How to improve your IQ and brain function?

There are many ways that can help people increase their IQ as well as improve their brain function. Studies suggest that the brain function also affects the overall health as well. The following list can give good ideas how a person can accomplish this:

1) Learn something new

Learning a new skill is not only fun and interesting, but it may also help strengthen the connections in your brain. Researchers had older people try different activities, but only those who learned a new skill showed significant improvement in brain function. The brain is like a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it gets. Try to find a new hobby that excites and challenges you. Learning something new doesn’t have to be academic. Pick up a musical instrument, try a new language, start cooking, quilting or play chess on the computer. Also one of the best ways to expand your learning is to teach a skill to another person.

Be creative. Any time spent being creative and trying new things can really make a difference to your brain’s overall functioning.

2) Frequent reading

There’s no denying how beneficial books are in human cognitive development. In fact, the benefits on development are even more pronounced when books become part of parental bonding activities. Research has also shown that using your imagination is a great way to train your brain because you force your mind to ‘picture’ what you are imagining. Reading is a great way to trigger your imagination!

3) New languages

Would you be surprised to know that more than half of the world’s population is bilingual? It should come as no surprise that learning multiple languages is beneficial to the human brain — and the earlier, the better. Languages are the same as mathematics or chess, when a child starts with simple calculations or moves and then combines them into incredible formulas and beautiful chess games. The results show that intensive language learning through conversation and interaction is very useful for cognitive outcomes later in life. Recent studies investigated the relationship between early language learning and IQ. The results indicated that intensive language learning through talk and interaction is very beneficial for cognitive outcomes later in life.

4) Get Physical Exercise

Exercise gets the blood flowing. That helps your brain get the oxygen and nutrients it needs for top performance. Some research found that people who rode a stationary bike or walked on a treadmill for 30-60 minutes, three times a week, had improved blood flow to the area of the brain that deals with memory retention. After 12 weeks, they did better on memory tests. 
Exercise also enhances the effects of helpful brain chemicals and reduces stress hormones. Perhaps most importantly, exercise plays an important role in neuroplasticity by boosting growth factors and stimulating new neuronal connections.

5) Proper nutrition

There are lots of different foods that can help boost your brain power. Some of them include:

- Fish. Not only are fish rich in proteins, they provide omega-3 fatty acids. These are healthy fats that give the brain a boost.
- Nuts - Eating more nuts and seeds may be good for the brain, as these foods also contain omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants like Vitamin E.
- Chocolate - Dark chocolate contains cocoa, also known as cacao. Cacao contains flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. They may encourage neuron and blood vessel growth in parts of the brain involved in memory and learning. They may also stimulate blood flow in the brain.
- Fruit and vegetables. Produce is packed with antioxidants, substances that protect your brain cells from damage. Colorful fruits and vegetables are particularly good antioxidant “superfood” sources.
- Whole grains
- Spices – Turmeric, Ginger, Cinnamon, Black pepper
- Green tea.

6) More factors that could help improve your IQ and cognitive function

- Memorize things
- Play Tetris
- Play brain games
- Use your brain more in simple tasks – rely less on calculator and smartphone usage.
- Occasionally - Break out of your daily routine
- Write things down
- Keep things organized, clear the house, clear the mind
- Don't abuse alcohol
- Get enough sleep
- Spend time in nature
- Keep stress in check
- Laugh
- Socialize and build strong connections with people

More useful resources:

» What is IQ?
» How is IQ measured? Average and high IQ meaning
» Is IQ important?