Home » Writing Advice » Nourish the Writer’s Brain

Nourish the Writer’s Brain

(c) 5demayo

(c) 5demayo

Being health conscious about what you eat should not only focus on trimming to your waistline.  As a writer, taking your nutrition into account should also focus on nourishing your brain.  A good diet fuels your creativity.  One must be mindful about what passes their lips because, well not to be cliche, you are what you eat.  Garbage in, garbage out.  If you have an unhealthy eating lifestyle, your creativity and productivity will suffer.  There are thousands of studies out there that show the direct correlation of how diets loaded with processed foods, high sugars, and an oddity of chemicals makes one’s body lethargic, unmotivated, and mush-brained.

There are so many lists out there of what to eat and what not to eat.  Honestly it is exhausting trying to filter through it all.  I am not about to critique out all the diets and fads that are supposed to produce more brain power.  Nevertheless, I will list out some things that are beneficial to start introducing in your current diet that will help spur creativity and keep you motivated with writing.  From there, do your own research to see what kind of diet will work best for you.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Foods that contain this fatty acid helps grow gray matter volume.  Our bodies cannot naturally produce this type of fatty acid, so we must include in our diet a standard intake of Omega-3’s.

  • Foods: Flax, Salmon, Tuna, Nut Oils, Fish Oils

Folic Acid:  Increases cognitive and critical thinking.  Some studies have shown that folic acid also increases memory.

  • Foods: Dark Green Veggies and Citrus Fruit

Chocolate:  (Just for you, Robyn LaRue) Research from the University of Nottingham shows that “eating chocolate could help to sharpen up the mind and give a short-term boost to cognitive skills”.  Now, that doesn’t mean that you can pig out on that 1 pound bag of M&Ms.  While chocolate is good for you, it is only beneficial in moderation.

Glucose:  In moderation, glucose boosts creativity, concentration, and alertness.  Focus on foods that are on the healthier end of the spectrum rather than reaching for those loaded with high levels of fructose and carbs

  • Foods: Blueberries, Oranges, Strawberries

Water:  Water is like gasoline for one’s brain.  A brain cannot function when dehydrated.  Not only does a body become sluggish, but dehydration can cause a myriad of other problems like headaches, body aches, and even death.  Can’t write when you are dead!

Writer Brain Friendly Noshes:

  • Broccoli (not steamed)
  • Dark Chocolate (in moderation)
  • Black Currants
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Salmon
  • Popcorn (plain – no butter or salt)
  • Apples
  • Green Tea
  • Chia / Flax / Hemp Seeds
  • Kale
  • WATER!
Disclaimer: I am by no means a doctor.  This article is not meant to be medical advice.  Please consult with your doctor if you have any questions.

Want to know what your favorite authors ate?  Here are Favorite Snacks of Great Writers from the The New York Times.
Nourish the body, nourish the mind.  Check out the other posts in The Healthy Writer’s Body Series.


11 thoughts on “Nourish the Writer’s Brain

  1. So glad you mentioned chocolate 🙂 By necessity I am having to overhaul my diet and how I think about meal planning, and am incorporating most of what you said here. From my recent studies, I’d add just one thing…eat breakfast and incorporate protein in your breakfast if you can. It’s shown to help students concentrate at school so seems reasonable it will help adults at work and while writing. Great post. 🙂

  2. After watching an episode of “Criminal Minds” last night, I now have two reasons to indulge in my consumption of nuts – in moderation, of course. It increases my intake of Omega-3 fatty acids and it increases the level of serotonin in my brain 🙂

    Hmm, and can’t write when you’re dead, huh? I’m sniffing out some really cool story in the premise that could possibly be true. What do you think? 😉

    Thanks Amanda – good stuff. I feel guilty now after indulging in a cheese steak for lunch, but as you say – everything in moderation, except for writing – we can do that as much as we want, right?

    • I am honestly on the fence about being able to write after you are dead. There are stories about people being possessed by dead authors that were instrumental in the “host’s” writing career. And there is the whole Zombie thing. I think Zombies can write 😉 So maybe one can write after they are dead.

      An indulgence here or there – in moderation – is perfectly healthy! And you are right, there is no moderation for writing.

      Thanks for the note about nuts. I did not know they increased serotonin too!

  3. Aaah…as someone who struggles with an eating disorder, I am always on the lookout for healthy snacks that won’t lead to a binging session! 😦

    Thanks for this list, Amanda! #HUGS


    PS: Why is everyone obsessed with KALE anyway? 😛 hehe

    • I will only eat Kale if it is in Kale Chip form. Other than that I can’t stand the stuff. I am still trying to figure out if people are actually in love with it or are they forcing themselves to eat it. That stuff is nasty!!

      Yummy healthy snacks that don’t lead to a binge session are hard to find. My current kick are Nut Thins and Hummus. That fills me up pretty well that I don’t really pig out on them.

  4. Terrific, Amanda. I took charge of my eating about 3 years and feel better at 48 than I did at 28. It’s true, we are what we eat. I especially loved you including the NYT piece of famous authors favorite snacks. Please note, if I was Truman Capote, I’d be passed out daily by 6:15 pm. 🙂

    • Congratulations, Marcy! Taking charge of eating is a great feat. I had mine relatively under control and stabilized… until 2015 hit. Hoping to get back on track because I honestly feel awful. Glad you are enjoying the change.

      Part of the reason for writing this series was to get myself back into the healthy writing habits that I used to diligently follow. The other part was to bring awareness to writers that it can’t expect that one’s writing will be strong if their body isn’t.

      Oy, I would be the same if I was Capote 😉

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