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1. Improving your digestion and diet:
Healthy digestion and a diet high in healthy nutrients and are the core of long term vitality. What you eat and the nutrients you ingest affect every system of your body, particularly your brain. You can’t put substandard gas and oil in your car and expect it to run efficiently. The same goes for your body and your brain. In Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine have associated gut/digestive health with brain function for centuries. Recent research has shown that having an abundance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract influences brain health and cognition as well as your moods. Your digestive tract contains neuropeptides which are molecules that transmit brain signals. Healthy digestion leads to healthy brain function. A diet high in nutrient rich foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits, lean protein, legumes, healthy fats and low in sugar, carbohydrates, trans fats and junk food will give your gut and your brain the nutrients it needs to function properly. It will also lower inflammation which is one of the biggest factors in many health issues including auto-immune disorders, cancer, dementia and cognitive decline. There are also herbs and supplements that can help with overall digestive health including zinc, chromium, turmeric, and digestive enzymes.
Toxins such as heavy metals, pesticides, mercury, lead and pollutants can accumulate in the body, especially in the fatty tissues that make up most of the brain. They can contribute to inflammation and a dampening of brain function over time. There are many products that can help your body detoxify that include things like N-acetyl-L-cysteine, vitamin C, lipoic acid, modified citrus pectin and selenium. These products offer gently detox support and can be used with things that provide bowel detoxification support like psyllium, bentonite clay and slippery elm. Antioxidants are also very important in the detoxification of free radicals which increase inflammation and damage the cells. Be sure to include lots of antioxidants in the form of richly colored fruits and vegetables and/or supplements that are specifically designed as antioxidants.
3. Cellular health and energy:
The mitochondria are what power our body’s cells and give the cells energy to heal and replace themselves as needed. They also contribute to how energetic we feel. Proper cognition and brain function uses a lot of energy and when our mitochondria are depleted we feel foggy and “out of it.” There are a number of supplements that are designed to enhance the mitochondria and support our brains. CoQ10, L-carnosine, medicinal mushrooms and acetyl-L-carnitine all support mitochondrial function as well as reducing inflammation and acting as anti-oxidants.
4. Reduce stress:
It comes as no surprise to anyone these days that stress has a negative effect on your health. Many people think only of emotional stress but a stressor can be anything that depletes your energy and your body’s ability to function properly. Not getting enough sleep, a stressful work or home environment, poor diet, not allowing yourself to properly rest and heal after working out or having an injury and even over doing it while having fun can be stressful for your body. Anything that stresses your body can also stress your brain. Chronic stress can lead to blood sugar imbalances, increased fatigue, and depression and can affect memory. There are a number of things you can do that have been shown to reduce stress. Practices such as meditation/prayer, yoga, tai chi and breathing exercises have been used very successfully in stress reduction. There are even apps you can get for your phone that can help you meditate and relax as well as remind you to do it. There are plenty of online programs you can find to get you started in yoga, breathing or things like tai chi as well.
Getting enough oxygen and nutrients to your brain is extremely important for cognition and brain health. A lack of circulation can greatly affect that ability and a sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise is a big contributor to poor circulation. When you exercise you not only increase your circulation but the neural connections throughout your body as well. It helps balance your hormones and your blood sugar, reduce excess fat and build muscle. One of the best things you can do for your brain is to move your body. As you do it balances your brain, relieves stress and increases circulation. If you are feeling foggy get up and walk, dance, stretch and move around. You will notice your brain feeling clearer. You can also exercise your brain. There are a number of apps and programs out there designed to give your brain a work out and keep you sharp.
If the brain fog persists, see your doctor and find out if there are any underlying health issues contributing to poor cognition such as Lyme disease, diabetes or neurological disorders. Don’t allow the brain fog to become your normal state. With some healthy changes you can stay sharp and protect your brain at any age.