Ok, so we know it's a bit late to be making New Year's resolutions. Buuuttt, it is still January, so we decided to put together a small list of basic, but hugely impactful, lifestyle changes you can make in 2018 to be as sharp as possible. Enjoy!
1. Remove and Avoid Toxins
Before building the brain up, it’s important to eradicate the forces acting to break the brain down. Most people do not consider brain toxins on a daily basis, but they are all around us and can have some devastating effects over the long term.
For instance, research has shown mold and lead exposure – which we’ve all experienced to some degree – to have serious cognitive impact. A 2003 study linked mold exposure to loss of motor skill and short-term memory and various works connect lead to brain damage and lost plasticity.
And these are just two threats in a long list of brain assailants. But fear not! By testing your home for mold (tests available at most hardware stores), checking for old lead paint and pipes, using chemical-free household products, and balancing intake of foods high in mercury, your brain-toxin exposure should be minimal.
2. Swap Out Brain-Busting Foods For Brain-Boosting Ones
One of our favorite quotes is by nutrition expert Heather Morgan, and reads: “Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.” In other words, the dietary decisions you make can either improve brain function or degrade it.
Whether a food is harmful to your brain is – to a degree – dependent on your particular genome (e.g., lactose intolerance). However, there are certain foods pretty much all of us should be avoiding, as they promote inflammation and free radical creation. Chief among them are sugar, refined carbohydrates, and trans fats.
Conversely, most of the medical and nutritional communities agree that other foods, like omega-3 rich fish and flavonoid-rich blueberries, have the exact opposite effect. By simply removing net-negative foods with net-positive ones, your brain function and mood can radically improve.
3. Get More Exercise and Sleep
We’re all busy. Thus, we don’t always have time to go for that run or sleep a full 8 hours. Yet how many times have we experienced a productivity decline from not doing these things that more than negates the time we saved by playing hooky in the first place?
Yup, diminishing returns are real. More over, let’s consider additional upsides of regular exercise. Much research over the past 10 years has found that “sweating it out” effectively trains the brain to resist shrinkage and become more flexible. Exercise also correlates with reduced Alzheimer’s risk and supports new neuron growth.
Even more important than revving our bodies up, though, is shutting them down. Lack of proper sleep has been linked with a litany of both short-term drawbacks (like compromised memory) and long-term ailments (like Alzheimer’s). What’s more, it makes us irritable and difficult to be around. So hit the hay!
Bonus: Oh, and if you have time, try meditating! It’s brain benefits are HUGE!
Happy Belated New Year!
- Team IQ Bar