New Study Finds IQs Have Been Falling for Decades

New research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows that peoples’ Intelligent Quotients (IQs) have been falling for the last few decades. What is causing it, and how do we stop this trend?

The researchers assessed the IQs of Norwegian men born between 1962 and 1991. The researchers found that among the men born between 1962 and 1975, there was a nearly three percent increase in IQ each decade but after that there was a steady decline in IQ among men born after 1975.

The researchers indicate that similar declines have been found in Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, and other countries.

What is Causing the IQ Declines?

The scientists attribute the falling IQs to environmental factors, not genetics.

In an interview, lead researcher Ole Rogeberg at Ragnar Frisch Center for Economic Research in Norway bluntly stated: “It’s not that dumb people are having more kids than smart people, to put it crudely. It’s something to do with the environment, because we’re seeing the same differences within families.”

The researchers believe the reason for the intelligence quotient decline has something to do with education, nutrition, media exposure, reading less, and being online more. More research is needed to determine the precise causes.

What Can You Do to Stop the IQ Drop?

Obviously you can take measures to ensure the health of your cognitive abilities and mental prowess by reading more, taking more courses or going back to school, and spending time on educational sites rather than meaningless fluff so often present on the internet.

There’s also a lot you can do to improve your brain health, and therefore your mental capacity by choosing to eat a brain-boosting diet.

You are What You Eat.

When it comes to brain health and maintaining its many mental functions, the old adage “you are what you eat” is particularly true.

Increasingly, brain health, memory, and cognition are being linked with inflammation, so it is key to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet full of brain boosting nutrition to keep your cognitive ability at peak functioning. Foods like meat, dairy, sweets, or packaged and processed foods are full of chemicals, bad oils, and sugar, all of which contribute to inflammation.

The Gut-Brain Axis

Increasingly, research shows that what happens in your gut plays a significant role in brain health. While researchers still don’t know all the mechanisms at work, it seems that beneficial microbes known as probiotics function as antioxidants to destroy brain-damaging free radicals before they can wreak havoc.

Additionally, probiotics have been found to reduce inflammation, both in the gut and elsewhere in the body, which helps to address a key factor in reduced cognitive abilities.

So, how can you improve your gut health to strengthen your mental faculties? Start by eating more plant-based foods since they act as prebiotics, which are the foods for beneficial microbes, causing their numbers to swell.

Add more fermented foods that transform gut health too. They include: sauerkraut, yogurt or vegan yogurt, miso, kimchi, naturally-fermented pickles, etc. Make sure they contain “live cultures” and have not been pasteurized, since pasteurization kills all beneficial microbes in the food.

Add more brain-boosting superfoods to your diet. While there are many great ones, some of the best ones include: apples, berries, cherries, ginger, greens, turmeric, and walnuts. Check out my blog “Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid for a Healthy Brain“ for more information on excellent brain-boosting superfoods.

Related at Care2

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, co-founder of BestPlaceinCanada, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include the vegan cookbook: The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your Life.

Image via Thinkstock.

102 comments

Virgene L
Virgene L1 months ago

I've wondered about this. We seem to be pumping more money into schools, with reduced results. Could some of it be motivation? People aspired to improve themselves and their lot in the past. With regard to food, out food stuffs are so modified and we're exposed to so much BPA and GMO's with residues, it has to be taking a toll. Thanks.

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Tania N
Tania N1 months ago

Thank you.

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Tania N
Tania N1 months ago

Thank you.

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Freya H
Freya H2 months ago

Maybe that's why it's so hard to find new members of Mensa.

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Tom R
Tom R2 months ago

If you're struggling in elementary school academically and high school you're going to have trouble in life.

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Leanne K
Leanne K2 months ago

I was taught that genetics determine your I.Q. You may be better educated but youll never get smarter...

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Tania N
Tania N2 months ago

Thanks for the info.

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Tania N
Tania N2 months ago

Thanks for the info.

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Tania N
Tania N2 months ago

Thanks for the info.

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federico b

Grazie della condivisione

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