Possibility: How to become like Steve Jobs

From The Optimist Magazine

Fall 2015

This article previously appeared in What Doctors Don’t Tell You

Fruit may well have contributed to the mental sharpness and creativity of Steve Jobs, the late founder of Apple. And it’s not just Jobs who benefited: anyone who regularly eats fruits that are rich in the amino acid tyrosine can be mentally sharper and more focused. Tyrosine-rich fruit include bananas, peaches and almonds, and a new study suggests that they can help improve mental concentration and creativity, says cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato.

Colzato and her colleagues at Leiden University in the Netherlands gave tyrosine-enriched orange juice to a group of volunteers, while the others were given a placebo drink. Those who drank the spiked juice were better at solving a series of puzzles afterwards. The reason may be that tyrosine increases the production of dopamine in the brain. Aside from fruit, tyrosine can also be found in soybeans, spinach, eggs and cottage cheese.

The tests included both divergent thinking—where outside-the-box solutions are called for, such as things you can do with a pen—and convergent thinking, which is the long and deep kind, such as finding connections between seemingly unrelated words. The results support earlier studies that also found that tyrosine—either from fruit or as supplements—improves mental abilities. Steve Jobs himself was convinced that his fruit diet helped make him more creative.

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Possibility: How to become like Steve Jobs

From The Optimist Magazine

Fall 2015

This article previously appeared in What Doctors Don’t Tell You

Fruit may well have contributed to the mental sharpness and creativity of Steve Jobs, the late founder of Apple. And it’s not just Jobs who benefited: anyone who regularly eats fruits that are rich in the amino acid tyrosine can be mentally sharper and more focused. Tyrosine-rich fruit include bananas, peaches and almonds, and a new study suggests that they can help improve mental concentration and creativity, says cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato.

Colzato and her colleagues at Leiden University in the Netherlands gave tyrosine-enriched orange juice to a group of volunteers, while the others were given a placebo drink. Those who drank the spiked juice were better at solving a series of puzzles afterwards. The reason may be that tyrosine increases the production of dopamine in the brain. Aside from fruit, tyrosine can also be found in soybeans, spinach, eggs and cottage cheese.

The tests included both divergent thinking—where outside-the-box solutions are called for, such as things you can do with a pen—and convergent thinking, which is the long and deep kind, such as finding connections between seemingly unrelated words. The results support earlier studies that also found that tyrosine—either from fruit or as supplements—improves mental abilities. Steve Jobs himself was convinced that his fruit diet helped make him more creative.

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