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5 Powerful Mind and Body Hacks for a Limitless Brain

5 Powerful Mind and Body Hacks for a Limitless Brain

Elite men and women perform at a high level.  Similar to a highly skilled computer expert, mind and body hackers are looking for programs to accelerate their life. They seek out ways to hack their brain and further separate themselves from everyone else.

In 3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, the human race develops a brain enhancement device called the BrainCap.  This cap is similar to the NZT pill in the hit movie Limitless, based on Alan Glynn’s best-selling novel The Dark Fields.  Although these are fictional brain augmentations, I have no doubt they will one day become reality allowing us the ability to maximize the use of our brain.

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With that said, we do have enhancements available similar to NZT.  We have a superpower available through an internal spark in our brain, one that will literally increase our brain cells. This awesome superpower is neurogenesis. You can achieve a higher level of mind and body superiority, one that is similar to some of our greatest fictional novels. You can learn to become a brain engineer and hack your mind and body by using these five powerful hacks.

1. Use Nootropics to Hack Your Neurotransmitters

Cells that fire together, wire together. Simply put, our brain learns when new information connects to something it already knows. So the more you know, the more you are actually capable of knowing. Our brain cell includes a neuron (cell body), axon (transmits impulse), dendrites (carries impulse), and synapse (communication between neurons). Chemical substances known as neurotransmitters (voltage) are released and transported when neurons fire. Nootropics (smart drugs) are cognitive enhancing supplements that improve memory, motivation, creativity, and performance. Originally designed to treat disorders such as ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease – these potent drugs have demonstrated the capability to hack our mind and body. Use the following with caution.

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  • Dopamine: Increases motivation, concentration, and produces intense focus. Adrafinil is highly recommended.  Adderall and Modafinil are effective for those with a diagnosis of ADHD or narcolepsy. Adderall should only be taken by those with ADHD and will greatly improve attention, focus, learning capacity, and motivation.
  • Acetylcholine: Low levels have been linked to brain fog, difficulty in learning, and low memory retention. You can improve your memory by increasing acetylcholine levels in the body. I recommend Alpha-GPC and Huperzine for this.
  • Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA): Linked to anxiety, sleep, and other relaxation functions in the body. It is important to improve levels of GABA in treatment for people suffering from bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and OCD. Aniracetam is recommended as it will enhance the growth of neurons and synapses, improve memory, increase attention and focus, and improve learning capacity.

2. Hack Neurogenesis and Grow Your Brain Cells

There is one magical substance involved in mind and body hacking. This substance is a nerve growth factor that impacts the development, function, and growth of brain cells. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that encourages the growth of new neurons and synapses through axon and dendrite sprouting.  BDNF is the most powerful and active substance stimulating neurogenesis.  Dr. John Ratey proclaimed in his best-selling book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain that BDNF is “Miracle-Gro for the brain.”

Use the following neurogenesis hacks.

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  • Exercise: Aerobic exercise is the optimal vehicle for the production of BDNF. Our brain produces BDNF during exercise, which leads to stimulation of new brain cells.
  • Audiobooks: Since running increases BDNF production, which increases neuron growth, you must then use your brain in order to keep your wiring strong. Audiobooks are similar to plugging yourself into a computer and directly downloading information. I read over 100 books per year and listen to audiobooks while running.

3. Hack Learning and Become a Super Learner

I mentioned reading in the previous hack, however, I wanted to dive deeper into this one. I attribute exercise and reading to my success in life. Most people stop actively learning when they exit a formal education curriculum. Reading is the optimal approach to improving overall learning capacity. I recommend the following.

  • Become a Ferocious Reader: The absolute best way to improve our intelligence is to read.
  • YouTube: This is the future of learning, and for the most part is free. There are some great online lectures on YouTube and you can listen while exercising, while driving (just don’t try to watch the video!), and just about anywhere. I recommend ‘Khan Academy’ if you are interested in improving your math skills.
  • Time Hacking.  Roger Hamilton highlights the importance of time in his thought-provoking book Wink and Grow Rich.  He remarked, “Show me how a man spends and invests his time, and I will show you his future.” There is nothing more important than managing your time wisely. As discussed by Hamilton, if we do not use our time wisely – once spent, that time is gone forever and will never come back.

4. Hack Your Senses and Become a Synesthete

I promise I am not on LSD and I highly recommend you stay clear of it (although it has been proven to increase neurogenesis). Definitely a crazy concept, but you can hack your senses in order to hear, taste, feel, and see colors.  Synesthesia is a union of our senses to do just that. Synesthetes are people who use this ability to improve memory and cognition. This could be extremely beneficial when attempting to pick out a few numbers from a large set, as each number is associated with a specific color in your mind. Use the following hack.

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  • Ideasthesia: This is an experience where senses are brought about by perception, where colors can be malleably connected to words, letters, or numbers. The key here is to determine if any number or letter has a direct association with a color in your mind. If you can associate each letter and number to a color, then you might just be able to hack synesthesia. Use this hack every time you read and see if the association works.

5. Hack Your Memory

Think back to your days in school. What types of techniques did you use to remember lists of important historical figures or geographic areas? Just as in math, where we were forced to memorize the entire multiplication table, we tried to force everything into our brain by the insane approach of repetition. Do you remember anything you shoved into your brain using that technique? Building a memory palace is a far superior technique utilized by all memory champions. It is a mnemonic device used to remember words, cards, faces, numbers, and more. Use these three steps as a quick guide in constructing your palace.

  • Determine your memory palace. Use a familiar setting (such as your childhood home).
  • Determine your route in your palace and assign landmarks (an old furnace in a basement you may have feared as a child).
  • Assign symbols and be creative. Use things you would never reveal to your mother (this will help it stick). Use people you despise, people you love, humiliating memories, and even nudity.  One memory champion used an image of a nude model swimming in cottage cheese at a landmark in his childhood home.

More by this author

Dr. Jamie Schwandt

Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

The Ultimate Exercises to Improve Posture (Simple and Effective) What Is the Point of Life: The Reason Why You Exist 5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory How Cognitive Learning Benefits Your Brain 10 Best Brain Power Supplements That Will Supercharge Your Mind

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Last Updated on July 28, 2020

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

1. Quinoa

GI: 53

Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

GI: 50

Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

3. Corn on the Cob

GI: 48

Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

4. Bananas

GI: 47

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Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

5. Bran Cereal

GI: 43

Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

6. Natural Muesli

GI: 40

Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

7. Apples

GI: 40

Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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8. Apricots

GI: 30

Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

9. Kidney Beans

GI: 29

Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

10. Barley

GI: 22

Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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11. Raw Nuts

GI: 20

Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

12. Carrots

GI: 16

Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

13. Greek Yogurt

GI: 12

Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

14. Hummus

GI: 6

When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

More Tips on Eating Healthy

Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

Reference

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