For as long as I can remember, I have been in pursuit of optimal performance and health. Even in high school, somehow, I had enough sense to know that food is information, and though we may find within ourselves the most advanced operating system in the universe, there is still much room for optimization.
And yet while it’s easy for us to imagine how going to a gym or drinking a protein shake can benefit our physiques, there are very simple steps you can take to bolster your brain power as well. In an age where attention is the new limited resource, optimizing ones brain may be as important as ever. Here are five easy, yet very effective ways of doing that, all before lunch.
Studies show that this popular beverage actually boosts working memory. It also is the most common source of L-theanine, a potent nootropic studied for its potential ability to reduce mental and physical stress without sedation, to improve cognition, and (working synergistically with caffeine) to boost mood and cognitive performance.
In one study, individuals who consumed the most coffee were found to have the lowest risk of developing dementia later in life. This antioxidant-filled beverage has also been shown to significantly reduce risk of Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in the US.
Though the combination may sound gross, it’s not only a startlingly delicious add-on to your beverage, but an incredibly healthy one as well: Fat is good for the brain, and particularly the kind of fat found in coconut oil. This is because the medium chain triglycerides replete in coconut oil provide the brain with ketones, a cleaner burning and more efficient fuel source than glucose.
Aerobic exercise can actually reverse age-related hippocampal volume loss (the hippocampus is known as the brain’s memory center). To date, no known drug has the ability to do that.
A paper published a couple of months ago in the journal Neurology found that cynics are nearly three times more likely to develop dementia than their more easygoing counterparts. Have I convinced you yet? Trust me, your brain will thank you.
—Max Lugavere is a filmmaker, media personality, and brain health advocate. His recent web series Acting Disruptive, dubbed “two parts big ideas, one part late night talk show,” received 26 million views.
This article originally appeared in The Optimalist and is reprinted with permission.