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Foods to Avoid: 10 Foods That Make You Less Smart

Foods to Avoid: 10 Foods That Make You Less Smart

There has always been a lot of hype around foods that make you smart. This is why college students eat bananas when they study and why the product Smart Water is so popular. But have you ever thought about foods that make you dumber? It’s true that researchers at prestigious universities, such as UCLA and Oxford University, have found that there are certain foods that make you less smart. It turns out that “eating dumb” diminishes all of your efforts to be smart. Eating poorly affects your alertness, memory, mood and your nervous system, such as your neuromuscular response time. Read the following list of dumb foods so that you know which foods to avoid.

1. Sugar

 
donut

    The idea that eating too much sugar is bad for you isn’t anything new, but eating a lot of sugar over an extended period of time causes neurological problems. High consumption of sugar affects your memory and your ability to learn. Also, too much sugar in your blood slows down your brain cells’ use of insulin to break down sugar to aid in processing thoughts and emotions, leading to a decrease in brain activity. This information is daunting because the average American consumes 47 pounds of sugar annually. You should try to limit you sugar intake, including high-fructose corn syrup and high-carb foods.

    2. Salt

    Aside from affecting your heart rate and blood pressure, salt affects your cognitive functioning. Adding raw salt to your food is worse than cooking it with salt. Not only does salt impair your ability to think, but it also causes many other problems such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke. Try to consume salt in moderation.

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    3. Junk Food

    Potato chips, soda, burgers and fries. It all sounds so tasty, but junk food is addictive, and addiction is a matter of the brain. It turns out that the cessation of eating junk food triggers symptoms similar to withdrawal, depression and anxiety. The fats in junk food impart the creation of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine plays a role in giving you an overall feeling of well-being, learning, alertness, memory, cognitive function and motivation. When everyone told you not to eat junk food or it will rot your brain when you were a kid, it turns out they weren’t kidding. In fact, consuming high amounts of junk food for an extended period of time can lead to memory loss, and in some cases, Alzheimer’s disease.

    4. Fried Food

    Fried food is kind of implied under junk food. However, there are still healthy foods that, when fried, become unhealthy. For instance, eating fish has many health benefits, but eating fried fish is unhealthy. The same goes for other fried food like chicken. Stay smart by opting for non-fried foods.

    5. Artificial Sweeteners

    Artificial sweeteners drain your brain power. Consuming too many artificial sweeteners slows your brain response, effectively making you dumber. Items that contain artificial sweeteners, other than packet food, include mouthwash, toothpaste, cough syrup and chewable vitamins. Also, consuming high quantities of artificial sweeteners for an extended period of time causes brain damage.

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    6. Trans Fats

    trans fat

      Researchers who conducted the Oregon Brain Aging Study found that the consumption of trans fats is linked to brain shrinkage. The study examined 104 adult over the age of 65 and tested the subjects for the consumption of 30 nutrients over time. The findings show that those with high trans fat diets had brain shrinkage similar to people who have Alzheimer’s Disease.

      7. Precooked and Processed Foods

      sausage

        Precooked and processed foods contain harmful chemicals that make you dumber. Preservatives, additives, dyes and artificial flavors are some examples of the chemicals in these foods that affect your behavior and cognitive functioning. Consuming large quantities of processed foods over a lifetime slowly destroys your nerve cells and causes your brain to shrink.

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        8. Nicotine

        Having nicotine in your bloodstream causes the capillaries between your blood vessels to constrict, which affects the function of neurotransmitters and, ultimately, brain function. The cessation of nicotine intake causes a brain fog, and this causes nicotine users to develop dependency.

        9. Alcohol

        Consuming alcohol causes a mental cloud of confusion that has several effects. First, alcohol use is a liver killer. Also, the consumption of alcohol lowers your ability to think clearly and to recall information. If you have trouble recalling the names of common items or can’t differentiate between reality and your dreams, then you are likely a heavy alcohol user and need treatment. Fortunately, these symptoms are reversible if you stop consuming alcohol or limit your consumption to two drinks or less a week.

        10. Tofu

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        tofu

          This last one is surprising, because tofu is generally regarded as a healthy food. However, research from Loughborough University and Oxford suggests that tofu can be harmful if consumed in large quantities. The two universities conducted a study that looked at 700 participants between the ages of 52 and 98. The results show that those who consumed a lot of tofu were more at risk for memory loss. It hasn’t been proven, but researchers suspect it is the phytoestrogens in tofu that are responsible.

          These are 10 foods that make you dumber. Other than these foods to avoid, you should also avoid becoming dehydrated. A lack of water also causes brain shrinkage and affects memory, focus and decision-making. So eat smart, drink your water and maybe then you could pass for being smarter than a moron.

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          Last Updated on September 16, 2019

          How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

          How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

          You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

          We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

          The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

          Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

          1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

          Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

          For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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          • (1) Research
          • (2) Deciding the topic
          • (3) Creating the outline
          • (4) Drafting the content
          • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
          • (6) Revision
          • (7) etc.

          Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

          2. Change Your Environment

          Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

          One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

          3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

          Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

          Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

          My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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          Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

          4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

          If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

          Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

          I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

          5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

          I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

          Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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          As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

          6. Get a Buddy

          Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

          I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

          7. Tell Others About Your Goals

          This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

          For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

          8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

          What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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          9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

          If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

          Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

          10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

          Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

          Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

          11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

          At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

          Reality check:

          I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

          More About Procrastination

          Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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