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IQ-Enhancing Foods

Although IQ (Intelligence Quotient) tests are the most common formal ways of measuring intelligence, they only exam...

IQ-Enhancing Foods

Although IQ (Intelligence Quotient) tests are the most common formal ways of measuring intelligence, they only examine certain aspects of the brain’s mental capacity. Other facets, such as creativity or emotional intelligence, may be equally potent markers of how “smart” we are, but are not a part of what is normally referred to as “IQ.”

 

Nonetheless, IQ tests are generally considered to be fairly reliable methods of testing an individual’s ability in areas such as memory, reading comprehension, vocabulary, arithmetic, spatial intelligence, problem solving and general knowledge.

 

Research into the neurological effects of some foods has revealed that certain nutrients may have enhancing effects on cognitive processes associated with IQ. Therefore the consumption of these foods may have some benefits related to intelligence, and especially memory and cognition.

 

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Studies by UCLA neurosurgery professor Fernando Gomez-Pinilla suggest that foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (including avocados, oily fish, flax seeds and walnuts) may help with synaptic plasticity, which is associated with memory and learning. Gomez-Pinilla’s research also suggests that flavanols (found in certain fruits, beans, cocoa and the Ginkgo biloba tree) may reduce impairments in memory and learning.

Another study published in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, focusing exclusively on one particular food high in omega-3 fatty acids, found that rats showed significant improvements in memory and learning when fed walnuts. Eating walnuts also resulted in higher serotonin levels measured in the rats’ neurotransmitters.

 

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Author and doctor Steven Pratt, MD, writes that blueberries may help protect the brain from oxidative stress, which plays a role in degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s. For brain health, Pratt also recommends whole grains for good blood flow and wheat germ for its Omega-3 and vitamin E content. High levels of vitamin E are associated with less cognitive decline while aging. Director of nutrition and nutritional epidemiology at Rush University in Chicago, Martha Clare Morris, recommends the following foods for their high vitamin E content: oil-based salad dressings, sunflower seeds, nuts and peanut butter, as well as dark green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kale and collard greens.

 

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