How do you beat brain fog? In this episode, I chat with Dave Asprey about short-term hacks and long-term lifestyle changes to up your energy and my ‘kwik’ takeaways from his brand-new book Head Strong: The Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster – in Just Two Weeks.
How can you increase your energy? The key is via the batteries in your brain called mitochondria.
On days you need to take a test or have a big meeting, these are short-term hacks that will quickly enhance your energy.
Short-Term Energy Hacks
5-6 g of sugar can give you a short-term mental boost.
Mitochondria use sugar to make energy.
If you’re having energy metabolism problems, adding a little sugar can kick up your energy.
Cells make electrons better.
This is not a long-term strategy but works in a pinch.
You may crash if you have blood sugar problems later.
If a little bit of sugar knocks you out, you need to get checked out.
Caffeine and polyphenols are good for your energy levels.
Ideally, have coffee without neurotoxins that can cause the crash and the jitters.
Most people can have regular coffee in a pinch because the crash shouldn’t hit you until two hours after you drink it.
Long-Term Lifestyle Changes to Increase Energy
1. Make your bedroom dark.
When your bedroom is truly dark, you allow your mitochondria to talk to each other with light.
When there’s light in the room, they’re blind to each other.
Tape over the LEDs in your bedroom.
Buy blackout curtains.
Get TrueDark glasses, which block all the spectrums of light that enter your eyes that mess up your mitochondria.
Dave wears them for an hour before sleeping.
2. Use cold water.
At the end of your shower, blast your face and chest with cold water for one minute.
After 4 days, it won’t hurt anymore.
The mitochondria at first hate the water, but quickly become more resilient and get used to it – so you have more energy all day long.
It’s no longer painful after the hump.
If 1 minute is too long, start with 5 seconds.
My ‘Kwik’ Takeaways from Head Strong
We’ve discovered more about the human brain in the past 20 years than we have in the previous 2000 years.
We’re grossly underestimating our brain’s capabilities, partially due to the concepts of neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.
You can create neural connections (via neuroplasticity) and brand-new healthy neurons (via neurogenesis) at any age. So you can grow older, but in some ways you can also grow better.
Low rates of neurogenesis are connected with cognitive decline, memory issues, and anxiety. High rates of neurogenesis are associated with cognitive enhancement, accelerated learning, quick problem-solving skills, and robust emotional resilience against the supervillains of stress and anxiety.
The research in Head Strong shows that your brain can be up to 5 times better than it currently is at growing new brain cells and protecting the ones you have.
Factors that Affect Your Neurogenesis Rate
1. Environmental Toxins.
Exposure to neurotoxins like heavy metals, solvents, and additives can slash your rate of neurogenesis and hurt existing brain cells.
You need the right raw materials to create healthy neurons because you are what you eat.
Certain foods, like oxidative fats and sugars, decrease the rate of neurogenesis.
Sugar is a short-term energy fix. It is harmful in the long run.
Certain foods increase the rate of neurogenesis and keep the new neurons alive:
Omega-3 fatty acids
Bioflavinoids (plant compound found in citrus fruit and many vegetables)
Polyphenols (plant compound in chocolate, blueberries, and grapes)
Find more foods that are good for your brain here.
Chronic stress severely inhibits neurogenesis, especially in the hippocampus.
The hippocampus is a brain area crucial to memory.
Exercise boosts neurogenesis rates by increasing blood flow to your brain and putting your brain in a short-term healthy stress state.
5. Fun Environment.
Novelty is essential to neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.
Having a fun, stimulating environment helps keep your brain sharp.
Your brain and body are mostly water, so it’s crucial to stay properly hydrated.
Be smarter, healthier, and happier by using these tips to activate your Kwik Brain. Get even more advice from Dave Asprey when you order Head Strong.
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