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Science Says Vegetarians Are More Intelligent And Empathetic

Science Says Vegetarians Are More Intelligent And Empathetic

It’s been a long time since you’ve stopped responding to the stupid question, “Really, you don’t eat meat–not even chicken?” You aren’t even annoyed anymore by comments about your fussy eating habits and about how “unnatural” it is to not eat meat. You just let it go, knowing your vegetarian diet is your choice.

It seems vegetarians may have the last laugh! Recent studies show that individuals with higher intelligence are more likely to become vegetarians. Using 11 different cognitive tests at three pre-16 ages researchers have found people who choose meatless diets are more intelligent than their omnivorous friends.

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Among the respondents to a UK Child Development Study, those who were vegetarian at age 42 had significantly higher general childhood intelligence than those who were not vegetarian at the same age. Women who choose not to eat meat have a mean childhood IQ of 108.0; those who aren’t vegetarian have a mean childhood IQ of 100.7. Male omnivores have a mean childhood IQ of 101.1, whereas men who choose vegetarianism have a mean childhood IQ of 111.0. That’s a 10-point difference in IQ!

Another scientific theory, Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis, supports the correlation between a vegetarian diet and higher intelligence. Satoshi Kanzawa, an evolutionary psychologist, suggests the ability to change personal habits in reply to challenges in the world is strongest in people with higher empathy and intelligence levels. There is a strict link between a person’s ability to easily adapt their habits to “evolutionary novels” and higher IQ.

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Intelligent people cope more easily with situations that did not exist in the ancestral environment (such as modern dietary options). While our ancestors had to face constant food scarcity, we often face the opposite problem: abundance. Intelligent people are more likely to make wiser choices about what they eat, considering both their own health and animal welfare issues.

Vegetarians have found that they don’t need to eat meat to have a balanced diet and maintain body and brain health. Researchers at Harvard University found that vegetarians can get enough protein from non-meat foods, like vegetables, whole grains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, and soy products. A well-balanced vegetarian diet actually provides TWICE the amount of protein we need!

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Researchers from the British Medical Journal have also recently published a study which describes how a fruit and vegetable-rich vegetarian diet can even boost brain power! At the same time, meat-eaters have a higher incidence of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other serious health problems.

Paying attention to what we eat is more than just how to satisfy your stomach and cravings, but also about sustainability. Our world simply won’t sustain the current rates of meat consumption. About 30% of the world’s total ice-free surface is used to feed the chickens, pigs, and cattle we eat. The expansion of meat production, of which beef is the biggest culprit, was the main cause of deforestation over the last two decades. Experts list it as the second-biggest environmental threat to the human species after fossil-fuel vehicles.

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Sure, even while being aware of the negative impact of meat on the environment you can still sometimes dig into your favorite burger–when you really feel like it. It is all about the quality and the quantity of what you eat, not necessarily quitting meat totally. No matter what type of diet you choose it’s definitely worth using your intelligence and develop empathy to keep the negative impact of your nutritional choices at the minimum level–not just mindlessly following your whims.

Getting more informed and tracing where your food comes from and what impact your consumption has on your environment can help you to optimize your nutritional choices. And these are the essential ones, because what you put on your plate is a decision you make at least three times a day.

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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The leap happens when we realize two things:

  1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
  2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

“Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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