Intelligence is defined as the ability to apply knowledge and relates to the brain’s capacity for storing information, problem-solving, learning, and much more. Those with high intelligence may be considered to be smarter than others – this is generally known as academic intelligence. Intelligence is often measured by an IQ score. People with a high IQ score are thought to be more intelligent than those with a low IQ. But, how does intelligence occur? Can it be grown or is it a genetic factor? In this article, we consider if mind IQ can be enhanced, and how so.
What is IQ?
Intelligence tests have been used since the start of the 20th century. IQ stands for intelligence quotient and is usually given as a score. On average, the general person has an IQ score of 100. Those with scores over 100 are considered more intelligent than the average person, while those with scores under 100 are considered less smart.1
How to Increase IQ
Certain lifestyle factors can cause a decline in your IQ, in the same way that specific factors influence intelligence.
Is the brain a muscle? A brain requires exercise in the same way a muscle grows. To enhance mind IQ, certain lifestyle traits, such as abusing drugs, should be avoided. For example, research has shown that marijuana use in under 18’s may lead to a lower adult IQ.2
Research suggests that the brain is able to be developed like a muscle as learning enhances communication between brain cells to grow stronger.3
So, what types of learning can enhance mind IQ and which lifestyle factors can increase intelligence.
Ways to Enhance Mind IQ
Learning new skills is one of the most effective ways to increase your intelligence. Research has found that learning to play an instrument can enhance your brain functioning and IQ.4 Learning to play an instrument reportedly provides the following benefits;
If you’re not looking to learn a new musical instrument, you could try learning a new language, trying a new hobby, taking up crafting or improving your mathematical skills.
Exercise has been found to have an association with brain functioning. One study in Sweden found that young adults who exercise have a higher IQ in later life. In the study of 1.2 million Swedish men, researchers discovered that those who enhance their physical fitness between the ages of 15 to 18, boosted their cognitive functioning.5
In another study, researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine found that growth factors – hormones which increased during exercise – had a direct effect on the brain and enhanced memory.6
A lack of exercise has also been shown to lead to greater brain decline in mature adults.7
Diet has been shown to enhance intelligence. A 2011 study of 7000 children found that consuming a diet rich in sugar, processed foods and fat at three years old resulted in a lower IQ at 8 years old.8
An additional study found that the consumption of a plant pigment called lutein, which is commonly found in leafy green vegetables, is linked to the neuroprotection of cell membranes in the brain.9
Good brain foods to enhance memory and cognitive functioning include omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which are found in fatty fish, nuts, dark chocolate, turmeric, avocados, blueberries, eggs, and pumpkin seeds.
There are varying classes of nootropics and smart supplements, although all of these supplements have an effect on the brain and mental performance. Smart Supplements and Nootropics to enhance mind IQ are not uncommon. However, while nootropics can aid your learning and cognition, there is no significant evidence to suggest that consuming nootropics will increase your IQ score.
One of the most potent nootropics for cognition is modafinil. Modafinil is considered a ‘smart drug’ and is generally prescribed for sleep apnea. However, it boasts excellent effects on cognition, including increasing the speed of processing in the brain10 and enhancing memory.11 While modafinil works to produce similar effects to a stimulant, it’s not addictive. You can also find the alternative prodrug, Adrafinil, more readily available which doesn’t require a prescription to obtain.
An additional nootropic for cognition is Noopept. Noopept is 1000 times more potent than Piracetam (First ever nootropic developed) and works to improve blood flow to the brain, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to enhancing memory and cognition13, Noopept aids emotional balance.14
There are also highly effective, all-natural, nootropic and smart supplement compounds available such as Lion’s Mane Mushroom, CDP-Choline and Bacopa Monnieri.
Lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) has quite a unique appearance and even more unique health benefits when used daily. In Chinese traditional medicine, Lion’s Mane Mushroom is said to bestow the user with “nerves of steel and the memory of a lion.”
Legends also say, the Yamabushi sect of Buddhist monks, who used Lion’s Mane Mushroom often, possessed supernatural powers. They also used Lion’s Mane to stay focused during meditation. So far, approximately 70 bioactive compounds have been discovered in lion’s mane.
Two unique groups of compounds not found anywhere else, the hericenones and the erinacines, heal and protect nerve cells and stimulate the growth of new ones. Another compound found in Lion’s Mane, amycenone, is helpful for treating sleep disorders, cognitive and anxiety disorders, depression and schizophrenia.
Meditation has been shown to increase memory and problem-solving.15 Regular meditation can enhance mind IQ by processing information more effectively.16A study on IQ found that subjects using a form of meditation called brainwave training increased their IQ by 23 percent.17 A follow-up study also found that this lasting effect also enhanced concentration and creativity.
There is no conclusive evidence to determine how meditation raises your IQ, but it’s thought that that the brain may be able to enhance itself during periods of rest. The subjects in these studies were only meditating for 20 minutes each day to notice improvements in their IQ.
If you’re looking to start meditation, try using an app, such as Calm, or taking part in a daily class. Mediation is also beneficial for relaxation and aiding anxiety.
Certain factors can help to improve your overall IQ score as the brain can be developed in the same way as a muscle can during exercise. If you wish to enhance your mind IQ, try incorporating these beneficial lifestyle tips into your routine.
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We've seen Adaptogens being used in traditional medicine for centuries now, which makes them well suited to add to your supplement and diet regime. It might also be the next big thing in fighting stress responses as well as sleeping disorders.
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