There are many illnesses and medications that can contribute to muddled thinking, but that isn’t what I’m talking about today. I’m talking about otherwise healthy people who suspect that they are living under a cloud that compromises their mental clarity. They just don’t feel as sharp as they used to. They are always thinking with a “tired brain”. Maybe they even find themselves frequently misplacing their keys or losing their train of thought. If you have this general feeling that your brain isn’t working as efficiently as it should, this post is for you.
What Causes Brain Fog?
A great way to handle brain fog is figure out what might be causing it. Because brain fog isn’t just a “natural part of aging”. I met 80 and 90-year-olds who are mentally as sharp as a 30-year-old. So there are a few easy things to look for that can be making your thinking ability and your memory less than perfect.
Lack Of Sleep
Sleep is a time when your brain stores memories. And if sleep deprivation has become a way of life, it isn’t surprising to see how this might be affecting your memory. The important point is that it isn’t just those who are missing hours of sleep who might have their memories affected. Those who have poor quality of sleep may also find themselves thinking kind of foggy.
A study published in 2013 from the University of California, Berkeley shows that getting into a deep stage of sleep can by instrumental in moving memories from short term memory in the hippocampus to long term memories in the brain’s cortex. Without enough deep sleep, clarity of thinking starts to suffer.
Amino acids found in protein are instrumental in making many of the neurotransmitters that relay information from the brain to the rest of the body. If one of the key messengers of the brain malfunctions, it makes sense that brain fog would follow.
The thing that’s tricky is that many are unaware of how little protein they eat. When I often look at the food diaries of my clients, I’ll see a few ounces of meat with a large amount of carbohydrates. If you experience brain fog, you may want to try increasing your protein consumption to see if you feel a difference.
And vegetarians should be aware that vitamin B-12, naturally found in animal products, is an essential nutrient for proper neurotransmittor function. So if you are eating a diet without animal protein, you must get vitamin B-12 it in another ways or the brain will suffer.
Everybody is stressed from time to time and that is a normal part of life. But many of us are experiencing extremely high levels of stress on a constant basis and this is when things get a little murky. Constant long term stress causes inflammation and hormonal imbalance, both of which have a side effect of brain fog.
If you find that you’re often highly stressed, you’ve probably already noticed an affect on your brain function. Personally, I’m becoming more and more a fan of meditation as a valuable tool for vibrant health. Youtube is a good place to start for free meditation videos, and I would also recommend the Omvana app to meditation newbies. It contains free meditations that can be done a few minutes at a time to help develop your practice.
Imbalanced Sugar Level
It is a growing problem, and even people who are outwardly skinny can still be suffering from blood sugar problems. Imbalanced blood sugar causes inflammation in the body as well as a spike in stress hormones. That’s right. An imbalanced diet can create an excess of the same stress hormones associated with mental anxiety.
So for someone suffering from brain fog, going back to basics in the diet is a must. This means that the focus in the diet should be on lots of healthy fruits and vegetables, with good, clean sources of protein accompanied by healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado, seeds and nuts.
Negligence Of Your Digestive System
Digestion is more important to total body function than most people realize. And a digestive imbalance can cause more problems than just indigestion. In fact, one of the first reactions by the body when there is any type of digestive disturbance is system-wide inflammation. And just like with stress, the end result of this is very often brain fog.
While healing digestive problems is a complex topic, one of the best things you can do for your digestive systems is to eat extra fruits and vegetables for their needed fiber and antioxidants. When there is a focus on healing the body, it is advisable to fill half of your plate with vegetables at every meal. Substituting whole grains for refined carbohydrates increases fiber intake and is easier on the digestive system.
Additionally, eating good fats with a focus on omega-3s, flax seed oil, and coconut oil and supplementing with a good quality probiotic can be extremely helpful. Finally, taking a temporary break from common problem foods like dairy, eggs and wheat will often do wonders for the workings of the digestive system.
If you are noticing brain fog for the first time, it is important to first pay a visit to your doctor. That way you can rule out anything else in your health that might need your attention. There are some more serious reasons why your thinking may be a little fuzzy.
Otherwise, small changes can ease brain fog and help raise that cloud under which you’re living. And if you’re still young enough to think that this is a problem you’ll handle later in life, don’t do that to your future self. It is better to get your body back into balance now so that you don’t have a larger hurdle to get past in the future.
Memory lapses or cloudy thinking aren’t “normal” at any age. So if you’re feeling the effects of brain fog, look to make some simple changes for a clearer tomorrow.