Almost everyone has had a day where their brain just wouldn’t work correctly. You were probably forgetful, had a hard time focusing and were possibly even confused about the day, where you were or what you were doing. Perhaps you feel like this regularly, or the feelings only come about every once in a while.
These experiences are called brain fog, or brain fatigue, and are commonly referred to as confusion, forgetfulness, reduced attention span, and a lack of clarity and focus. Unfortunately, brain fog is pretty common in adults and can be attributed to a lack of sleep, extreme stress or hormone changes. One less-known cause of brain fog, though, is nutritional deficiencies.
Not eating the right food or getting the right nutrients can drastically alter the way you think, causing brain fog that lasts from part of a day to a few days at a time. Since brain fog is not only frustrating to deal with but also potentially dangerous, you’ll want to prevent it as much as possible.
Don’t skimp on your nutrients
One of the major sources of nutritional-caused brain fog is deficiencies in the nutrients that help our brains perform normal functions. Without proper levels of these nutrients, we might be stuck in a long-lasting cloud of confusion and lack of focus. Here are some of the nutrients you need to keep your brain healthy.
- Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is an essential complex for normal nerve. Not getting enough B12 can cause poor memory, which is quite common among adults. Vitamin B12 is found in animal products, meaning vegans usually need to take a supplement.
- Magnesium: Critical for proper energy production in the body, magnesium is another nutrient that people sometimes neglect to get their fill of. Nuts and leafy greens hold high levels of magnesium to bring your body back up to speed.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is not only essential for your immune system—it also helps reduce inflammation in the brain and helps nerves communicate with the brain. Get your fill by eating fruits.
- Vitamin D: Without Vitamin D, humans tend to experience sour moods, depression and anxiety, as well as a lack of focus and poor memory. You can get more Vitamin D by soaking in the sun or taking a supplement.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for your memory and cognitive function, as they are a major component in your brain cells. Omega-3s are found in fish like salmon.
If you eat a diet lacking in certain food groups or have a known deficiency in these nutrients, or others, you may want to consider taking a daily multivitamin to keep your body full of what it needs. Always speak with a doctor before starting a new supplement.
Food can cause fog, too
Aside from a diet lacking in certain nutrients, eating particular foods can also be hazardous to your brain’s health. The ultimate goal for your food intake should be multiple well-balanced meals full of healthy foods and few processed foods and sugars.
Sugar is one food that is likely to cause brain fog at least temporarily, since it drastically changes your blood sugar levels. Your brain relies on glucose to fuel it and can get foggy after the levels increase then crash. This is why you may experience irritability, tiredness and rain fog after binging on chocolate or sweets.
Avoid excess sugar and choose complex carbohydrates like those found in fruit and whole wheat crackers to avoid sugar-induced mental fatigue.
Additionally, low-fat diets are a scary source of brain fog. A common misunderstanding in the nutritional world is that ingesting fat causes you to become fat, when in reality, your body needs fat to survive. In fact, nearly 66 percent of your brain is fat. When you don’t get enough fat in your diet, your brain can start digesting itself to get the nutrients it needs to keep your body running.
To avoid a long-term onset of brain fog, get healthy sources of fat from nuts, coconut oil, salmon and eggs. Make sure to avoid omega-6 fatty acids, which are fats that can contribute to brain inflammation, resulting in brain fog, anxiety and depression.
Finally, one of the biggest food-related culprits of brain fog has nothing to do with food at all—it is actually water. While water doesn’t carry nutrients, it is absolutely necessary for adequate brain and bodily function. Not getting enough water can leave your brain feeling fuzzy and unfocused, so be sure to drink when you’re thirsty and aim for around eight glasses a day.
Healthy body, healthy brain
If you notice a routine pattern of brain fog in your day-to-day life, make sure you are getting the nutrients your body needs to keep your brain’s wheels turning, and staying away from those foods or diets that actually harm your body.
With the proper balance of vitamins and nutrients, you should begin to notice the benefits of a sharper, more focused brain each day.