We all suffer from brain fog occasionally, often when we’re fatigued or stressed, so I wouldn’t worry if this is a rare occurrence. I’d be concerned, however, if this condition happens to you regularly. According to “Brain fog and diet” (Environmental Nutrition, 10/16, p. 3), this condition can occur due to certain behavioral patterns.
The symptoms of brain fog are “difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, fatigue, reduced mental acuity, and a feeling of ‘haziness’ around cognition.” Although there aren’t a slew of scientific studies on the subject, the article explains that certain nutrients foster “brain health and cognition, including B-vitamins, fatty acids, vitamin E, iron and zinc, among others.” Many restrictive eaters only pay attention to calorie, fat or sugar content in foods because they’re focused on weight loss. When this happens, they may miss out on the numerous nutrients that support clear thinking.
Here are some tips to keep your brain healthy:
- “Check for Food Intolerance”: A fuzzy mind is one symptom that may make you suspect that you have a food sensitivity or allergy. If you’re concerned, talk to your doctor about getting tested.
- “Get Enough Iron”: Do you know that the most common nutritional deficiency is “iron-deficiency anemia”? And that one of its symptoms is fatigue? If you’re cutting back on protein which is typically found in “meat, poultry, seafood, dark green leafy vegetables, tofu and beans,” you may be anemic. I was when I was heavily into dieting .
- “Get All of Your B-Vitamins”: Find them in “whole and fortified grains, nuts, seeds and legumes” as well as in “meat, dairy, eggs and fortified meat alternatives and plant-milks.” If you don’t eat these foods often, consider taking a vitamin B supplement.
- “Consume Antioxidants”: “Limited evidence suggests that flavonoid compounds found in plant foods” like “celery, broccoli, and green bell peppers, may improve symptoms.”
- “Even Out Caffeine Intake”: You may rely too much on caffeine to boost your energy.
- “Eat Enough, But Not Too Much”: Undereating (not ingesting enough nutrients) and overeating (because your body puts so much energy into digestion) can lead to fatigue.
- “Get Enough Sleep” and “Limit Stress”: These are lifestyle changes which are not as difficult to make as you might think.
Avoiding brain fog is just one more way to take care of yourself. Your brain will only function at its best if you take good care of it. This is especially true as we grow older. Think: healthy body, healthy brain and a clear, focused mind.