We all have times that we space out, can’t think of the word we want to say, forget where we put something and other similar types of brain fog moments. While this may be annoying, it is not a real problem unless it begins happening on a regular basis. In fact a study done by Harvard University, Dartmouth College, and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland reports that our brains are naturally inclined to wander anytime they are able to such as when resting or doing mundane tasks. If true brain fog occurs to the point that it interferes with life, then it becomes a much more serious problem. It is thought that brain fog can be a result of a variety of conditions such as stress, toxicity, lack of exercise, hormonal imbalances, and poor sleep. Brain fog is a condition that can happen to someone at any age characterized by symptoms such as:
- not thinking clearly
- memory problems
- cognitive processing problems
- lack of mental clarity
Brain Foods For Brain Fog
Reasons for brain fog are not really clear, but experts do know that the brain works best when it gets the right type of nourishment, enough oxygen and blood and the digestive system is healthy. A healthy digestive system is important because the probiotics in the intestines actually play a role in determining mood, with neuropeptides that transmit brain signals, and in overall brain health.
One of the first things to consider with the symptoms of brain fog is what types of foods you eat. Some types of foods are better brain foods than others. Certain types of brain foods help clear out brain fog by giving us a boost in the chemicals the brain uses to regulate mood and brain function. The brain demands a lot of nutrition to keep it working properly, but it also is protected behind the blood brain barrier which makes it more difficult to get the nutrition it needs to it. The blood brain barrier is a layer of cells that only allows the smallest fat-soluble molecules and micronutrients to reach the brain. To improve brain health, concentrate on eating foods that have the specific nutrients the brain needs that can also pass through the blood brain barrier. Glucose (the brain’s main source of energy), essential fatty acids and specific amino acids are all necessary brain foods.
Glucose Brain Foods
Glucose is the sugars your body makes by digesting carbohydrates. Complex carbs are healthier for you than simple carbs so adding whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa, and starchy vegetables like potatoes, beans, peas and lentils to your diet will help feed your brain. Glucose is a small enough molecule to be able to pass through the BBB, but these molecules must first be paired with the appropriate proteins before they will be allowed to pass.
Protein/Amino Acid Brain Foods
The brain needs protein to function properly however proteins are not able to pass through the blood brain barrier until they break down into amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which your brain needs to function well. Your brain needs a variety of different amino acids to be well-fed. These amino acids include glutamine, GABA, isoleucine, phenylalanine, arginine, taurine, methionine, valine, lysine, glycine, leucine, alanine, and histidine. Lean sources of protein are of course healthier for you overall. This would include foods such as white meat chicken or seafood, beans, soy, and dairy.
Healthy Fat Brain Foods
Since the brain is 60% fat, it needs healthy fats to nourish it. Fatty fish with omega-3 fatty acids are a good brain food to add to your diet as a diet with high levels of omega-3 has been linked to lower risk of dementia and lower stroke risks and slower mental decline and enhanced memory as we get older. Other food sources for omega-3 include chia seeds, dark-green leafy vegetables, avocados, various seeds, nuts, and flax and olive oil. Coconut oil, even though it is a saturated fat, is also considered a good source of fat for brain health.
Other Brain Foods
You can get all the brain food nutrition mentioned above in AFA bluegreen algae, especially the form with the cell wall removed. It contains glucose and essential fatty acids and is a rich source of phenylalanine, an amino acid that crosses the blood-brain barrier faster than any other amino acid. It has all 20 amino acids our bodies need for the building blocks of healthy nerve cells and neurotransmitters needed for proper brain function. It also provides a perfect ratio of essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, helps maintain normal, healthy blood chemistry that feeds the brain, and provides an ideal balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, complex sugars, and fiber.
Other good brain foods include those with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that also have many of the nutrition already mentioned. That means lots of bright colored veggies, fruits and sprouted foods. Studies report that foods rich in antioxidants such as blueberries have positive effects on brain function and protect the brain from free radical damage. Basically a diet full of lean protein sources, lots of veggies and fruits, whole grains, and only the healthy fats like monounsaturated fats that is good for overall health is also one that promotes brain health. In addition avoiding too much caffeine and alcohol, refined sugar and processed, fast or junk foods is necessary.
Other Natural Solutions for Brain Fog
Since toxicity can be a contributor to symptoms of brain fog, many people find fasting, cleanses and flushes beneficial. These may be solutions to check with your healthcare provider first however depending on your physical and medical status to make sure they are safe for you. In some cases these type of strategies can weaken or worsen conditions. Another natural solution is to exercise your brain by working on improving concentration and focus. This could include techniques such as one recommended by Michael Kane, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro of clearing out clutter from your workspace and only picking one task at a time to work on. This allows your full concentration to be focused on that task without seeing all the others tasks that you still need to get to. Jonathan W. Schooler, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara advises actively participating in meetings if your mind tends to wander in these situations as a way of maintaining concentration.
Start becoming aware of when you start to lose focus or concentration and take conscious breaks rather than allowing your brain to take the breaks for you. There are also herbal supplements that have been found useful for some people in promoting mental clarity such as Gingko Biloba. Since AFA bluegreen algae has so much of the nutrition that the brain needs, there is a supplement that not only contains AFA algae but also bee pollen, vitamin A, enzymes, antioxidants, gluten-free wheatgrass juice, Hawaiin noni, Lion’s Mane mushrooms, eleuthero, ginkgo biloba, and turmeric. Bee pollen is reported to have a high amino acid content useful for stimulating memory and concentration. Wheatgrass juice has been found to provide nutrients that support brain health and clearer thinking. Gingko has been used for a long time to promote increased memory and mental concentration by increasing circulation and providing increased oxygenation of brain cells. Curcumin, found in turmeric, has been the basis of much research and found to have benefit for enhancing memory, for enhancing nerve growth in areas of the brain and as an antidepressant. It is also being studied and used in relation to treating Alzheimer’s.
Whether you have an ongoing condition of brain fog, or just want to keep your brain healthy in general, feeding your brain with the right brain foods is crucial. According to the severity of your brain fog, you may also need to seek professional help and/or employ brain exercises and strategies for increasing concentration or focus. However you choose to proceed, starting to work on your brain health now will pay off as you age in keeping you mentally sharp, focused and enjoying life.
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