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10 Healthy Foods That Make You Smarter

10 Healthy Foods That Make You Smarter

Does what you eat make you smarter? Yes and no. While a well-balanced diet won’t transform you into a Jeopardy champion, it will sharpen your thinking ability. How alert do you feel after eating a greasy bag of fast food or cream-filled doughnut? The road to Food Coma is paved with empty calories devoid of nutritional content. Your brain will perform better if fueled by healthy fats, fiber, protein, vitamins, and antioxidants. If you’d like to boost your brain power, eat these 10 healthy foods that make you smarter.

1. Nuts

If you tend to snack on a candy bar at work, swap that with some nuts for a more productive afternoon. Sugar will give you a quick hit of energy but it doesn’t last long (and is followed by a sudden, vicious crash). Swapping those empty calories with some healthy fats will give you longer-lasting energy and an improved ability to think. Just make sure you stick with a handful or two per day, because there can be too much of a good thing. All nuts are not created equally, so click here for a guide to the best and worst nuts for your health.

Note: A recent study published in Neurology found that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids did not improve cognitive function in older women. The jury is still out but nuts are a positive and convenient alternative to sugar-laden snacks that won’t sustain you.

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2. Fish

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increased fish intake could reduce the risk of dementia by 20%.

3. Tea

If you’d like a morning pick-me-up that will boost your brain power, start your day with a cup of green tea. Tea is packed with antioxidants that increase neuron production in your brain. A study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research found that EGCG, an inorganic compound in green tea, prevents memory loss and degenerative diseases.

4. Spinach/Leafy Greens

Swap your fries with a salad or green vegetables for a more positive brain-boosting alternative. Leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collard, and mustard greens are packed with antioxidants that could slow down or reverse memory loss. A study at Harvard Medical School followed 13,000 women for 25 years and found that increased vegetable intake was associated with reduced cognitive decline.

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5. Oatmeal

A bowl of Captain Crunch might be tasty but it isn’t beneficial for your brain. Simple sugars provide you with a sudden rise in blood sugar that is followed by an equally sudden crash. Oatmeal is a slow-digesting food that will provide you with sustainable energy and brain power that will last for several hours.

6. Berries

Think oatmeal is a bit gross by itself? Sprinkle it with some brown sugar and berries for a tasty treat your brain will appreciate. A study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that eating berries could “delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years.”

7. Chocolate

A study published in the journal Neurology found that drinking two cups of hot cocoa per day for 30 days improved memory and brain blood flow in elderly people with impaired blood flow.

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8. Coffee

A cup of Joe will provide you with an immediate hit of energy that will help you focus on the task at hand. To discover how beer and coffee affect your brain, click here.

9. Eggs

Egg yolks are a quality source of chlorine, a substance that strengthens your memory and brain power. A study at the Boston University School of Medicine found that high chlorine intake is associated with better scores in memory tests and reduced likelihood of brain changes that precede dementia.

10. Water

Dehydration can damage your ability to focus and recall information, so make sure you’re drinking at least 8 cups of water per day to keep your brain happy and hydrated.

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Make sure you have one of these foods that make you smarter with lunch to avoid mid-afternoon exhaustion. If you used to eat fast food for lunch and have since made a healthy change, did you notice a difference in your energy or memory as a result?

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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