how to live a healthy intellectual life ?
In short my advice would be like this:
- eat 4-6 times a day to keep from getting to low in blood sugar.
- meals containing mostly vegetables such as carrots, spinach, celery, radishes, tomatoes, peas, lentils, beans. A way to define vegetables would be to say it is a less sugary fruit.
- a rule would be 2 vegetables for each fruit such as banana and apple.
- eat oily fish, Salmon, Trout, Mackerel and Herring or vegetable oils, rapeseed, flax and hempseed oil at least 3 times a week. a mix between oil from fish and plants is best.
- use sunflower and corn oil in cooking
- mix the source of protein between, whey protein, egg, low fat yogurt, soy protein, lentils, tuna, chicken etc.
- drink juice, grapes (if you can get juice containing pulp, skins, stems and seeds that is the best also called a “must” ), tropical and cranberry together with your protein shake . remember to eat some vegetables on the side.
- at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise involving large muscle groups 3 times a week. Cycling, swimming, running are good examples.
- a quarter of an hour every day with exercises like sit-ups, push-ups etc.
- yoga with deep breathing. allowing the breath to become really deep and slow.
- meditation for at least 20 minutes a day
- games such a brain age
- teach somebody else about something. In my case it is computer science and yoga
- write a blog or if you prefer paper write a traditional diary.
- learn a new language
- engage all your senses when you write or teach.
I will keep on updating this list and below you can see the information on each point in full.
However the efficacy of cognitive enhancers, nootropic substances in most cases has not been conclusively determined and I skip them for now until more study have been done.
Lentils are one of the best vegetable sources of iron. This makes them an important part of a vegetarian diet, and useful for preventing iron deficiency. Iron is particularly important for adolescents and pregnant women, whose requirements for it are increased.
Apart from a high level of proteins, lentils also contain dietary fiber, Folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. Red (or pink) lentils contain a lower concentration of fiber than green lentils (11% rather than 31%)
Lentils contain high levels of proteins, including the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine. Lentils are deficient in two essential amino acids, methionine and cystine.
A complete protein (or whole protein) is a source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all of the essential amino acids for the dietary needs of humans or other animals. All the essential amino acids can be obtained on their own from various everyday plant sources, which, contrary to popular belief, do not need to be combined in the same meal.
essential amino acids you do not get with a vegetarian diet
L-Lysine is a necessary building block for all protein in the body. L-Lysine plays a major role in calcium absorption; building muscle protein; recovering from surgery or sports injuries; and the body’s production of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies.
soya bean , soybean
Soy contains significant amounts of all the essential amino acids for humans, and so is a good source of protein. mostly omega-6
Omega-3 is derived from linolenic acid. more about this in the rapeseed oil section. For instance, EPA and DHA, inhibit blood clotting, while there is no evidence that alpha-linolenic acid (aLNA) can do this. Soybean oil is one of the few common vegetable oils that contains a significant amount of aLNA; others include canola, walnut, hemp, and flax. However, soybean oil does not contain EPA or DHA. 100g of soybean oil contains 7g of omega-3 fatty acids to 51g of omega-6: a ratio of 1:7.
A sidenote and which I found interesting from a male perspective.
” These data suggest that higher intake of soy foods and soy isoflavones is associated with lower sperm concentration. . The same study found that soy intake does not affect sperm motility, morphology or ejaculate volume. “ Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health
A study on elderly Indonesian men and women found that tempeh consumption was independently related to better memory.
omega 3 rich
Omega-3 and the brain
There’s a long-held belief that fish oil is good for growing brains and it seems there may be some truth in that. Certainly, omega-3 is important for nerve function.
More specific research has shown that children low in omega-3 are more likely to be hyperactive, have learning disorders and display behavioural problems. Omega-3 deficiency has also been linked to dyslexia, violence, depression and memory problems.
Some people have found omega-3 supplements help children with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder and similar conditions.
oily fish such as sardines, herring, mackerel and salmon
very rich in omega 3. Omega-3 is derived from linolenic acid. The Department of Health ( UK ) recommends eating two portions of oily fish a week.
sunflower and corn oils
Grape juice, apple juice and cranberry juice
A drink made from purple Concord grapes had the greatest level of antioxidants, with cloudy apple, tropical and cranberry juices coming in next.
A glass of purple grape juice is the most effective of all fruit juices at preventing heart disease and cancer
( Professor Alan Crozier )
Scientists found it had the highest concentration of antioxidants – chemicals which help to neutralise unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals.
Resveratrol is found in wide amounts among grape varieties, primarily in their skins and seeds
Alberto Bertelli and his colleagues at the Human Anatomy Institute at the University of Milan have found that resveratrol, a chemical produced by vines to fight infection and found in grapes and wine, increases the activity and effectiveness of an important neural enzyme by up to sevenfold. The enzyme, known as Map-kinase, stimulates and regenerates neural cells.
- alteration of molecular mechanisms in blood vessels, reducing susceptibility to vascular damage
- decreased activity of angiotensin, a systemic hormone causing blood vessel constriction that would elevate blood pressure
- increased production of the vasodilator hormone, nitric oxide (endothelium-derived relaxing factor)
Dark-coloured fruit and vegies – especially blueberries and strawberries – are high in antioxidants. In research on rats at Tufts University in the US, Dr James Joseph found that older rodents fed blueberry extract had improved short-term memory and motor skills.
Omega-6 is derived from linoleic acid, which is found in many vegetable oils and olive oil is one of them.
According to Dr Michele Tagliati of the Beth-Israel Hospital Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery in New York, cholesterol and fatty acids are highly sought after by the brain’s white matter.
Not all fats are good, however – animal fats create traffic jams in the body’s infrastructure and staunch the flow of blood to the brain, which can lead to problems with memory and dementia. Olive oil, short of causing you to be sporadically abducted by a deranged sailor, shouldn’t give you any such problems.
These nuts are rich in Vitamin E. A National Institute of Health study in the US found that the antioxidative properties of vitamin E reduce deterioration in the brain
Spinach contains vitamin B12 and folate – which protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s – and high levels of vitamins C and E, which improve our speed of learning.
This fowl contains the amino acid tyrosine, which has been shown to help the brain maintain levels of dopamine, an important neuro-transmitter for memory. US military researchers found that soldiers did better on multi-tasking and memory test when they’d consumed a food rich in tyrosine an hour earlier.
Fish are stocked to the gills with omega-3 fatty acids, which, according to a study led by Dr Alex Richardson of Mansfield College, Oxford, in the UK, are the trained Thai masseuses offering executive relief to your overworked grey matter.
These versatile little oils combat stress and hyperactivity, boost your thought processes and, ironically (given that fish are famous for their forgetfulness), improve memory. Fish also contain protein, supplying you with tyrosine and phenylalanine, two amino acids that ply your brain with the juice it needs to remember how to spell them.
University of Toronto researchers recently found that eating certain carbohydrate-rich foods like oatmeal is the same as having a shot of glucose, a.k.a. blood sugar, injected into your brain (without having to explain why there’s a syringe sticking out of your head).
“Your body quickly takes glucose out of the carbohydrates and feeds it to your brain to help it function,” says Arnold Scheibel, M.D., former director of UCLA’s Brain Research Institute. In other words, the higher the concentration of glucose in your blood, the better your memory and concentration.
One cup of coffee
Drug. Improves concentration, idea production, but hinders memory encoding. Large amounts produce the jitters. Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive substance in the world, and may be susceptible to strong levels of tolerance.
Coffee – Bean. Contains caffeine; brewed coffee is high in antioxidants.
Just stop at one cup; another study found that men given more caffeine did worse on attention tests.
The original fresh-brewed brain fuel. In one study, British researchers found that those people consuming the caffeine equivalent of approximately one cup of coffee experienced improved attention and problem-solving skills.
Throughout the day, your noodle fills up with adenosine, a chemical thought to cause mental fatigue. Caffeine blocks the brain’s adenosine receptors, countering the chemical’s dulling effects. To maximize alertness and minimize jitters, keep those receptors covered with frequent small doses — like a mug of low-caf tea or half a cup of joe — rather than a onetime blast. Test subjects reported that periodic small shots made them feel clearheaded and calm, both of which enhance mental performance. Even better, add a lump of sugar or have a carbohydrate-rich snack at the same time for an extra cognitive kick. It seems that glucose and caffeine together do more to enhance cognition than either does alone. Biscotti, anyone?
Skip the exotic fruits; raisins are loaded with old-fashioned boron. USDA researchers found that subjects taking in the most boron — 3.2 milligrams (mg) a day — performed about 10 percent better on attention and memory tests than those eating the least. Apples and nuts pack boron, too
Eggs and milk
Eggs and milk are the richest sources of choline, a nutrient that’ll make for a memorable evening. Studies have shown that college students given 3 to 4 grams of choline 1 hour before taking memory tests scored higher than those who didn’t receive the choline supplements.
milk and cheese
Casein (from Latin caseus “cheese”) is the predominant phosphoprotein (αS1, αS2, β, κ) that accounts for nearly 80% of proteins in milk and cheese
Every order comes supersized with the amino acid tyrosine. U.S. military researchers found that soldiers did better on a multitasking and memory test when they had eaten a tyrosine-enriched food an hour earlier.
“Tyrosine may help your body maintain brain levels of dopamine, one neurotransmitter important to working memory,” says Patricia Deuster, Ph.D., the study author.
“Half of all men get only about 1.2 mg of boron a day,” says James Penland, Ph.D., a USDA research psychologist. Raisins help you make up the difference with 1.8 mg in a half cup. Apples and nuts pack boron, too.
en example on how to eat during the day
multivitamin and omega 3 and omega 6 suplement
oatmeal and raisins. small shacker with soyaprotein
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Exercise boosts brainpower by building new brain cells in a brain region linked with memory and memory loss, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.
Don’t cut that PE class! In 2006, Arthur Kramer of the University of Illinois used MRIs to prove that aerobic exercise builds gray and white matter in the brains of older adults. Later studies found that more aerobically fit grade-schoolers also perform better on cognitive tests.
Impact on intelligence: Strong
When facing a stressful situation or even a scary email, people often hold their breath. Yoga can break that habit. Under pressure, “most people breathe incorrectly,” says Frank Lawlis, a fellow of the American Psychological Association and author of The IQ Answer. The result: more stress and less oxygen to your brain. “So the first thing that goes is your memory.”
Impact on intelligence: Possibly strong
Desperate to memorize a crucial fact? Look over there! (Kidding.) The trick is to distract yourself by studying stuff that’s slightly different from whatever you’re trying to learn. Your brain will then work harder to permanently store the original information. It’s a tricky concept, but here’s an example: In 2007, researchers asked UCLA students to try to memorize a set of 48 word pairs (country: Russia, fruit: lemon, flower: lily, etc.). After studying the list, some students then had to sit through a slide show and view closely related material (flower: rose). Guess what? The distracted students performed better on subsequent recall tests. “Distraction forces you to engage in processing,” says Benjamin Storm, a UCLA researcher who oversaw the study. Hey, up in the sky — is that a blimp?
think that you can learn and you will succeed
Learning new things actually strengthens your brain — especially when you believe you can learn new things. It’s a virtuous circle: When you think you’re getting smarter, you study harder, making more nerve-cell connections, which in turn makes you … smarter. This effect shows up consistently among experimental subjects, from seventh graders to college students to businesspeople. According to studies carried out by Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck and others, volunteers with a so-called growth mindset about learning (“persist in the face of setbacks”) have more brain plasticity. In other words, their noggins are more adaptable. They exhibit increases in cognitive performance compared with those who have a so-called fixed mindset (“get defensive or give up easily”). “Many people believe they have a fixed level of intelligence, and that’s that,” Dweck says. “The cure is to change the mindset.” Certain that we’re wrong? Enjoy stupidity!
let there be chaos in what you learn
One way to learn Better: Mix yourself up. That’s advice from Robert Bjork, chair of UCLA’s psychology department and a leading expert in memory and learning. Volunteers in his experiments exhibited superior recall when they learned information in randomly ordered chunks. For example, he asked subjects in one group to memorize five-letter sequences on a computer keyboard. First they learned one sequence, then moved on to the second, and then the third. Compare that to a second group of volunteers, who practiced the five-letter combos in a random order. When tested, the random group had much better recall — something to remember when you sit down to memorize stolen-base success rates before your next fantasy baseball draft.
We work best in a relaxed state
If you’re fleeing a cave bear, it’s good to be stressed — you’ll run faster. If you’re stepping onto the set with Alex Trebek, that same anxiety will put your brain in jeopardy. While a little nervousness can boost cognitive performance, periods of intense stress essentially turn us into Neanderthals: The amygdala, known as the fear center, one of the most primitive brain regions, overrides the prefrontal cortex, which handles working memory and executive function. “When those deep brain areas are active, they shanghai your cortical neurons,” says psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, author of CrazyBusy. “Your IQ plummets. Your creativity, your sense of humor — all of that disappears. You’re stupid.” How to quiet your inner caveman? By slowing and synchronizing your pulse and respiration, thus sending a message to your brain that everything is cool. Yoga or power napping could do the trick. Or try the StressEraser, a biofeedback device that suggests a target breathing rate to help you calm down. That should help you nail that Daily Double.
Slow down when you read a text
It should take you two and a half seconds to read this sentence. Any faster and you won’t absorb its meaning. The motor response of the retina, and the time it takes the image of a word to travel from the macula to the thalamus to the visual cortex for processing, limits the eye to about 500 words a minute. (That’s peak efficiency; the average college student can expect a rate about half that.) “There is no such thing as speed reading,” says Keith Rayner a cognitive psychologist at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. “Not if your definition of reading is comprehending text.” Studies show that fast readers fare worse than slower ones when questioned about the text. So, to get smarter, slow down. It’s even OK
Jonny Magic’s Logic Tips
So, step one, internalize your private Spock. When you’re done with that, Finkel has three tips for playing the game, be it magic, poker or the market.
- Divorce your sense of self from your play. The key is to examine what you’ve done, in an unbiased way and critically, but not make yourself feel bad emotionally or crappy. Obviously, this is easier said than done.
- With anything in the world, find people who are better than you, but don’t forget the people who aren’t as good as you. Michael Jordan had a lot to learn from Phil Jackson, but he also had a lot to learn from Steve Kerr about shooting jump shots.
- Accept that if you want to be really good at something, you will need to do a lot of work. You look at people who are really good at Magic, they did it a real, real, real lot of times. They cared about it a lot, and they studied it a lot.
Teach Someone Else.
If there’s something you want to learn, try teaching it to someone else.
Traditional studying helps you to memorize ideas but teaching it to someone else forces you to truly ‘get’ all of the concepts and apply them to a number of solutions. To teach others you must anticipate any potential questions and explore the topic from all angles. Teaching others will dramatically increase your own understanding.
Write an Article.
It’s easy to learn about something in a book. However, it’s a completely different story to write an article or even a book about a particular topic. If you want to become an expert in the topic of your choice, write a book about it. This will allow you to explore every aspect of what you are learning. By writing about it you will soon begin connecting new ideas with things you already know, creating an interlinking web of knowledge.
Start a Blog.
Start a blog that talks about your experiences with a subject in order to increase your learning. I have found that starting my own blog has been the greatest learning experience of my entire life.
Writing a blog requires you to learn information backwards and forwards and then explain it in plain English to others. If you are looking to take your brain power to the next level, then I would highly suggest that you start your own blog.
It is sure to be one of the most intellectually stimulating activities you ever do.
Treat Your Body Well.
When you’re trying to increase your learning speed, you need to make sure you are feeding your brain – quite literally. The brain is a part of your body that requires plenty of fuel and oxygen in order to work efficiently. In the task of learning, you need to be feeding and treating your body well to maximize this process. This means that you should:
- Eat every few hours to keep your blood sugar levels up.
- Exercise on a daily basis.
- Try to relax a few minutes each day.
- Sleep at least seven hours each night.
- Stay hydrated with water.
- Eat a light lunch. Heavy lunches tend to make people drowsy. Instead, recharge with a light lunch and a power walk.
Learn with All Five Senses.
While everyone learns in different ways, we all began the learning process by seeing pictures and then translating them into ideas. From the earliest picture books, we were learning how to learn through our visual senses.
When you’re trying to learn something quickly, it can help to create a visual picture of the topic in your mind.
Draw it out on paper as well. It can be a picture, a graph, a chart, or just a timeline.
Keep adding to your mental picture as you learn more and recreate the picture in your head whenever you think of it.
However, don’t limit yourself to just visual pictures. Learn with all five senses.
For example, if you want to learn about Buenos Aires, the best thing for you to do is to book a trip, explore the city, take some tango lessons, enjoy the local cuisine, and talk with the locals. You haven’t learned anything until you have put it into practice in your own life. Engage in learning through touch, sight, sound, hearing, and smell.
Increase Your Motivation.
Motivation is the greatest memory enhancer. Think about all of the college students who pull an all-nighter to cram for a test. They have incredible motivation because they have done little studying before hand and now must absorb all of the information in one night. They can master the material because they want to. Actually, they have to. And this motivation kicks their learning into high gear. Unfortunately, cramming produces poor long-term retention.
If you’re not a procrastinating college student but still want to motivate yourself, then nothing beats a good reward. If you create a reward system that you actually look forward to, you will be able to learn faster in anticipation of that reward.
For example, if you study or work to learn a subject for so many hours or for so many pages, you might reward yourself with a trip to the store, some video game time, or perhaps your favorite TV show. Create whatever type of motivation works for you.
Learn While You Sleep.
yoga nidra ?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to spend your sleep hours learning your studies simply by pressing play on the CD player? Yes, it does sound nice. Unfortunately, university studies have shown that you cannot during deep sleep or dream sleep, which makes
up most of your sleeping time.
However, evidence has shown that you can learn in the very light sleep that precedes deep sleep.
Keep in mind that this material must be limited to facts, dates, vocabulary and other objective material. You can not learn complex material during the first stages of sleep.
More recently, German researchers have found that by using electrical stimulation during a particular phase of the sleep cycle, they can improve a person’s ability toremember facts.
Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training
A graduate of the Tohuku University School of Medicine, Dr Kawashima works at the same university’s New Industry Creation Hatchery Centre, and is one of the country’s top researchers into brain imaging.
Players are given a brain age reflecting their performance. Over time, your brain age should get younger as you achieve better scores.
The results of the study suggest that in order to improve memory, one needs not only to work hard, but work smart. People in their 60s and 70s used a strategy of spending most of their time on studying the materials and very little on the test, and showed large improvements over the testing sessions.
Change Your Environment
To keep your brain properly stimulated, it is important to keep changing your environment. Drive a new route to work, eat at a new restaurant on Friday night. Changing the environment helps change the brain!
In the Penn study, subjects were split into two categories. Those new to meditation, or “mindfulness training,” took part in an eight-week course that included up to 30 minutes of daily meditation. The second group was more experienced with meditation and attended an intensive full-time, one-month retreat.
Researchers found that even for those new to the practice, meditation enhanced performance and the ability to focus attention. Performance-based measures of cognitive function demonstrated improvements in a matter of weeks. The study, to be published in the journal Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, suggests a new, non-medical means for improving focus and cognitive ability among disparate populations and has implications for workplace performance and learning.
Participants performed tasks at a computer that measured response speeds and accuracy. At the outset, retreat participants who were experienced in meditation demonstrated better executive functioning skills, the cognitive ability to voluntarily focus, manage tasks and prioritize goals. Upon completion of the eight-week training, participants new to meditation had greater improvement in their ability to quickly and accurately move and focus attention, a process known as “orienting.” After the one-month intensive retreat, participants also improved their ability to keep attention “at the ready.”
The results suggest that meditation, even as little as 30 minutes daily, may improve attention and focus for those with heavy demands on their time. While practicing meditation may itself may not be relaxing or restful, the attention-performance improvements that come with practice may paradoxically allow us to be more relaxed.
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Penn Stress Management Program
Deep breathing actually increases oxygen levels and blood-flow to the brain. 10-15 minutes of daily deep breathing can make a huge difference in the quality of your life and brain’s functioning potential.
Heavy breathing during aerobic exercise won’t cut it. One study of 85 elderly adults found that 16 weeks of aerobic training yielded no improvement in memory retrieval scores. Yet, a study of 108 individuals practicing nostril breathing or breathe awareness, found that they experienced an average 87% improvement in spatial memory scores after only 10 days. Another study had 30 children practice yoga breathing for 10 days. The children experienced a 43% increase in spatial memory scores.
Yoga breathing is easy to do and can be done just about anywhere at any time. There are many other benefits ascribed to breathe awareness besides improved memory, including stress relief and increased attention span. The following is a simple nostril breathing exercise. Try this exercise for at least a week and experience the benefits of intentional breathing:
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Manjunath NK, Telles S. Spatial and verbal memory test scores following yoga and fine arts camps for school children. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2004 Jul;48(3):353-6.
Naveen KV, Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR, Telles S. Yoga breathing through a particular nostril increases spatial memory scores without lateralized effects. Psychol Rep. 1997 Oct;81(2):555-61.