The dictionary defines intelligence quotient, or IQ, as it is more commonly known, as “a score derived from a standardised test designed to assess one’s intelligence”. While many still contend that intelligence is determined by genetic factors, studies have shown that you can make yourself smarter and boost your intelligence a few notches up. All you need to do is make a few changes in your lifestyle!
So where do you start? With a healthy breakfast, of course! A healthy start not only gives you ample energy to get through the day, but also boosts your IQ. But breakfast does not mean grabbing a slice of toast or gulping down a cup of coffee before rushing out. Studies have shown that eating a healthy and wholesome meal in the morning increases the level of glucose in the blood, which acts as fuel to the brain. This also improves overall mental performance, memory and concentration. Who knew that having a good meal can actually make you smarter?!
Include a lot of fresh antioxidant-rich foods in your diet. Antioxidants protect your brain cells. Foods such as prunes, spinach, garlic, strawberries and raspberries are packed with high amounts of antioxidants, and serve as nature’s way to keep information locked in the brain. Including a lot of sugar gives you a short-term energy boost, but eventually makes the brain sluggish. This in turn slows down all physical and mental activities. But before you start frowning, here’s some good news: Research has shown that having a piece or two of dark chocolate can actually stimulate your brain. So instead of reaching for a sugary lollipop or candy, have some chocolate rich in cocoa to satisfy your craving for something sweet and, at the same time, help boost your IQ level.
Exercise daily. Regular physical activity such as aerobics, jogging, swimming or team sports improves the human body’s ability to deliver oxygen through the bloodstream, all the way up to the brain. A physically fit body also helps you to handle stress better and fights memory loss, thus boosting your IQ.
Meditation is an excellent relaxation technique to aid clearer thinking. It not only helps de-stress the mind but also improves how the brain functions under stressful conditions. Including pranayam - a technique which helps you to breathe right - is also a good way to boost the IQ level. Taking deep breaths increases oxygen flow to the brain and helps concentration, too.
The television was nicknamed the ‘idiot box’ for a reason. Many people believe that watching the right channels can be an enriching experience. But watching too much television places the brain in a passive, inactive state. For short periods of time, it may stimulate the mind, but overall, it is not the best way to unwind or to sharpen the mind. Instead, reach for a book. Reading not only stimulates the brain but also creates a mental picture of what you are reading - by far a more wholesome exercise for the brain than plonking yourself in front of the television for hours on end.
Taking a break now and then can be a good way to recharge your mental batteries. Working long hours or concentrating for extended periods of time can lead to mental fatigue. A short break from strenuous mental activities – such as studying – can help produce better results. The brain is said to remember the entire beginning, most of the middle and very little of the ending. Taking a short stroll or even catching forty winks helps give the brain a rest, which helps make the most of your IQ levels.
Not everyone is blessed with a photographic memory. But getting into the habit of writing down your thoughts and ideas can improve your memory. Keep a journal and record what happens throughout the day. Reviewing your daily entries can dramatically increase your brain’s ability to retain information. It certainly did for Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and Thomas Jefferson – all of whom were compulsive journal keepers!
Increasing your concentration levels and maximising your IQ not only help you manage your everyday activities better, but also enable you to do things faster and more efficiently. So, with a little change in your daily lifestyle, you can give your intelligence levels that extra boost and stay a step ahead!