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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 February 21, 2019

12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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