How To Beat Brain Fog With Food
Not feeling like yourself, but not quite sure what’s wrong? You don’t feel sick, but you feel… off. It could be brain fog.
Brain fog. It’s that constant feeling of being drained, distracted, moody, or just – ugh. It’s a byproduct of living fast-paced, urban and industrial lives, and we all suffer from it from time to time.
The occasional episode of brain fog doesn’t seem so bad, but for those who feel their days are being consumed with the ailment – it can be detrimental to productivity and happiness.
So what can you do about it?
Unfortunately, brain fog is often self-inflicted. We adopt lifestyles and eating habits that are not conducive for brain health. In fact, many Australians suffer from a deficiency in at least one essential nutrient. In addition to lacking key nutrients, we eat too much sugar, have too much stress, and do not get enough sleep.
And the brain can’t function like that. Our brains need a well-balanced intake of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and relaxation to function properly.
While it’s unfortunate that we are bringing brain fog onto ourselves, the good new is that we can fix it!
If you’ve been experiencing brain fog for a significant amount of time, or have related health concerns, it’s important to see a medical professional so you can get to the bottom of it.
Diet is a key component in brain health and is essential to curing your brain fog woes. To ensure that you are getting the proper nutrients to foster clarity, focus, and happiness, make sure to follow these guidelines:
Avoid Processed Foods
When eating for brain health, it is important to avoid processed foods. While they are often convenient, quick, and inexpensive, processed foods come with a host of unintended side effects and consequences. Brain fog is one of them.
Instead of processed foods, aim for whole foods. You want to target foods that are organic, fresh and local. Generally, if a food comes in a package, it might not be the best option. Spend more time in your produce aisle and learn to make things from scratch – like grandma used to.
Increase Fruit and Vegetable Intake
Fresh produce is key to brain health. The best fruits and vegetables are those that are dark and colourful. For example, choose the rich coloured kale instead of mostly white bok choy.
Foods that have deep, dark reds, yellows, oranges, and greens are more likely to be nutrient rich and contain antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory properties.
Include Healthy Fats
Healthy and fat in the same sentence?! Yes! In fact, your brain consists of 60% fat and needs omega-3’s to function properly. So while you’re doing your grocery shopping, consider these omega-3 rich foods:
- Chia Seeds
Proteins are essential building blocks for muscle. They also support cell activity in the brain. In fact, protein helps brain cells multiply and supports proper hormone balances.
If you want to fight brain fog, you need protein.
You can get protein from foods like:
- Sunflower Seeds
- Dark greens, such as spinach
Healthy Carbs Are Important
While some swear against all carbohydrates, healthy carbs are essential for brain health.
Healthy carbs are founds in fruits and vegetables, but also include foods like yams and grains.
You should still avoid carbohydrates that strip away beneficial fibres and contribute to spikes in blood sugar. Those carbs are found in processed foods like white bread and white rice. If you’re consuming bread or rice, opt for wholemeal/rye and brown rice.
Avoid Brain Poison
Not all poison kills you immediately. Some poisons slowly strip away your cognitive capabilities and cause brain fog. The brain poisons I am talking about are things like:
- Refined sugar
- High-Fructose Corn Syrup
- Trans fat
- Chemical food additives
These components are not foods and serve to disrupt your brain and bodily functions, leading to:
- Lack of concentration
- Lack of motivation
Address Food Allergies and Sensitivities
Consuming things you are allergic to will also work as poison for your brain and body. Make sure to investigate any potential food related allergies or sensitivities you may have. If you discover that you do have an allergy – avoid that food!
Consuming problematic foods can trigger inflammatory reactions that affect nutrient absorption, and lack of nutrients is a key cause of brain fog and other health related issues.
In addition to maintaining a brain-healthy diet, it is important to learn to manage your stress. High amounts of stress can lead to hormone imbalances and cause depression and other forms of anxiety. Make sure that your brain fog doesn’t become a symptom of a larger mental health concern, and get a hold of your stress.
Meditating, exercising, and reading can be good outlets to help relieve stress.
Sleep is probably the easiest way to decrease brain fog. Quality sleep promotes brain function and healthy hormonal balances. It also gives you the clarity needed to manage your emotions and make healthy eating choices.
When we are sleepy, we are irritable and can’t think clearly. Lack of sleep throws our hormone balances out of whack and makes it difficult for the brain to function as it should.
Fortunately, healthy eating and stress management also contribute to quality sleep! Adopting a lifestyle that eliminates brain fog promotes a cycle of wellness that can positively affect all aspects of your life.
Wholesome Food All Day Long
For a sharper mind, try our 3 wholesome food combinations below for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Some say breakfast in the most important meal of the day. It prepares us for clear thinking and productivity, and sets up our morning right. For a wholesome, brain-friendly breakfast, try:
- An egg, or a warm salad of wilted spinach & beans
- A slice of wholemeal toast
- A cup of fresh fruit juice (or a piece of your favourite fruit & natural Greek yogurt)
For lunch, opt for something lighter with less carbs. You still want your meal to be wholesome, and tick all of the boxes-but you don’t want to feel tired and sluggish from a heap of carbs. Try a light salad packed with colour and protein. Give these salad combos a go:
- Your favourite fruit and veggies tossed in a simple dressing
- Tofu, beans or lean meat
- Vermicelli/sweet potato noodles, brown rice or quinoa
A healthy amount amount of carbohydrates are important for optimal brain function, and may also help you sleep at night. Include some carbs in your dinner – you don’t want to go to bed hungry and compromise a good night’s sleep. You could try:
- Broccoli pasta (or noodles) with pine nuts
- Pumpkin soup with wholemeal toast
- Lean meat with Mexican quinoa salad and avocado sauce