Anyone can boost their IQ—by as much as 14 points, research shows—just by following a few rules.
Step 1: Begin the day with protein Choose the right foods at the right times, like meat, fish, or eggs for breakfast. Eating protein can increase production of neurotransmitters like dopamine or norepinephrine, which are essential for alertness, high-speed calculation, and critical thinking.
TIP: Save complex carbohydrates, like whole grains and pasta, for your evening meal, when they’ll help you fall asleep.
Step 2: Eat dark chocolate Enjoy between one and five ounces of dark chocolate a day. Its antioxidants increase blood flow to the brain, making learning easier, improving your memory, and helping you think faster. Choose chocolate with more than 70 percent cocoa.
Step 3: Eat small meals Eat several small meals per day rather than three big ones. Or chew each mouthful of food 30 times before swallowing. Both of these routines reduce the amount of oxygen the brain needs to digest your food, leaving more oxygen for alertness and memory.
Step 4: Eat your Bs Eat more foods that are high in B vitamins, like green, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, whole-wheat bread, and beans. Studies link B vitamins with increased mental acuity.
Step 5: Switch things up Exercise your brain by doing everyday things differently, like using your non-dominant hand for routine tasks. This will force your brain to form new neural pathways, increasing its power.
TIP: An excellent brain booster you can do anywhere is to count backward from 90, in threes.
Step 6: Get some exercise Get more aerobic exercise, which has been shown to actually increase brain cells. Walking briskly just three hours a week helps.
FACT: Some researchers contend that your genes are responsible for 50 percent of your intelligence. The rest is impacted by what you eat and drink, how much you sleep, your stress level, and other environmental factors.