Athletes have healthy diets, and so should writers. Writing well gets easier when our belly is healthy and our brain and body are both well oiled. There’s a growing body of research that suggests we have a “second brain” in our gut, that the bacteria in there contributes a great deal to our physical and mental health, and that if it’s not taken care of, our whole body suffers. As writers, we should take that into account.
For several years, my diet revolved around pasta with processed sauce, processed meatballs, and cheese sandwiches. Eventually my body began to show warning signs, and I started to read more about food and its impact on our body, radically changing my diet in the process. Through this post I want to draw attention to certain foods which are widely regarded as highly beneficial, most of which I have embraced myself. I hope that you may try them if you haven’t already and experience their benefits firsthand. But first, let’s look at those foods which we should avoid.
Whether you write blog posts, articles, short stories, novels, copy, or journalism, there are certain foods which can slow down your brain, destroy your intestinal flora, deplete your body of energy, decrease your power of concentration, complicate your bowel movements, and increase your likelihood of suffering from mood disorders and depression (and probably writer’s block, too). These include sugar, white flour, sodas, processed meat, processed foods in general, and cheap vegetable oils which are used abundantly in ready-made foods.
A diet rich in these is bad for both your health and your writing career. They can raise blood sugar level, encourage the proliferation of bad intestinal bacteria, elevate the level of inflammation in the body, increase body weight, and sustain other negative processes within the body. It may not always be possible to avoid them completely, but it’s always possible to reduce them.
Now let’s consider foods that are great for writers.
- Nuts of all varieties, including almonds, pistachios, and walnuts have good fats for the brain and are also very nourishing.
- Flaxseed, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds help maintain a good balance between the different fatty acids in our body.
- Pulse such as beans or lentils have plenty of proteins,
- Sugar-free corn flakes are easier on the stomach than muesli, which can cause drowsiness.
- Kefir has good bacteria for your intestinal flora.
- Dark chocolate has good fats. The darker the better (>70%).
- Fresh vegetables such as broccoli and carrots are well known to promote general health.
- Garlic and onions boost our immune system and help the gut bacteria stay in good shape.
- Olive oil, staple of the Mediterranean diet, is an excellent source of healthy fat.
- Coffee – I’m allergic to coffee, but drinking it with moderation seems to be very beneficial.
- Green tea is probably the healthiest drink in the world. Other types of tea will also do, unsweetened, and preferably loose.
- Fresh fruits over any other sugary desserts.
These are only some of the foods which, added to your diet, will not only improve your overall health, but also help sustain you as a writer.
What other healthy would you add to this list?