1. Eat a diet full of healthy fats.
Olive oil, fish, coconut oil, grass fed beef, pastured eggs, and anything high in Omega-3 should be incorporated into your diet. There is credible scientists that believe the entire reason human beings evolved from the ocean was because fish oil intake allowed our brains to develop and get more powerful.
The brain is made of fat so let’s feed it the good stuff!
2. Drink plenty of water.
Dehydration is a serious cause of fatigue both physically and mentally. If you are already thirsty it is too late. You need to be consistently drinking water throughout the day to maintain proper levels of hydration. And if you are drinking a ton of water make sure to add a pinch of salt or eat some salty nuts to maintain proper sodium potassium balance.
Sleep is one of those things that is not very well understood, but we do know a few very important things about it. First, if you don’t get enough of it you will die.
All dramatics aside, sleep is also when memories are consolidated into long term memory and understanding. It is a time when stress is lowered and our bodies regulate our hormones.
Men in particular produce the sex hormone testosterone while sleeping. Think about that the next time you want to stay up all night.
4. Anti-oxidant foods
Foods high in anti-oxidants help clean out the body and keep us healthy. Look to foods like berries, high quality organic coffee, teas and chocolate to help naturally boost anti-oxidant levels.
A quick note about coffee and chocolate is that quality does matter. A large portion of the world’s coffee and chocolate supplies are tainted with mold and other toxins. Stick to high quality organic versions with low sugar content. In the case of chocolate that means a bar with at least 75% Cacao.
5. Reduce Sugar, Breads and Grains
Type 2 diabetes is caused by the body constantly being bombarded by excess insulin. Excess insulin is caused by the habitual consumption of sugars. Think soda, cakes, breads, cereals, even whole wheat bread is basically just sugar.
Alzheimer’s is starting to be known as type 3 diabetes. That is to say, it might be partially caused by the same lifestyle factors that cause Type 2 diabetes.
Even if the above is not true, making sure to manage your blood sugar will result in longer lasting smooth burning energy and less peaks and valleys.
As an added bonus, you will most likely lose a bit of extra body fat.
Exercise will help increase blood flow, bringing nutrients and oxygen to your brain. It helps reduce stress and further helps clean out the lymphatic system. Do not over exercise though. Over exercise causes excessive Cortisol (stress hormone) which can have the exact opposite effect.
The best options are either very low intensity exercise — the kind you can talk while doing (walking, hiking, gently cycling) or short high intensity exercise like weight lifting or sprinting.
Just make sure you don’t overdo it. If you are trying to manage weight loss with exercise you are also going to be in for a world of hurt. The thin and fit people you see running around your local park most likely didn’t get thin running. They run because they are thin. Huge difference. Manage weight loss with food and you will be much better off.
Studies show that people with an active and healthy social life are less prone to cognitive decline. This becomes even more important as we get older. Make sure you stay active in clubs, activities, groups and social circles. You may be helping fight off age related cognitive decline.
You’ve probably heard about the importance of Vitamin D, how essential it is for human health including cognition and it’s true. Get sun some, relax outdoors and let go of stress
Meditation is very powerful for helping you develop inner congruence, peace of mind and the ability to focus on simple tasks. Further it’s been shown that consistent meditation has measurable improvement on neurological pathways. In other words, it can make you smarter!
I write extensively on supplements on this site, but for the purpose of this article there are two that you should be taking.
Vitamin D – Unless you live near the equator and are nearly naked all day, you are low in vitamin D. In order to be sure get a $40 blood test or take 1,000iu per 25 pounds of body weight. This costs $1-2/month.
Magnesium – Magnesium is the second most deficient vitamin/mineral in most people. It is essential for roughly 350 biochemical reactions including the proper functioning of the nervous system and brain. I like nature calm and take it every night after dinner and before sleep. It is more relaxing than a glass of wine.