8 Easy Ways to Boost Your IQ
Intelligence quotient may be one of the greatest predictors of human potential. And for years, scientists believed IQ was fixed (so the score you earned in grade school determined whether you'd be an Einstein or have the mental capacity of a spoon). But new research suggests that by flexing your gray matter, it is possible to up your score. Follow these eight tips to boost your IQ--and your chances for success.
1. Eat smart.
Consuming certain foods not only improves your health; it may also boost your brainpower. Oily fish, like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring, are all high in brain-enhancing omega-3 fatty acids, while soy triggers the neurotransmitters associated with memory. Other smart choices include leafy green vegetables, blueberries, strawberries, eggs, almonds, and turmeric.
2. Take time out.
According to experts, just closing your eyes and meditating for a half hour a day is enough to recharge your brain. In fact, it may be more effective than napping: A University of Kentucky study revealed that subjects who took a late-afternoon test after meditating for 30 minutes had higher scores than those who napped for the same time.
3. Don't be a slave to technology.
Computers, cell phones, and BlackBerrys are all designed to make you more efficient, but according to some experts, an overreliance on these gadgets could have the opposite effect. In several clinical trials, U.K. psychiatrist Glenn Wilson found that workers who were distracted by phone calls, emails, and text messages suffered a greater IQ loss than if they'd smoked marijuana.
4. Get your z's.
According to experts, every hour of sleep you lose translates to a temporary IQ loss of one point. What's more, a National Sleep Foundation study found that half of all U.S. workers say that sleepiness interferes with the amount of work they get done, and nearly 20 percent say it causes them to make mistakes.
5. Learn something new.
Discovering a foreign language, learning how to play an instrument, or reading a new book are great ways to improve your cognitive function. Plus, these kinds of activities challenge your mind to think beyond your usual day-to-day routine. Other IQ-enhancing pastimes include crossword puzzles and Sudoku.
6. Listen to music.
Researchers at the University of California gave two groups of college students IQ tests to measure abstract reasoning. One group, who listened to Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos in D-major beforehand, scored seven to 10 points higher than the control group, who listened to nothing.
7. Play games.
Certain competitive activities, like chess, pool, poker, and some video games, can improve your ability to think strategically. According to experts, these pastimes may also sharpen your math and logic skills.
8. Keep moving.
Exercise boosts mental acuity by improving circulation and releasing chemicals that enhance your creativity, reaction time, and information retention. In a University of Illinois study, researchers found that inactive subjects increased their memory and multitasking ability by more than 15 percent after participating in walking programs.
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