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Diet and Other Factors that Influence Intelligence  RSS feed

 
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I decided to search out the plant food diets of several tribes that were mentioned. It seems that they all had many plants that were used for both food and medicine. The link is for plant foods of the Masai.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1475560/

There are lists for the plant foods of just about every group of people imaginable, including the Plains Indians. So, while meat was an important part of their diets, plants were certainly eaten, long before they came into contact with Europeans.

There was mention of height of various peoples and its relationship to a high meat diet. The Dinka are probably the tallest people in Africa, with the average man coming in just under 6 ft tall. Not the Giants of 1930s story books. The Tutsi or Watusi, are about the same height. Both groups have plenty of plants in their diets. The Dutch are taller, and the Masai are shorter.

The Masai are cattle herders, and gave up much of their hunting and gathering ways, long ago. It's quite likely that 2000 years ago, they ate a much wider variety of food.

If we were looking for people in Africa with the most traditional diet, it would probably be the pygmies who live in dense forests. They generally do not cultivate crops, so they're not living on maize and sugarcane. The list of food that they consume is very large, and consists of both plants and animals.

I'm not proposing to this diet is a good or bad idea.  Just clarifying that the tribes mentioned, do in fact consume plant material, and they have always done so, so far as we know. Some, particularly herders of Africa, gave up hunting and gathering long ago, and developed high meat diets, based on available  supply, from their herds.



I know some people consider this to be 'racist' but studies of intelligence have shown some pretty low average IQ scores from the African nations.  I don't know what all factors into that (IQ scores of American Blacks are also lower than average, on a modern American diet), but I do wonder if we might want to do more research before adopting their diet wholesale.  (We have contacts in Kenya, and there -- and probably in other African nations -- the diet for poor people seems to be mostly starches, corn, cassava, yams, rice, etc.  So that undoubtedly has some effect on the overall scores.)

Kathleen
 
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The only Masai that were carnivores are the warrior caste, the ones who need to be smartest and strongest and fastest.  They save the superior nutrition for the people who need it the most.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Matt Walker wrote:The only Masai that were carnivores are the warrior caste, the ones who need to be smartest and strongest and fastest.  They save the superior nutrition for the people who need it the most.



That goes along with my thoughts, that the diet high in carbs does limit intelligence. 

 
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
I know some people consider this to be 'racist' but studies of intelligence have shown some pretty low average IQ scores from the African nations.  I don't know what all factors into that (IQ scores of American Blacks are also lower than average, on a modern American diet), but I do wonder if we might want to do more research before adopting their diet wholesale.  (We have contacts in Kenya, and there -- and probably in other African nations -- the diet for poor people seems to be mostly starches, corn, cassava, yams, rice, etc.  So that undoubtedly has some effect on the overall scores.)
Kathleen



I find it interesting that diet is used as a possible intelligence indicator.   In the 19th century, they measured the sizes of skulls.

In the 19th century, the British used craniometry to justify policies toward the Irish and black Africans,
whom the British considered to be inferior races.

Irish skulls were said to have the shape of Cro-Magnon men and were compared to those of apes, proof of their inferiority.
Black Africans were compared to the same standard.

Also,in France, Paul Broca demonstrated that women are  inferior to men because of their smaller crania.
He argued against higher education for women because their puny brains couldn't handle the demands.

In the 20th century, the Nazis used craniometry to distinguish Aryans from non-Aryans.

There seems to be more of a correlation of higher IQ between {any} children who live in "good" neighborhoods who go
to "good" schools where teachers actually teach; and the IQ of those children who live in "bad" neighborhoods who go to schools
to be warehoused for 8 hours to keep them off the streets.

 
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R Jay wrote:

Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
I know some people consider this to be 'racist' but studies of intelligence have shown some pretty low average IQ scores from the African nations.  I don't know what all factors into that (IQ scores of American Blacks are also lower than average, on a modern American diet), but I do wonder if we might want to do more research before adopting their diet wholesale.  (We have contacts in Kenya, and there -- and probably in other African nations -- the diet for poor people seems to be mostly starches, corn, cassava, yams, rice, etc.  So that undoubtedly has some effect on the overall scores.)
Kathleen



I find it interesting that diet is used as a possible intelligence indicator.   In the 19th century, they measured the sizes of skulls.

In the 19th century, the British used craniometry to justify policies toward the Irish and black Africans,
whom the British considered to be inferior races.

Irish skulls were said to have the shape of Cro-Magnon men and were compared to those of apes, proof of their inferiority.
Black Africans were compared to the same standard.

Also,in France, Paul Broca demonstrated that women are  inferior to men because of their smaller crania.
He argued against higher education for women because their puny brains couldn't handle the demands.

In the 20th century, the Nazis used craniometry to distinguish Aryans from non-Aryans.

There seems to be more of a correlation of higher IQ between {any} children who live in "good" neighborhoods who go
to "good" schools where teachers actually teach; and the IQ of those children who live in "bad" neighborhoods who go to schools
to be warehoused for 8 hours to keep them off the streets.


The IQ is very much a cultural measurement which measures some qualities that are appreciated and encouraged in our westerm culture. But even saying that - most of the "science" into IQ and "race" have only measured African Americans and extrapolated that "evidence" to applied to Africans, since they are supposedly that same "race" (yes "race" bc. there aren't any, we belong to the human race). Problem is that there is a strong case for claiming that African Americans are mixed "race - the racist laws under Jim Crow would make anyone black if they had just 1/8 or less "negro blood" in their veins (e.g.. Obama is considered black even though he is just as much white as he is black and grew up in a white culture), and the culture and abuse that African Americans have suffered in the US have generated a collective trauma that still plays out in families - and then the fact that more African Americans eat a poorer diet and go to inner city schools skews the picture entirely.

In Europe you can meet many many Nigerians at Technical Universities - and they are super smart, and do very well at these schools. In fact the only place I see this racial bias playing out in Europe is in the UK, and even there is it not even close to how it looks in the US (but all over Europe you can see the same picture play out in Arabian families for many of the same reasons - and it was the Arabians who invented math and brought it to Europe). So no - there is no scientific proof that Africans have a lower IQ than other "races.

Saying that I do believe that the nutrition a child receives in infancy very much does affect the development of the brain - including IQ and motor skills, and breast milk is very high in cholesterol. But it also has the highest content of lactose of any mamal, so it would seem that nature believes that sugar is in some way necessary for the developing brain.
 
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Hi all! I split this off to the cider press (and gave R jay an apple so he'd have enough to post). This was getting a little off topic for the all-meat diet thread, and I feared it might end up being too tempting for a troll to avoid posting on. So, it's in the Cider Press, to keep those trolls out.

I also find this topic fascinating, especially since, as an educator, IQ tests are something I've thought an researched a lot about. They are in many, many ways flawed. If, for example, the IQ question is, "How many dollars does it take to buy a video game if there's a 20% discount on it." Someone who has experience buying things on sale, is going to have a much easier--and quicker--time answering this, because they've answered the question multiple times before. Someone who's never seen a video game, or seen things "on sale" because items are usually bartered, is going to take a minute to deal with a foreign word, as well as try to determine what "sale" means. Someone who's not as proficient in the language the test is given, is going to have a very hard time. In the end, the test doesn't test their intelligence, as there are so many other variables. Early IQ tests were even more flawed than this example, and were often given to immigrants at Ellis Island.

And, of course, the stress that those who are poor are under when taking a test--due to hardships, home troubles, hunger, tiredness, etc--make test even more flawed. Nutrition also plays a big part, as you've all mentioned!

I should, hopefully, still have some spiffy text books from my college years that have excerpts of old IQ tests. I'll see if I can find them for you all!
 
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Thanks Nicole. I did not want to reply in the other thread....
I do believe in nutrition and other factors, and I do not believe in genetics that much!

Am I enough of a case for this? Let's see... I am part of the high IQ people with poor social skills, though with high human skills... which is not usually differenciated! So of course I have been bullied for the intelligence and for being undiplomatic and shy.
Cause? I have peri-natal trauma. (It is prenatal and due to chemicals.)
I am not sure in what cases early trauma pushes you toward lower IQ or higher IQ though... What I know for sure (we tend to go and study what we need...) is that early trauma before 6 months of age damages the social part of the vagus nerve, and uses the freezing part as last defense. (The vagus nerves has 2 branches called ventral and dorsal.)

Anyway what I feel for myself, is that as I physiologically lack the right hability to get support, I developped more intellectual skill to get advantages. Let's say as blind people have more facilities to learn Braille! I HAD to develop more intelligence.
- At the same time something blocked the scholar process: I have poor faculties to resist social stress, and being brilliant was removing from me the minimum social support I craved for.
- At the same time, the faculty to dissociate as a defense when you cannot fight and flight, made me develop undertandings that are beyond words: capacities with animals and contact with nature.

When I stopped pedagogy oriented and animal and nature oriented self-employed work (of course for health reasons linked to stress), I had tests at the unemployed bureau, to help me reorient. The guy had great fun and me too, as those tests were a pleasure to surf on! His conclusion: I did not have diplomas at the level of the work I deserved. I was also told to take the tests for detecting over-gifted persons, and that the discrepency in thinking could explain being socially awkward. (now I know the cause to effect link is there, but the reverse)

I failed the test of very little, and I think I did it on purpose, because I went there after sleeping too little and tired. And to add to what can flaw a test: I instinctively divided my time for the questions according to the length of the test, but I did not look good, and i went slowly through it thinking there was a lot of time for it, and then saw I missed 1/3 and went through rushing! So I was told I was not part of the 5%, but of the next 5%.

So I can add 2 reasons for not being at your best levels for IQ tests: 1) being tired or whatever this day - mistakes. 2) Having unconscious social reasons to not want to be part of a little group instead of a big group of people. Many group of people in the world, culturally, think that if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, be with your group, and they value social support and social engagement. I do too, but I manage with the early trauma that is damaging to this. I did not get the group / relationship support I needed to heal this. There is something cultural to it, because I am very able to give this individually, but I can feel as it is socially SHAMING people. We fail to know up to what point it is needed to surf the everyday waves going up and down. I can tell from experience that animals do this very well!
 
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What a neat topic! I think diet does play a role in brain function. I’ll use myself for example. I want to make it clear that I’m not mensa material by any means, but I also don’t think I’m dumb. 10 years ago, I had a lousy american diet and still smoked cigarettes and drank. I was aware enough of food quality and health to not drink soda pop or eat at fast food chains, but I still ate crap, like standard frozen grocery store fare, processed foods, food in boxes, etc. Now, I have long since quit smoking, drinking, and I am very conscious of what I eat. My diet consists of as much clean, or “organic” if you will, vegetables from my garden and the farmers market, meats from local farms, and I literally only drink water, tea and juice now, with my juice consumption being sparse. I do take a multivitamin with breakfast.

Just recently, in the last year or so, I’ve noticed a mental clarity I’ve never had before. I can think and focus clearly like never before in my life. I used to *always* have songs stuck in my head which interfered with my ability to focus (that was frustrating), now I occasionally do get a song in my head, and those subside when I use my brain to read, problem solve, perform tasks, etc. For the first time in my life, I can sit still, close my eyes, and literally think about nothing, almost turning off my mind and briefly having this state of serene stillness. I still find this a little strange as I’ve never experienced this before in my life. I attribute my newfound clarity of mind to removing crap from my diet, and giving my body the proper nutrition with the vitamins and minerals it craves. I didn’t set out to with a goal to achieve this, this has been a side effect for me from eating right and taking care of myself.

Does diet influence intelligence? Perhaps. Will diet make a person a critical thinker? I’m not sure. I think anyone can become book smart, storing vast quantities of knowledge. We all possess neuroplasticity. It’s the ability for the brain to develop and change throughout life. I’m not claiming food has made me smarter, but I think it certainly has improved my brain function.
 
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James Freyr wrote: I’m not claiming food has made me smarter, but I think it certainly has improved my brain function.



Yeah, I guess I look at this as much from the angle of 'sanity' as from 'intelligence'.   There have been many leaders throughout history who would have penciled out as intelligent who nevertheless possessed questionable sanity.  Irrespective of that particular argument, our minds are 'embodied', and if good nutrition is important for the body then it is likely good for the mind as well.  "Mens sana in corpore sano".
 
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I find it amazing that the discussion of an all meat diet, headed down the road of determining which race is more intelligent than another. I'm definitely sure that there's more variation within races than there are between various groups.

Most of human evolution, happened on the African continent and therefore most genetic splits have happened there. Although there are similarities in appearance, Africa can be probably broken into as many as nine different racial groups. There are people living within a few miles of one another, who are more genetically diverse from one another than a West European is from someone from China.

If we looked all over the planet, to find the person least related to us, for most people, that would be someone in Africa. This includes the majority of people who live in Africa. Bushmen, Pygmies, Nilotes and members of a diverse number Bantu ethno linguistic groups, have vastly different genetic profiles which show long periods of separation. There are groups of Bushman or San, who have been separated from one another for 30,000 years. Until the Bantu expansion, members of the Niger Congo racial group, were confined to West Africa. North Africa has Afro-Asiatic people, who have huge variations amongst themselves.

To lump all Africans or even all sub-Saharan Africans, into one group, completely ignores history and genetics. There is far more genetic diversity there than in all of the rest of the globe combined.
........
There was talk of a high protein diet affecting endurance. This may be true. I'm not a dietitian.

Kenya contains about 49 million people. If you've ever watched long distance races, you may have noticed that about 80% of the world's top distance athletes come from that country. But, they actually come from the Kalenjin tribe, who make up about 10% of the population. So, this small group of 4.9 million people produces most of the world's elite distance athletes. I'd say it's got to be genetic. They are Nilotic people, related to the Masai, Dinka, Luo and others. I haven't been able to find any instance of any Nilote being an elite sprinter.

Back to diet. The Kalenjin have a diet very high in starch.

Since I've got into sports, let's look at sprinters. The vast majority of Olympic winners of the sprinting events, have been of West African origin. This includes those from Jamaica and other places in the Americas, including the United States. Diets are all over the place, depending on the local culture, so again I think it's genetic. I have not been able to find any example of an elite distance athlete from West Africa. So, the results on the playing field seem to correspond with genetic tests that say these folks are not closely related.
.......
Back to the theme of this thread. I'm pretty sure that any sort of deficiency, can cause a difference in intelligence, if children don't get something they need, when they are young. But if there is no deficiency, I can't see a mechanism by which a child's brain would develop differently on a different diet. There have been huge differences in the diets of various groups of people, throughout history, based on available resources. Some of these people have been very closely related to others with a much different diet and some have been distantly related. I have never seen anything that suggests a difference in diet, having a major effect on intelligence of the population.

I've often heard it said that the predator must be smarter than the prey. I suppose that applies sometimes, such as when wolves work together, to bring down a moose. But, people are eaten by crocodiles, and monkeys are eaten by big snakes. I don't think this makes those reptiles smarter. It could happen, that over time, these predators would make the local population of people or monkeys a little smarter, since the bright ones might avoid certain situations. I see that going on with extreme sports in North America. Not sure if it will clean up the gene pool in any way, but it certainly fills the emergency ward.
 
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Dale Hodgins wrote:

Kenya contains about 49 million people. If you've ever watched long distance races, you may have noticed that about 80% of the world's top distance athletes come from that country. But, they actually come from the Kalenjin tribe, who make up about 10% of the population. So, this small group of 4.9 million people produces most of the world's elite distance athletes. I'd say it's got to be genetic. They are Nilotic people, related to the Masai, Dinka, Luo and others. I haven't been able to find any instance of any Nilote being an elite sprinter.

Back to diet. The Kalenjin have a diet very high in starch.

Since I've got into sports, let's look at sprinters. The vast majority of Olympic winners of the sprinting events, have been of West African origin. This includes those from Jamaica and other places in the Americas, including the United States. Diets are all over the place, depending on the local culture, so again I think it's genetic. I have not been able to find any example of an elite distance athlete from West Africa. So, the results on the playing field seem to correspond with genetic tests that say these folks are not closely related.
.......



The phenomena I find interesting in all of this is that anyone can point to examples like this that are clearly true, and no one bats an eye. On the other hand, if a person even suggests that intelligence, like speed or endurance, may be genetic and that certain races have an advantage over other races, that person is very likely to be branded a racist.

My own feeling is that genetics plays a very large role, and diet a pretty minor one in mental prowess . The stereotype of the elite hacker staying up all hours of the night writing code while eating Doritos and drinking mountain dew are true more often than not in my experience.  I also know doctors and lawyers that eat shit food, smoke, and drink too much that are very, very bright people.  I suppose the argument could be made that they would be even brighter if they ate well, but it's a weak argument as far as I'm concerned.
 
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The problem as I see it Tod is that nearly every test I have seen that is supposed to measure intelligence actually measures how much education you have had and/or is cultrally biased . If you can come up with a definition of intelligence that is testable without these issues only then can I think you say what is down to genetics . I look forward to such a test.
Getting back to diet I am surprised that no one mentioned the ancient Romans as more than one study has noted the prevalence of lead poisoning due to the use of pewter plates and cups , acid wine and lemons plus enjoying the pleasures of rotten fish guts :-) not a diet for me :-)

David
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Maybe my post was not understood, because the theme of the reaction of the autonomic nervous system in not known enough! Then some of the next posts mention some traumatic events, or predators and preys... but you develop intelligence same as blinds develop touch: NEED. I developped intelligence where others might have developped deficiency! This was adaptative. If you do not recover from trauma, you can die, if not, you can get stronger, at least for certain parts of you....

Same as plant or animals! You get either shut down or you react and thrive! It depends on the resilience, on the resources, on the support...

If many kenyan from the same tribe win marathon, it isnot a proof of it being genetic only, as we are as much our genetic as the result of our story of stimulations versus drawbacks. Too much stimulation ruins you. Not enough leave you sleeping, and just enough makes you thrive!
 
R Jay
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Nicole Alderman wrote:Hi all! I split this off to the Cider Press (and gave R jay an apple so he'd have enough to post). This was getting a little off topic for the all-meat diet thread, and I feared it might end up being too tempting for a troll to avoid posting on. So, it's in the Cider Press, to keep those trolls out.



Thanks for the apple, Nicole.

Even though the initial intent of the post was about acellular agriculture...also can be called lab-produced protein,
clean meat, cultured meat......and whether since no harm supposedly comes to the donor animals this would be
considered "vegan".

Since I would describe myself as an omnivore, my understanding of vegan morality is limited.  The comment
about people using their own cells as a form of "cannibalism" could be described as maybe being "out there",
yet the same could be said 30 years ago about in vitro fertilization.  Alvin Toffler, in his book "Future Shock",
described the technological ability of members of society to split off into infinite sub-groups with their own
specific beliefs and philosophies, that anything is possible.....

The problem with using genetics to describe the IQ levels and to label races accordingly is described  as
"racist" when the actual definition is more of a "gross exaggeration".  Especially in a "primitive" society,
strength,speed, and agility would be attributes more likely to be valued and passed on thru the generations.

Wouldn't this make the genetic code,whatever it may be for brain development, a "recessive" gene that is
passed along by specific individuals to their progeny {and not necessarily to all of their progeny--only some
of them}??    



 
Todd Parr
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:Maybe my post was not understood, because the theme of the reaction of the autonomic nervous system in not known enough! Then some of the next posts mention some traumatic events, or predators and preys... but you develop intelligence same as blinds develop touch: NEED. I developped intelligence where others might have developped deficiency! This was adaptative. If you do not recover from trauma, you can die, if not, you can get stronger, at least for certain parts of you....

Same as plant or animals! You get either shut down or you react and thrive! It depends on the resilience, on the resources, on the support...

If many kenyan from the same tribe win marathon, it isnot a proof of it being genetic only, as we are as much our genetic as the result of our story of stimulations versus drawbacks. Too much stimulation ruins you. Not enough leave you sleeping, and just enough makes you thrive!



So, your contention is that the one tribe that overwhelming wins the distance races in the Olympics all have a greater need to run long distances than any other group of people in the world?
 
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It has been claimed that Blueberries help a person remember better.

For whatever reason, my second daughter loved blueberry juice, so from infancy until age 4 organic blueberry juice was her preferred drink of choice. Today, at age 11, she can recall things that we forget about, and she was age 2-1/2 or so when they happened. She constantly amazes us by recalling events from long ago.

Maybe it is just a coincidence, but her memory is superior (and no this is not just a proud Dad bragging).

...

Funny thing: A guy from Washington County Maine; the blueberry capital of the USA, wanted to test blueberries for how good they are for you, but needed a flat of blueberries. To his shock, none of the big producers would give him even one flat. In the end he had to get a flat from a guy who only had 2-3 acres of them. Now by big producers I means 14,000 acres of them big! So he had them tested and they determined they were not only good for a person, they were REALLY good for you. Now those same blueberry giants have it printed all over their boxes, but they were too cheap to even give one flat away. What is one measly flat of blueberries when you have 14,000 acres of them?
 
Todd Parr
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David Livingston wrote:The problem as I see it Tod is that nearly every test I have seen that is supposed to measure intelligence actually measures how much education you have had and/or is cultrally biased . If you can come up with a definition of intelligence that is testable without these issues only then can I think you say what is down to genetics . I look forward to such a test.
Getting back to diet I am surprised that no one mentioned the ancient Romans as more than one study has noted the prevalence of lead poisoning due to the use of pewter plates and cups , acid wine and lemons plus enjoying the pleasures of rotten fish guts :-) not a diet for me :-)

David



According to all literature I have read about it, your IQ doesn't change throughout your life. That would lead me to believe that education doesn't play a large role in the results of intelligence testing. As far as cultural concerns about testing, and many of the other criticisms, books like The Bell Curve delve into it in much more detail that I could in a thread on a forum.  Sam Harris has a good YouTube video about race and IQ as well.

To address your point about the problems of testing fairly for intelligence, let's assume they are absolutely true and no good test for intelligence exists. Would that mean that because physical attributes are easier to test for, that they are more likely to be genetic than traits like intelligence, or would you say that it is just as likely that intelligence and physical traits are both eqally influenced by genetics?
 
Dale Hodgins
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Here's another little tidbit concerning athletic prowess. The country of Iceland, contains approximately 335,000 people. Roughly the same as Greater Victoria, where I live. In the last 50 years, an Icelandic man has held the title of world strongman about half of the time. That's those contests where they lift cars and roll big tractor tires, and place large stones on a plinth. There is certainly a cultural component, with almost every young Icelandic male, being exposed to the idea of doing this. But, with such a small pool, I have to think that these folks are better designed for heavy lifting. The fellow who is well designed for this, is unlikely to win any sort of running race.

Another interesting thing about that population, is that they are one of the most inbred on Earth, yet they don't seem to suffer from the various maladies that often affect those who are inbred. It's been postulated that because of the harsh environment, the weak died out. The Norse religion celebrated strength and punished weakness. This probably affected the chances of survival, for anyone born with a mental or physical disadvantage.

Back to lifting. There are other clusters of people around the world, who are very good at this. Iran and Bulgaria, contain groups of people who are naturally gifted, due to build and muscle type. But these places aren't as wealthy as Iceland. With less leisure time and disposable income, not everyone can pursue their interest to the same degree.

Certain sports really favor those from a high socioeconomic class. Figure skating and equestrian sports, are expensive to pursue. One of the number-one predictors, for whether or not a promising young person, will go on to represent their country, is family income. Ice time, horses and private coaches are expensive. The sport of football, which North Americans call soccer, is comparatively cheap to get into. Many Brazilians of modest beginnings, have become elite soccer / football players.
..........
I suspect that lack of opportunity, is the number one factor which differentiates various groups, when IQ tests are given.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Todd Parr wrote:So, your contention is that the one tribe that overwhelming wins the distance races in the Olympics all have a greater need to run long distances than any other group of people in the world?


I think it is a little more complex than this....
- About need: I do use "need" to maintain myself, for example the steep place where I live. For motivation, yes it works.
Those Kenyans have a very particular advantageous body proportions I was said... this part is genetic. Which means it comes from the needs of their ancesters!
Children education also has to do with challenges and overcoming increasing difficulties : too much and you are discouraged, not enough and you rest in your hammock!

If people accept to review the definition of trauma, this is what increases all RESSOURCES, including intelligence.
We even build more muscles when they are a bit traumatised. But too much trauma on the muscles is called injury... the limit is sometimes thin....

So we have a see-saw balance! Some genetic features will predispose you to one activity or anothers. But there is another balance that is forgotten. We know that selection will kill the weakest, but we forget the balance! What happen to the ones who are not killed? They thrive exponentially more. Because resilience is increased through self-regulation and social support. There is a transformation that is also known under the allegory of alchimy.

- Then It is not only "running long distance".
There is a new mexican amazing long-distance runner woman, native from the mountains, working with sheep there, and she wins running in sandals and skirt... She just uses the oportunities to make a better living, while using the capacities given by her everyday life! I have run long distance, and it also has to do with the mind, well, at physiological level of the mind! You need a certain capacity to dissociate and come back in the body. This capacity is taught to us by getting through traumas. It is the mild equivalent of the transformations lived after NDE (which is one of the biggest dissociation ever)

- Then I have learned that genetics seems to be more flexible than thought before... Genes are expressed or are not, and they can express and then get to sleep too. And one thing is known to change gene expression, and it is also trauma! And recovery from trauma... But the main part is that genetics is influenced by life and that there might not be such dramatic cut between nature and culture! It is has been proved also that trauma can change genes expression, and that this is transmitted genetically to children. The most extraordinary I read was about a japaneese team who proved that healing the trauma of a grand-mother changed the genetics expression of her grand-daughter ...who was already born!

So my main contention is that trauma, accidents, strains in general, are overlooked...
Just look at plants likings and ways, and you will see the big influence of trauma and environment on them! They have more or less resilience, and their diet is also a big part of their resistance and adaptation. But the best diet and conditions are not the only good points. Adversity is also a big part of the intelligent adaptation in nature. Plants from desert, water-wise plants, are proving the genius of having to face problems! But if you face too much, or too early and without enough progressive adaptation... plant or human, you might fail. The process of hardening a plant coming out of the best winterhouse conditions are the proof of this process: give more and more challenge, but let time to respond to it.

And as intelligence was the basic theme, I explained how I viewed my own story about intelligence as a consequence of a very early trauma, though for some persons the result could have been less intelligence and more of something else to cope with the issue... I have always seen the biggest qualities of people, and plants too, as coming from their hard work to overcome some traumas (trauma in a very extended meaning, and if there is some healing). We can get big presents from our traumas! (written on the simbolic day of reyes magos, los que traen regalos a los niños españoles!)
 
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Some people are smarter than me, and some people aren't.  I think it comes down to genetics, and culture. I think that intelligence is genetic, but the ability to use that intelligence effectively is highly culturally influenced.  As an example: a child raised in a severe abusive place might not display much intelligence when he or she is first rescued from that situation, but when put in a nurturing environment, the intelligence is given the proper ground to reach it's potential to flower.  With a safe and non abusive environment, and proper teachers and guidance, the potential is very high; without it, the child would likely not grow up to use it's intelligence in the same way---certainly not in a way that could be measured well by an IQ test designed by the affluent elite.   
 
John Weiland
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Xisca Nicolas wrote: We know that selection will kill the weakest, but we forget the balance! What happen to the ones who are not killed? They thrive exponentially more. Because resilience is increased through self-regulation and social support.

It is has been proved also that trauma can change genes, and that this is transmitted genetically to children. The most extraordinary I read was about a japaneese team who proved that healing the trauma of a grand-mother changed the genetics of her grans-daughter ...who was already born!



One aspect that is often forgotten with regard to 'selection' is the fact that it operates on populations as well as individuals.  Thus, a person may, as an individual, be 'unfit' in a certain environment and would not thrive if left alone to the elements.  Yet that same person may offer "insight"....or other benefits to the tribe/population that are complemented by "hunting acumen", or "nurturing traits" in others.  Depending on the size of the population and reproductive characteristics, Homo sapiens has proved to be remarkably adaptable.....that adaptability is more a population effect than an individual one.  And a host of things from physiology through physical features will be influenced, in a population way, as populations will, or need to, migrate into new environments.  I think the term "intelligence" as used here....and already addressed by others....is a rather arbitrary measuring stick, more laden with the value of the culture that came up with the term.

Just a clarification on the "trauma can change genes" notion....perhaps a bit nit-picky....but genes tend not to change:  Their expression, however, *can* change, and in fascinating ways, on account of prior stress.  It's been well documented that genetically-similar rat pups exposed, in parallel, to nurturing and non-nurturing paradigms will develop different states of methylation ...... of 'epigenetic modification'.... to classes of genes that are involved in stress-responses.  The effect of these modifications is to allow those genes to be expressed at higher or lower levels, depending on the degree of methylation.  These modifications can actually last a lifetime....but amazingly can also be reversed by, as you noted, trauma recovery efforts.  Technically speaking, then, the genes have not changed, but their expression and impact on that individual have.  So this is one more avenue, along with the neuroplasticity of the brain, that allows for change later in life, and often for the better.

Just from personal observation, it's less striking to me the different ways that one may possess or exhibit varying degrees of 'intelligence' as is the evidence, gaining steam, that those shown generosity and compassion pay that forward and outward....indeed, seem confused at any consideration of doing otherwise.  This nurturing is taken in during development in all forms:  Nutritious food, concerned compassionate parenting, and counsel that teaches the world as a place of balance, not just something "red in tooth and claw" to be feared.   Often, the outcome of this on a community level is a form of 'intelligence' not easily measured by the standard metrics.

See the following for more on epigenetics, both the pros and cons of the debate: https://discoversociety.org/2016/07/05/epigenetics-rats-and-foetal-programming-making-the-good-enough-21st-century-mother/
 
David Livingston
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Tod
I can only go on my own personal experiance , when I was ten years old I took an IQ test along with everyone else called the 11plus this was to decide if I should attend an academic school ( known  as a grammar school ) or not so academic school ( technical or secondary modern ) for six months before we all practiced for this IQ test . I failed this exam but still managed to go to university as I improved in my teenage years others who passed this exam failed to get the required grades for uni . Are you saying my IQ stayed the same or the tests were flawed :-)

David
 
David Livingston
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Since it is becoming obvious that we cannot all agree on how to measure intelligence or even what intelligence is how about we discuss how diet can effect behavior ?

David
 
Xisca Nicolas
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David Livingston wrote: how about we discuss how diet can effect behavior ?


The starting point with Matt Walker is that an unsuitable diet is a source of trauma, up to the point to make you bleed, and up to the point to make you depressed....
And when you solve the trauma by avoiding the traumatic factor, for you, you can heal and thrive!

John Weiland wrote:Just a clarification on the "trauma can change genes" notion.... but genes tend not to change:  Their expression, however, *can* change, and in fascinating ways, on account of prior stress.  These modifications can actually last a lifetime....but amazingly can also be reversed by, as you noted, trauma recovery efforts.  Technically speaking, then, the genes have not changed, but their expression and impact on that individual have.


As I was speaking of expression just before, sorry for the short-cut I made, and I corrected myself as you are right I went out of the clearness in my writing! Working on our traumas recoveries, if we drop the shame put on an excessive meaning on the word trauma, is key to this world's recovery! Not recognizing trauma is what leads to traumatizing the earth and plants, and not giving the right food to our food! It can be feeding grains to cows instead of grass, of feeding non organic fertilizers to our plants, we just do not put enough importance on traumatic issues, because we first do not want to look at our personal traumas! We have learned to "keep the chin up and go on". All stress must be processed, and as an amimal behaviorist, I can tell you that even dogs do, 20 times a day if necessary... They regulate each and every encounter with another fellow, and every shock/accident they have. Most humans do not. So we do not bother for other forms of life what we do not bother about for ourselves! I really think permaculture needs to considere this aspect more! Actually it does, but without putting the word, so without enough awareness of it.

John Weiland wrote:Generosity and compassion ...  nurturing .... concerned compassionate parenting, and counsel that teaches the world as a place of balance, not just something "red in tooth and claw" to be feared.   Often, the outcome of this on a community level is a form of 'intelligence' not easily measured by the standard metrics.


Yes, that's it, I agree. All this compassion is what helps us deal with the paralysing effects of traumatic events. And this is explained at the level of the autonomic nervous system, ANS. Your words I selected for quote are coming from the action of the ventral branch of the vagus nerve, if you look at the poly-vagal theory from Stephen Porges. This is what helps the system process the effect of shut-down in the dorsal branch of the vagus nerve. We identify traumatic events with a list of very highly traumatic events, and under a certain threashold, we refuse to admit that this is part of trauma as well, for shame and cultural reasons. But "more hot" is not only 10 º more! 1/2º more is also hotter.

Even our technical form of intelligence has the purpose of making us live with less chance of accident and more chance of survival, but yes I agree it takes various forms, all under the spectrum of the word intelligence.

Roberto pokachinni wrote:I think that intelligence is genetic, but the ability to use that intelligence effectively is highly culturally influenced.    


I think culture is what we can influate on, to a point where it becomes superfluous to take genetics into account... We would not have arrived at GMO plants if we were thinking about the importance of "culture"!

Growth needs enough challenge, and not too much.

Roberto pokachinni wrote: a child raised in a severe abusive place might not display much intelligence when he or she is first rescued from that situation ... the child would likely not grow up to use it's intelligence in the same way---certainly not in a way that could be measured well by an IQ test designed by the affluent elite.   


There will be some intelligence: the one needed to cope with the type of stress that is met! Another aspect is the support one gets to cope with any stressor. I know people who went out stronger from abusive situations with their parents, and I have noted a common point they have: a super supportive grand-mother or grand-father!

As an example, you see you first think about "severe abuse". But tonsilectomy is a not so well known cause of difficulty later in life! And when the abuse is not strong, instead of supporting, we tell people that they should forget and go on with life.... But accumulation of small not-considered-traumas can lead to the same effect as big unique traumas.

...

Another point: many "good" educations include shaming. When it is done "well enough" so that people do not collapse but go on "chin up", it gives for example as a result some upper class people who are very good at reproducing this sort of violence and dominate and despise people under them on the ladder... You can identify 5 sort of violence: physical, including the threat of physical violence ; shaming ; guilting ; abandonment ; humiliating / depreciate (either up-price or down-price)

If violence is too much, then the result is less intelligence and less survival skills, as when you have to rescue the child (Roberto's example). If human skills come to the rescue, then all survival skills can start to recover and even thrive more than they would have! Both "enough challenge" and "social support" are keys to make intelligence flower. Too much challenge and lack of social support are what we have to remedy to. This is at work even in plants growth! ..and we generally and socially do not think it is important to focus seriously on this for humans?
 
James Freyr
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David Livingston wrote: how about we discuss how diet can effect behavior ?

David



I have a good one. It’s about the petroleum based synthetic food colors. Several years back when I still listened to the news, I heard a report on NPR about how the FDA has known since the 1960’s a link between synthetic food colors and hyperactivity in children, or what we call ADHD today. The FDA knew that hyperactivity and a lack of ability to pay attention or focus was related to synthetic food colors which had been on the market since the turn of the century but weren’t really common in mainstream food products until the post war era when processed packaged foods became mainstream in America. With bright colors being used in products such as candies and new breakfast cereals for example, mainly aimed at children, the increase in hyperactive children was becoming apparent.

Synthetic food colors are now a known neurotoxin, but according to the FDA, “small amounts are completely safe”. They didn’t set regulations for food colors, but they set recommendations and advise that no person should consume more than 50mg in a day. (that’s the number that sticks in my head from the newscast, it may have changed by now). So here’s a problem with that. A bag of M&M’s contains way more than 50mg, but according to the label on the bag, there’s multiple servings in a bag. Has anyone ever seen a child open a bag of M&M’s, eat a portioned serving, and set the bag down? I haven’t. When I was a kid, I ate the entire bag in one sitting. If we consider how many times a day the average American child consumes food coloring, between the breakfast cereals like froot loops, a bag or two of candy, several soda pops, these children are consuming 5-10x or more of the “recommended daily limit of food color according to the FDA”.

The sad part is the FDA has known about this for 50 years, swept it under the rug in the beginning, but it then was later exposed, and nothing has been done. There’s too much money to be made from hyperactive children. ADHD has practically become an industry, with costly doctor visits, who prescribe drugs like ritalin or amphetamines such as adderall, to treat the symptoms, instead of removing synthetic food color from the market, which would greatly reduce the occurrences of kids with ADHD. In the report I listened to, the FDA stopped just short of saying that food colors cause ADHD. They said food colors exacerbate the symptoms of children who already have ADHD.
 
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David Livingston wrote:Tod
I can only go on my own personal experiance , when I was ten years old I took an IQ test along with everyone else called the 11plus this was to decide if I should attend an academic school ( known  as a grammar school ) or not so academic school ( technical or secondary modern ) for six months before we all practiced for this IQ test . I failed this exam but still managed to go to university as I improved in my teenage years others who passed this exam failed to get the required grades for uni . Are you saying my IQ stayed the same or the tests were flawed :-)

David



I took two IQ tests when I was 10 or so I had to retake because the school thought I was too thick to have possibly gotten the result I did on the first test, so I did a second one in isolation, I got an even higher score infact I maxed the test out. Now I failed my first attempt at uni and failed most of my A' levels basically because I get bored easily and am lazy. Grades do not directly relate to intelligence, they relate to motivation and desire to get them. One can be very intelligent and a total failure or middle of the road and get a 1st. hard work and dedication pays a much larger part in university grades than inteligence does. Basically all being bright allows me to do it not pay attention and guess answers (I do now have both a degree and a masters)
 
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I agree Skandi.

I was in an experimental class in grade's six and seven, in a public school.  In this class we were mostly allowed to work at our own pace and only had to go to the teacher to show our work and/or if we needed help.

Background:  Because of problems with my leg, I had had to go away to get work done on it many times in my childhood, and as a result I had had to play catch up on some subjects regularly.  Since Mathematics is based on a continuation and building of knowledge, the further result-in my situation-is that I had to really play catch up when I returned to my town/school; I was always behind, and I didn't really care for Math as a result. 

Back to the experimental class:  In this class there was students from grade 5, 6, and 7, all of them were recognized with high potential, but half of the students in each grade had problems with some classes (most of those with problems came from bad home situations).  It was not noticed that I had a problem with math, because I was able to push my way to a 'B' level anyway, despite struggling and hating it.  In the class, I just went to the back of the text and wrote the answers down, and handed them in.  I virtually did no math for two years!  This was partly because I hated math, but also because, like Skandi, I was lazy.  I would much rather get onto my art, writing, computer (we were the only class with a computer), or science, which were vastly more fun.  I tutored two struggling students in spelling and grammar, and was recognized as one of the top students int he class. 

Then came time to write our entrance exams to get into high school.  The exam, however, was all based on logic, story problems, practical application--not theory.  I aced it, and they placed me in the top classes, including Math.  Fuck.  I was completely lost.  I struggled and failed my first term alone and ashamed.  Fortunately I had an amazing Math 8-1 teacher who took me aside and asked me how it was that I did so well on the entrance test and yet am doing so poorly with the direct concepts and was actually clueless about certain topics, and I confessed to him what the problem was.  I ended up with him during lunch for half of my lunch and after school for a half hour twice a week, and we managed to get me back up to level with the others.  He was also an incredible Physical Education teacher.  :)

People often think that I have a degree or two, because I read and write, and am very active in many community groups as a leader, but I only went to college for a year.  It wasn't that I couldn't apply myself, but that I didn't want to apply myself to something that ended up not being the direction I wanted to go in.  I was indecisive, and didn't know what I wanted to do when I grew up.   Still struggle with that one at 48, though I am leaning a bit toward permaculture.  :)
 
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I think a lot of very intelligent people struggle with traditional school, because we get bored.  I'm not genius level (scored 122 when I was a kid, and about that on tests I've taken as an adult), but my mother is, and my ex, and probably both of my brothers.  All of us struggled with traditional classroom schools, I almost dropped out because I was bored (I would take all of my books home the first day of school, read them that night, do zero or almost zero work the rest of the year and ace all the tests) and both of my brothers did drop out, when they were only fourteen and fifteen.  And they got men's jobs in a remote logging camp in Alaska where our Dad worked, and made men's wages starting from fourteen and fifteen (couldn't do that now -- this was about 1972 or 1973).  They had something real to do, they were active, outdoors, and busy.  The older of my brothers built a steel lowboy trailer from scratch just by having another one to look at while he was working there at the logging camp. 

Pretty much anyone with a high IQ has a similar story, I imagine.  Home-schooling is a good thing for these children.

Kathleen
 
Todd Parr
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David Livingston wrote:Tod
I can only go on my own personal experiance , when I was ten years old I took an IQ test along with everyone else called the 11plus this was to decide if I should attend an academic school ( known  as a grammar school ) or not so academic school ( technical or secondary modern ) for six months before we all practiced for this IQ test . I failed this exam but still managed to go to university as I improved in my teenage years others who passed this exam failed to get the required grades for uni . Are you saying my IQ stayed the same or the tests were flawed :-)

David



David, In answer to your question, I do think your IQ stayed the same, and I can't tell you either way if the test was flawed.  I think lots of people are touching on something very important in this thread, and I think that's awesome.   The critical thing here is that, while I believe intelligence is largely genetic, and is an extremely helpful thing to have with regards to achievements in life, it's certainly not the only factor.  I have seen many, many highly intelligent people that didn't accomplish a lot, and just as many that weren't as intelligent that accomplished a great deal by hard work, drive, and dedication.  Chalk my name to the list of people that were very bad students.  Subjects I like I can really excel in.  Try and teach me something I don't care about and the results are much less satisfactory.  Skandi's post sounds like it could have been written by me, and our experiences echo one another.
 
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Just gonna leave this here...

 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Todd Parr wrote:

David Livingston wrote:Tod
I can only go on my own personal experiance , when I was ten years old I took an IQ test along with everyone else called the 11plus this was to decide if I should attend an academic school ( known  as a grammar school ) or not so academic school ( technical or secondary modern ) for six months before we all practiced for this IQ test . I failed this exam but still managed to go to university as I improved in my teenage years others who passed this exam failed to get the required grades for uni . Are you saying my IQ stayed the same or the tests were flawed :-)

David



David, In answer to your question, I do think your IQ stayed the same, and I can't tell you either way if the test was flawed.  I think lots of people are touching on something very important in this thread, and I think that's awesome.   The critical thing here is that, while I believe intelligence is largely genetic, and is an extremely helpful thing to have with regards to achievements in life, it's certainly not the only factor.  I have seen many, many highly intelligent people that didn't accomplish a lot, and just as many that weren't as intelligent that accomplished a great deal by hard work, drive, and dedication.  Chalk my name to the list of people that were very bad students.  Subjects I like I can really excel in.  Try and teach me something I don't care about and the results are much less satisfactory.  Skandi's post sounds like it could have been written by me, and our experiences echo one another.



I totally agree that IQ level is not the most important factor.  Work ethic and character count for far more than IQ.  There are some very bad people who have really high IQ's, and as you mentioned, not everyone with a high IQ achieves a lot in life (though I personally think that achieving happiness and contentment is sufficient -- I've never felt the need to push for high achievements for their own sake, so I guess I'm not a driven type of person).  And there are people with low IQ's who have good character and are wonderful people.  When I started the conversation, I was just curious about any possible connection between diet and intelligence, since we know that diet definitely affects health.

Kathleen
 
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Water/Calorie Malnutrition
Obviously if you are sleep/water/food deprived. Your reaction time and reasoning skills will be affected.
So if one were to live in a near constant state of starvation or thirst or sleep deprivation, I can easily see said person operating at lower than optimal levels.

Mineral/Vitamin Malnutrition
The above was very obvious, but maybe someone is getting enough calories and so they are technically not starving but maybe they are not getting enough minerals/vitamins all the essential amino acids/etc, they too would be operating at less than optimal levels which would influence their rate of learning, mood, infection resistance, growth rate, and so many other things.

Plant Base Neurotransmitter Enhancer and Disruptors 
We all know that there are special herbs/plants/fungi that can help regulate sleep and thus make us operate at more optimal levels during our awake hours.
There are also special herbs/plants/mushroom that can more directly affected our brain (I am looking at you magic mushroom) "negatively" and also those that can affect us positively "micro-dose of LSD". I am pretty sure there is a whole lots of other plant/fungi chemicals that can directly affect our brains.

Sickness (hormones)-Food Interaction
Next we have food that that might exuberance existing sickness and thus make our body/brain work at even more depressed levels.
Say you have low-thyroids and thus low energy and brain function levels and then you ate alot of thyroid depressors (cabbage family.
Or maybe it is histamine or cortisone over sensitivity and you eat a wheat/soy/pear and get a chronic low-grade allergic reaction.

Food -Sickness -Emotional Feedback Loop
We might also have a vicious loop of where someone isn't emotionally well and so they eat/avoid eating to feel better and then, think this is not healthy I am sick/crazy for abusing food/body, which then makes them feel even more emotionally unwell and then they eat/not eat and the cycle continues, so much time and energy is wasted in this cycle that other parts of their life falls apart like friends/family/education(intelligence)/work/etc

Food -Gut Microbe Interaction
There is more and more research pointing to the fact that some food that might not give us much of anything will interact positively or negatively with the microbes in our gut and they will in turn release different sets of hormones, chemical, neurotransmitter that will most certainly affect us, including our intelligence

Current Food need vs future intelligence investment trade off.
Being a High School drop out makes me NOT intelligent and having a PhD makes me intelligent. However if I am in an unstable living condition (war-torn/famine/drought/homeless/orphan/low-income) where I am constantly worrying about more lower level basic needs (water, food, shelter/sleep, family-security, etc) then I and my parents/tribe/community will spend most of our time/mental energy/money and other resources getting right now basic needs and less money investing in school/buying books/etc and less time actually ultilizing the books/computer/school even if one was provided. In fact most likely said opportunity will not be there, I will not have easy access to loans for college, my parents will not be able to help me go to school, maybe culturally as a female/etc I will not even be discoraged/prohibited from going to school/etc
 
S Bengi
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Given my above post how can we optimize these interactions

Water/Calorie Malnutrition
Make sure we get the right amount of calorie per day so that we aren't wasting away or gaining alot of weight
Lets not forget water, it is part of our nutrition/diet and we tend to stick to the bare min requirement of 0.7.5 gallon per day
0.25 from food and 0.50 from 8glass of water , when we can safely drink five gallon.
So why not settle in the middle for 2-4gallon per day, I am sure we have alot of toxins we need to flush out of our body

Mineral/Vitamin Malnutrition
While we might eat enough protien calories we have to make sure that we are also eating enough of each of the 21 essitial amino acids
There are also special type of amino acids that we should probably get more of even if they aren't essitial amino acids
The same goes for fat, not all fatty acids are created equal.
And if we eat too much calories (I am looking at you carbs) our bodies will be force to create un-wanted "bad" fatty acids that will wreak havoc on our body(hormone)
We might also needs some help with enzymes to breakup+absorb the fat/carb/protien.
We also need all the minerals and vitamins in our diet too, and we have to make sure that they are in a bio-available form.
Some our body need to break up into different serving because our uptake system get "tired/overwork" so we cant just eat all 100% in one setting
Some use up the same uptake system and effective block the other if it tires out the uptake system before it get it's chance.
We can also co-op microbes to break apart/chelate/re-arrange/create the vitamins/mineral/protien/fat/carbs in our food. thus tiring out our uptake system per gram of nutrition that we uptake.


Plant Base Neurotransmitter Enhancer and Disruptors
There is such a long list of these herbal/medicinal plants/fungi. Maybe someone will drop a list in another post.
If that were to happen, it would be so awesome a "Limitless" pill/herb/fungi.

Sickness (hormones)-Food Interaction
Mixing up the food species and family that we eat daily so prevent some problems, time function eating so that we dont overwork our body.
Figuring out what food we are allergic to and figure out how to overcome it or avoid, figuring out which food are triggers for us.

Food -Sickness -Emotional Feedback Loop
This might go beyond the scope of just a food/phytochemical discussion, but at the very least eating some healthy food no matter how little will create some feel good emotions, and that is a start

Food -Gut Microbe Interaction
Probiotics Koji/Yogurt/Kefir/etc
Inulin rich food to feed the existing gut microbe
More Fiber
Eating some fermented condiments/food per meal

Current Food need vs future intelligence investment trade off.
This is a hard one, because alot of it is based on really big external/cultural issues that is causing food insecurities.
This might be something that is more in a zone 6 and other require alot of help from others.
But just know that we are very adaptable, and there are alot of resouces out there, and it is okay to go against the grain at times.
 
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