It is common to think of intelligence as something that you’re just born with. In fact, intelligence is not a set trait. It is a flexible ability to learn and stimulate your brain that can improve over time.
The key is to practice lifestyle habits that support and protect your brain. So, here are the best ways to boost your intelligence.
10 Best Ways To Boost Your Intelligence
1. Exercise Regularly
Staying physically active is one of the best ways to improve your brain function. Light exercise promotes activity in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain involved in memory.
It will also enhance the connection between the hippocampus and other brain regions that regular memory. It has also been found that exercise increases the volume of the hippocampus. Aerobic activity promotes the growth of neurons, which helps to boost brain structure and function.
To enjoy the cognitive benefits of exercise, it’s important to do it regularly. The good news is that you don’t have to do vigorous exercise to get all the benefits. You could try some beginner-friendly exercise options, including:
- Bodyweight workouts
2. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential for supporting optimal cognitive function. When you sleep, your brain consolidates memories that you created throughout the day. It also enhances the ability of your brain to learn new information when you wake up. Even mild sleep deprivation can negatively influence your working memory.
Another way to become smarter is to practice mediation. Meditation has been associated with better executive function and working memory. These effects can be seen after only a few days of meditation. After a few weeks of meditating, you can expect to see your attention, recognition ability and working memory increase. Your mood and levels of anxiety should also improve.
These cognitive benefits could be due to the emotional benefits of meditation. There are lots of different ways that you can try meditation. You can:
- Use meditation apps
- Listen to guided meditation videos
- Attend a meditation class
4. Drink Coffee
Adenosine is a brain chemical that stops the release of stimulatory substances in your brain. The caffeine in coffee blocks adenosine, which will allow these substances to give you a boost of energy. This could help to promote learning and improve mental performance.
Studies have also determined that caffeine intake can enhance attention, which might help you to stay focused and make you better able to take in new information. It’s better to consume coffee in moderation though. Drinking too much caffeine will make you feel more anxious and can make you feel jittery.
5. Drink Green Tea
Drinking green tea can also support your brain function. Some of these effects are due to the caffeine that is in green tea, which is present in small amounts, although there is less than in coffee.
Green tea is also rich in a chemical called epigallocatechin gallate, known as EGCG. EGCG could facilitate the growth of the axons and dendrites in neurons. Axons and dendrites make it possible for neurons to communicate and complete cognitive tasks. Green tea can also increase attention and working memory.
This is likely due to the combination of beneficial components in green tea, rather than a single substance.
6. Consume Nutrient-Rich Foods
Another way to boost your brain health is to eat foods with nutrients that support brain function. This includes foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids, and vitamin K.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fats are major components of the brain’s structure. Rich sources of this include:
- Fatty fish
Flavonoids are plant compounds that have neuroprotective benefits. Flavonoids are associated with positive outcomes for your cognition, including increased levels of executive function and working memory. Rich sources of flavonoids include:
Vitamin K plays an important role in brain cell survival and cognitive performance. It’s found mostly in leafy greens, such as:
7. Play An Instrument
Playing an instrument is a fun hobby, and is also a creative way to boost your levels of intelligence. Playing an instrument involves skills including:
- Auditory perception
- Physical coordination
- Pattern recognition
Learning a new skill like this will challenge your sensory and cognitive abilities. As a result, playing a musical instrument could help to increase your cognitive and neural functioning. If you’re already an experienced musician or already play an instrument, you could challenge yourself and still get all the benefits by learning a new song or another genre of music. If you don’t already know how to play an instrument, remember that it is never too late to start learning. You can find plenty of free how-to videos online to help you get started, or you could take lessons.
Research shows that reading can also help to boost your intelligence. This is because reading stimulates every part of your brain, along with the neural connections that are between them. This is because it takes multiple cognitive functions to read, including:
- Working memory
- Long-term storage memory
- Abstract reasoning
- Visual processing of letters
It has also been determined that reading enhances connectivity between brain regions involved with comprehension. This effect will last for a couple of days after reading, suggesting long-term benefits.
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9. Continue Learning
If you want to increase your intelligence, try to be a student for life, whether you take on continued education, or just try math and logic puzzles. Carrying on education is linked to higher intelligence.
Studies have found that continuing education also increases cognitive function and protects your brain.
Continuing your education doesn’t mean that you need to get a degree. You can:
- Listen to podcasts
- Watch TED talks
- Attend lectures or workshops
- Pick up a new hobby
- Learn a new language
- Read books on a new subject
Humans are social creatures, so staying social can enhance your mental fitness. Socialization stimulates the mind and cognitive ability.
If you find it hard to meet new people or build relationships, you might want to think about trying to:
- Volunteer in your community
- Join a club, gym, or sports team
- Take a class
- Join a book club
- Reconnect with old friends
How are you doing on these 10 best ways to boost your intelligence?