Nutrients That Make You Smarter
Biohacking: the trending belief that you can use science, technology and products to change your body, mind and lifestyle to get stronger, sharpen your mind, or attain goals that you set for yourself. Sure there’s some skepticism to the broader concept of ‘biohacking your own body’ (versus biology or DNA in general), but there’s no arguing that there are small steps we can take to support our bodies and help them perform at their fullest potential and that in itself can be considered a biohack.
So what if we told you that you could work to biohack your mind, helping to make it sharper & clearer, reduce stress, and in turn maybe even smarter (!) with the support of nutrients and supps and some simple lifestyle adjustments.
It’s back-to-school season, after all, so here are our top picks to sharpen your mind.
Supps To Make You Smarter
Probably no surprise here, but caffeine helps you stay sharp! 90% of North American adults consume caffeine daily, but it’s not just helping us rise and grind. Caffeine is proven to improve your memory, mood, focus, physical performance and more. When consumed, this stimulant operates on the central nervous system competing with a neurotransmitter (adenosine), blocking sleep receptors, keeping your mind sharp and producing an energizing effect. Caffeine also stimulates dopamine signalling to the brain, the neurotransmitter responsible for mood and alertness.
There are lots of sources of caffeine such as mainstream coffee, tea, pre-workout supps and more. Best to take in the morning as caffeine does stay in your system for upwards of 12 hours and can disrupt sleep if taken too late in the day.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Our brains are 60 percent fat and research supports the notion that fatty acids, specifically omega-3s, are a pillar for brain function and performance. Specifically, omega-3s and EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) help with brain functioning including memory, focus and fine-motor skills.
Omega-3s are packed into salmon – and other fatty fish – but to ensure you’re hitting your daily dose, we recommend a high-quality supp, especially since most standard diets today are typically too low in omega-3s and too high in omega-6 fatty acids and other less desirable fats.
Another form of fat, medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs are becoming increasingly popular. Naturally found in coconut oil, this dietary fat is quickly converted into ketones in the body and used as a direct energy source for the brain. MCTs also help keep our blood glucose levels steady, avoiding the spikes and crashes in energy that can lead to tiredness and brain fog.
You can get MCTs from coconut, but today it’s easy to grab an MCT supp. The liquid is tasteless and easily blends into your morning coffee or any-time-of-day smoothie.
Used typically to enhance sports performance and act on muscle, creatine also acts on the brain and plays a role in influencing brain performance. Specifically, creatine enhances cognitive function and delays mental fatigue and research proves it supports memory and intelligence .
Creatine is an amino acid (protein) that is naturally found in red meat but to get that cognitive boost we recommend adding a supp into your routine. Aim for around 5g daily.
The Lifestyle Factor
We would be remiss to list the above products without mentioning a few lifestyle factors that also play into all of this. The top 3, which you can probably guess, are sleep, exercise and hydration.
Sleep is so critical and the primary form of recovery for our bodies. Our muscles repair, cortisol levels subside, and our brain functions better on a good night’s sleep. What’s enough? The National Sleep Foundation recommends aiming for 7 – 9 hours each night. Need a little help unwinding and getting some rest? Try a nightly dose of magnesium to help relax the nervous system and muscles.
Keep hitting the gym or working towards those daily fitness goals. Studies show that an hour of physical activity each day improves attention and overall cognitive function.
Finally, it should go without saying that daily hydration, especially after a workout, is so important. Water flushes toxins and waste from the body, helping keep your immune system strong, and replenishes cellular needs lost through sweat from a hard workout.
For help on picking a supplement that best fits your goals visit your local Reflex Supplements store. Got a nutritional question you need help with? Hit us up on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We are #ReflexNation.