Fruit may well have contributed to the mental sharpness and creativity of the late Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. And it's not just Jobs who benefited: any of us who regularly eat fruit that is rich in the amino acid tyrosine can be sharper and more focused.
Tyrosine-rich fruits include bananas, peaches and almonds, and they help improve mental concentration and creativity, says cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato.
Colzato and a group of researchers gave tyrosine-enriched orange juice to a group of volunteers while others were given a placebo drink. Those who drank the orange juice were better at solving a series of puzzles afterwards.
The tests revolved around divergent thinking-where diverse answers are called for, such as things you can do with a pen-and convergent thinking, which is long and deep thinking, such as the connection between seemingly diverse words.
The results reflect earlier studies that also found that tyrosine-either in fruits or as food supplements-improves mental abilities. And Steve Jobs was convinced that his fruit diet helped make him more creative.
Tyrosine increases production of dopamine in the brain. Aside from fruit, tyrosine is also found in soybeans, spinach, eggs and cottage cheese.
(Source: Psychological Research, 2014; doi: 10.1007/s00426-014-0610-4)