Brain Fog: does it actually exist
With brain fog, you find that the clear thinking you have always relied on is a little hazier and whilst it may well be a natural response in some circumstances, it is not necessarily a response we can pass off simply due to age.
Essentially brain fog encompasses a number of feelings or symptoms such as:
- Lack of focus
- Lack of mental clarity
- Mental fatigue
- Easily feeling under pressure
- Hesitation when remembering the word you want to use
- Difficulty putting words together
- Feeling less productive than before
Of course, with the fast pace and busy lives many of us lead, it is completely natural to feel mentally exhausted, particularly if you’ve had a long day at work or you’ve had a bad night’s sleep. Indeed, many of the symptoms above can seem very common and ones that we think we simply have to live with. You may even associate this with part of “getting older” or hormone fluctuations such as pre-menstrual syndrome or the menopause?
However, when it becomes chronic and it’s something you live with day to day, it is not something to brush off.
It is a sign that there is a reduction in cognitive function; in other words, there is something affecting the brain’s ability to function and in time, this will inevitably lead to cognitive decline….which you experience as brain fog.
It is not related to mental ability nor is it a sign of lack of intelligence but simply the body’s way to alerting you to an imbalance in the body.
Your brain health is crucial to your overall health and wellbeing. It is probably not surprising that anything that affects your brain function will have an effect on many aspects of your health.
Getting to the root cause and identifying what may be causing brain fog is the first step to restoring your brain health. It is likely that these same root causes are also implicated in many other chronic health problems and this is placing significant stress on the body. For example:
- Hormone imbalances including menopause and diabetes
- Allergies, food intolerances and skin issues
- A diet lacking in nutrients
- Digestive problems including bloating, diarrhoea and constipation
- Low energy, fatigue and lethargy
- Low mood, depression, anxiety
If your brain function is impaired, it will subsequently have a negative effect..it’s that simple. Furthermore, if it’s allowed to continue, the effects will become more pronounced, eventually leading to the development of cognitive diseases such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Can you imagine how much easier and more pleasant your daily life would be if you were firing on all cylinders; feeling alert, energised and motivated?
The good news is that the brain is extremely resilient and receptive to positive changes. Our bodies are incredibly adaptable and the brain is no exception.
Here’s how to combat brain fog, start thinking clearly again and regain the vitality and energy you need to truly thrive day-to-day:
Unsurprisingly, when considering the causes of brain fog, you cannot ignore your diet; eating well is key to providing your body with the full spectrum of nutrients it needs to function optimally. If you still feel lousy and you are confident that your diet is balanced and packed with plenty of fresh vegetables, good fats and healthy grains, then it may be that you need to consider avoiding common foods that are likely to be causing inflammation, which will “drain” your body’s resources as it combats the effects of inflammation and stress. These foods include:
- Refined Sugar
Eat Real Food!
Consider following this simple rule of thumb when it comes to healthy eating… Just Eat Real Food! You’ll be avoiding many nasties such as preservatives, artificial flavourings and damaging compounds that are harmful to your body and brain.
Eat the right foods
Proteins as building blocks
Proteins are the building blocks of neurotransmitters; these are the chemicals that send the messages from the brain to the rest of our body. Without adequate proteins, the production of these neurotransmitters will be compromised.
Keeping inflammation under control is very important and eating more healthy omega-3 fats as natural anti-inflammatories will help to ensure this. These fats are also an essential component of nerve cells and therefore overall cognitive health. Omega 3 fats are found in:
- Oily fish, such as sardines, salmon, herring, mackerel
Eat more vegetables, especially dark green varieties
Eat more chocolate!
Yes, you read correctly but we’re not talking the sweet milk chocolate confectionary, but a good quality dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao solids, with high antioxidant content.
Drink more water
Your brain is made up of 70% water, so it makes sense to ensure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Water is needed to transport nutrients around the body and is essential to virtually every function in the body, down to what’s taking place in individual cells. It’s crucial and a lack of water will leave you feeling lousy.
Get more sleep
Brain fog is more common when you are lacking in sleep. Consider your bedtime routine to ensure that your body can effectively rest and repair overnight. Getting to bed early, without using mobile phones/laptops just before turning the light off will ensure better quality sleep. Ensuring our stress levels are low at night is key, otherwise, our natural circadian rhythm will be disrupted and impair our sleep pattern and quality.
Consider how you exercise
Avoid intense exercise late at night as this will affect cortisol levels, leaving you too wired and alert. Consider a time in the day that you can “rest” your brain. For example, if you’re heading out for a brisk walk, avoid headphones and use the opportunity to focus on deep breathing and clearing your thoughts. Meditation is also very valuable and making the time for this in your busy day will provide some time to recuperate and revive your thoughts.
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