Food for Thought

November 28, 2001

Struggling to hone your interpretation of a new role? You may want to reach for some fruit. Many fruits, like bananas and peaches, are high in the amino acid tyrosine, and according to a recent study published in Psychological Research, foods with high tyrosine levels may help us to think harder and more creatively.

Researchers at Leiden University gave 32 subjects orange juice, and asked them to solve a series of puzzles. They found that the subjects who drank orange juice with added tyrosine were better at solving the puzzles than those who had been given no extra tyrosine, leading them to conclude that tyrosine may promote convergent, or “deep,” thinking. Tyrosine increases the production of dopamine in the brain, which is believed to improve our ability to think creatively.

Along with fruit, tyrosine-rich foods include almonds, soybeans, spinach, eggs and cottage cheese.