What you put in your mouth changes how your mind thinks. Try these brain foods to get you geared up for your next creative project.
The food you eat not only changes the inches on your hips and thighs, but it also affects your brain abilities as well. While everybody has to be conscious about what they put on their mouths, it’s the creative people who need to be especially picky. Writers, dancers, painters, and the like need to keep the creative juices flowing, so brain-boosting meals should be a constant on their plates.
There’s no single food that contains everything necessary for better mental strength. If someone claims to have that, that’s most probably one of the fad diets ruining your health and (even your wallet!). A variety of healthy food and meals is what you’re after. With that, take inspiration from these meal plans below and kickstart the habit of eating brain foods.
Preparation time: 5 minutes or less
Spinach contains nitrates, which helps in providing higher blood flow to the brain. As a result, cognitive function improves. It doesn’t stop there, though — you’re also reducing the risk for memory loss when you eat this leafy vegetable regularly. Avocado also helps in maintaining healthy blood flow. Moreover, it lowers blood pressure, thus prevents hypertension, a condition notorious for damaging mental faculties.
This smoothie is simple to prepare. Just put the main ingredients in a blender, a cup of fresh spinach, and ¼ avocado. Mix it with two tablespoons of water, a cup of nonfat yogurt, and a teaspoon of honey. Blend until smooth.
Preparation and cooking time: 30-45 minutes
Now, if you have more free time in the morning, go for this recipe. Eggs are packed with a lot of nutrients that boost mental performance, and one of those is choline. Choline is essential in creating acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in attention, learning, and memory — the very things you need when churning out ideas for your next book or art installation. Tomatoes, on the other hand, contain lycopene, an antioxidant that safeguards cells against free-radical damage, which contributes to dementia.
So how do you prepare this breakfast food?
First off, preheat the oven to 400°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Get three fresh tomatoes, chop off their top, and scrape the inside. Sprinkle some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Put the veggies inside the oven and wait for about 10 minutes. Bring it out after and use the tomatoes as “containers” for when you crack the egg. Put it back in the oven and leave it for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the egg is cooked to your liking. After that, add salt and pepper once more.
Grilled Salmon with Brown Rice
Preparation and cooking time: 10 minutes or less
Counting calories? Here’s one more easy healthy recipe fit for your calorie count! Salmon are rich sources of a type of fatty acid that does wonders for your grey matter: keeping neurons from being damaged, preventing cerebral inflammation, and improving neurotransmitter function. On the other hand, brown rice is rich in vitamin E, which helps protect cells from free-radical damage, again reducing your risk for memory problems.
For the recipe, put together two cups of cooked brown rice, a half cup of parsley, and six thinly-sliced spring onions, and then set it aside. Pre-heat the griddle or frypan, setting it to a high. Then, whisk some oil and pepper on each side of the fish. When the pan is ready, reduce the temperature a bit, and then lay four pieces of 100g salmon fillet on the surface. Wait for three to five minutes, or until you see it turning golden brown. Set it aside. Prepare the sauce using vinegar, sesame oil, honey, and soy sauce. Pour it over the fish and the brown rice mix.
Sardine Pasta with Lemon Zest
Preparation and cooking time: 30-45 minutes
Like salmon, sardines are good sources of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a fatty acid that protects brain structures and enhances cognitive function. Whole-grain pasta, on the other hand, is similar to brown rice, which is full of vitamin E. Basically, the must-haves for an afternoon of brainstorming for your next dance performance.
The recipe is just like any other pasta recipe. While waiting for the pasta to cook, prepare the sauce. In an olive oil-filled pan, put minced shallots and let it cook for a minute. Next, add garlic. Adjust the heat to keep the garlic from burning. After a minute or so, bring in two- to four-ounce cans of drained sardine fillets. Stir. And finally, squeeze some lemon on top of the dish. Mix the pasta and sauce, and voila! You have one brain-boosting meal.
Preparation time: 5 minutes or less
Strawberries help prevent memory loss. They have antioxidants that speed up communication between brain cells, which ultimately results in better thinking. It’s pretty easy to prepare this healthy snack. Put in a blender a cup of frozen strawberries, two cups of milk, a tablespoon of honey, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Blend until smooth. Add a berry on top for garnish.
Dark Chocolate Energy Bars
Preparation time: 1 hour
If you got a lot of downtime in the afternoon, though, go for some no-bake goodness for your snack. Dark chocolate energy bars are your best bet. This type of chocolate is a brain food too, in that it contains powerful antioxidant flavonoids. Some studies show that cacao flavonoids stimulate neuron growth and increase blood flow to the brain.
Start the recipe by crushing one and a half cups of raw almonds in a processor. Next, mix it with the three ounces of melted dark chocolate, two tablespoons of chia seeds and ground flaxseeds, and one tablespoon of vanilla extract. Line the pan with parchment paper, and then place the mixture. Freeze it for an hour or so. Cut it up into slices and keep it at room temperature.
Creamy Potato Salad
Preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes
Potatoes are perfect for boosting mental power, as they also contain choline, just like eggs. As mentioned, this is a nutrient that can help sharpen focus, memory, and learning. That’s why for a creative like you, potatoes are a must-have in meals.
This dish is just a two-step recipe. The first step is boil the potatoes in a pot of lightly salted water. After five to seven minutes, strain potatoes and rinse them with water. To prepare the dressing, dice the ingredients: three hard-boiled eggs, half a cucumber, one tomato, one celery stalk, and a quarter of an onion. Mix these in a bowl, along with ¾ cup of mayonnaise and a tablespoon of yellow mustard. Add the potatoes, sprinkle with some chopped green onions, and now you have one creamy, brain-friendly potato salad.
Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Bake
Preparation and cooking time: 30-50 minutes
Broccoli also makes it to the brain food list because of the glucosinolates it contains. When these compounds are broken down, they produce isothiocyanates, chemicals that minimize oxidative stress. That means better cognitive function for when you’re gearing up for an upcoming art exhibit or a poetry writing competition.
Now, for the dish: begin by cooking onion and garlic first. Then, add a pound of chicken breasts cut into smaller pieces, along with some salt and pepper. Stir the whole thing until it’s golden brown. Add a cup of brown rice, heavy cream, and broth. Let it simmer for 15 minutes. Next, put in two cups of broccoli florets and a cup of shredded cheese. Cook for 10 minutes more or until the broccoli becomes tender. Season the mixture with some salt and pepper, perhaps adding some bread crumbs too. Heat the broiler and leave the dish in it until golden.
What’s Your Brain Food?
Meal plans shouldn’t just be about taking care of your body. It must also nourish and grow the mind. For artists like you, it needs to be food for the creative juices. Ask yourself, then, what have you been feeding your brain lately?