Does the New Year have you creating resolution lists designed to propel you to better health, wealth and well-being? If so, you’re far from alone. If you’re the average American, then according to Nielsen, “staying fit and healthy” topped your list last year — followed closely by “lose weight.”
And — surprise, surprise! — these were the same goals held by most Americans in 2014, as well.
It turns out there’s a reason for the lack of year-to-year progress. Most people, despite their stated goals, don’t follow any dietary health or weight loss program. The disconnect between goals and actions explains a lot, doesn’t it?
The other big 2015 goals fell under the general umbrella of “becoming more productive” — which would presumably then allow goal-achievers to set their sights on more fun goals like enjoying life, spending time with family, hobbies, etc.
Achieve Your 2016 New Year’s Resolutions
Want to avoid this frustrating trend of “Resolution Recycling”? Clear the slate — at least your personal slate — so that a “new and noteworthy” goal can top your list for 2017?
Suggestions for turning resolutions into reality range from setting small, achievable goals, to telling others your intentions so you will be held publically accountable. All great advice.
But how about something even more concrete to help you conquer those goals related to achieving health, fitness and productivity?
Enter Nootropics: Something “noo” to help you reach your goals!
What is a nootropic? The word derives from the Greek word noos, which translates roughly to “mind.” Nootropic is a general term for a class of chemicals — some naturally-occurring, some man-made — that offer cognitive benefits to the human brain.
To qualify as a nootropic a compound must be only beneficial, non-toxic and follow the hippocratic decree to “do no harm.”
Unlike some media representations (remember the Limitless movie?), nootropics will not give you superpowers… But they can enhance your mental strength and staying power — making you more alert and focused without the side effects associated with better-known stimulant chemicals, like the ever-popular standby, caffeine.
(While definitely a “cognitive enhancer,” caffeine doesn’t qualify as a nootropic because of its negative side effects — the potential for tolerance build up and the post caffeine “crash.”)
Nootropics are best known for improving mental clarity and focus, improving short-term and long-term memory and boosting mood.
Recent research has shown that some nootropics may also provide physical benefits as a nice bonus to their cognition enhancing qualities. These “smart drugs” also facilitate the body’s metabolic processes related to the production of new tissues and the release of energy from food and fat stores.
Here’s how the physical-cognitive double-whammy works: Increased blood flow and glucose traveling to the brain are boosts to cognition — but they also promote the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s intracellular fuel. More fuel means more energy. Studies indicate that this energy boost can result in increased physical activity and performance and and thus, weight loss.
Try these four nootropics, each of which can give a double-bang for your neurological buck, and work through that list of 2016 Resolutions.
- Alpha GPC is a choline-containing supplement that in higher doses than achieved through natural food sources (like eating eggs and liver) has been linked to increased fat oxidation and muscle gains.
- Research indicates that most people do not get adequate levels of choline in their diet.
- Choline aids the transport of dietary fats throughout the body to your cells where they can be burned for energy. Alpha GPC is a more bioavailable form of the substance, making it easier for you to reach your healthy New Year’s goal.
- An amino acid like substance found in food (meat, poultry, fish and dairy) and made by your body to convert long chain fatty acids into energy.
- L-carnitine is depleted through even moderate exercise, found to be particularly low in vegetarians, plus aging in general decreases the enzymatic processes that promote energy transfer and fat oxidation.
- L-carnitine has been shown to promote the uptake of fatty acids into your cell mitochondria so that you get more of your energy by burning stored fats.
- A plant based, natural source of L-Dopa — a precursor to dopamine, that lovely neurotransmitter in our brains that motivates us to “do” (and enjoy doing) life.
- Dopamine, typically recognized for increasing mental alertness, also possesses antioxidant properties and increases levels of human growth hormone, crucial to protein synthesis and the development of muscle growth.
- Mucuna Pruriens can increase your levels of dopamine, improve your mood, give you energy to exercise, regulate blood sugar, and lose weight. Plus it can provide an extra fringe benefit — an increased libido!
Rhodiola Rosea see Episode #57
- An adaptogenic herb that acts upon serotonin receptors in the brain. Most known for its stress reducing and mood enhancing qualities.
- Studies show it reduces exercise related fatigue, improves post workout recovery and promotes fatty acid utilization, so you can use those fat stores for energy. It’s also been shown to reduce hunger and/or binge and junk eating.
- It can increase your energy, speed up your exercise related recovery, help you burn fat, all the while making you feel more happy and alert.
Taking nootropics will not magically transform you into a chess champion or an Olympic athlete. Nothing can compensate for poor diet, lack of exercise and sleep deficits.
And while some nootropics have fast-acting (“acute”) effects, many of their best results — like long-term neuroprotection — are not typically immediate, but build gradually.
Achieve Your 2016 Health and Fitness Goal
Move your body regularly, get adequate rest, eat food that your great grandmother would recognize and try one (or all!) of these supplements.
You will be well on your way to reaching your 2016 goal to “Stay Fit and Healthy” (which we all know is really code for “Look Good Naked”).