first heard about the trick to eating brain foods to boost my creativity and focus, I could hardly contain my excitement. Was it too good to be true? I ran to my kitchen to test it out and can confirm: if you’re feeling creatively blocked, you can eat your way to your next big idea with science-backed, brain-boosting foods.
We know exactly what inflammation feels like in our muscles and joints: achy, stiff, throbbing like my broken heart at prom. But how can you recognize an inflamed brain? You guessed it– brain fog and creativity blocks. When your brain is inflamed, it impacts your brain’s neural circuits and ability to function properly. It’s working so much harder to do its basic functions that it can’t perform deep thinking, let alone creative problem-solving. And what’s at the root of it all? Naturally, it’s delicious inflammatory foods like fries and donuts. What’s the cure for it? This powerful molecule that everyone should be eating.
BDNF is the other “feel good” brain chemical. The cousin of dopamine, if you will. This molecule is at the forefront of brain health today, and for good reason. It stands for “brain-derived neutrophic factor” and helps the brain cells grow, survive, and even be birthed. It actively works to fight inflammation in the brain and promotes synaptic connections between neurons. Basically, it makes your brain cells more resilient in the face of stress, which aids your ability to think clearly, focus longer, have your greatest ideas, and be in a fantastic mood while doing it. Here are my favorite foods that are proven to boost your brain’s BDNF levels:
Rich in Omega 3’s, walnuts are proven to support thought processing and neurotransmitter function.
It’s proven to be one of the best foods on the planet for fighting inflammation, thanks to its antioxidant-rich and Omega 3 properties.
Now we know why guac costs extra. Avocados are rich in fatty acids that are proven to facilitate the brain’s thought processing and stress reduction.
Research shows eating salmon increases brain function, relieves inflammation, and even acts as an anti-depressant.
This flavorful, golden spice is proven to have a powerful, positive impact on neurotransmitter function.
Small but mighty, blueberries have been thoroughly studied for their brain health-enhancing benefits, like memory, cognition, and focus.
This healthy fat pantry staple is a total brain food. It’s proven to improve focus and memory, plus regulate mood and ability to think clearly.
This bubbly, fermented beverage is loaded with B vitamins and probiotics which are proven to play a vital role in mental function and mental health.
Make one big brain-boosting lunch or dinner by combining all these ingredients into a salad! I enjoyed mine by seasoning my salmon with turmeric and mixing olive oil and kombucha with some garlic and spices to make a BDNF-packed salad dressing. Your brain will be perfectly fueled for your next creative project. All the flavor, none of the fog.