Do you ever feel scatterbrained? Or completely unfocused at work? Brain fog is one common symptom of adrenal dysfunction. Luckily, you can ditch the brain fog naturally!
Brain fog is many things: poor memory, inability to concentrate, or just a cloudy feeling when you’re trying to focus. In order for the brain to function, your body needs essential nutrients to keep the chemicals flowing and the sensitive communication pathways open.
However, many of our lifestyle choices, our foods and our environments play a role in NOT keeping the 3 critical brain power chemicals balanced. This means that, to ditch the brain fog, you need to figure out why your chemicals are out of whack!
What Brain Fog Looks Like
We know we’d like to ditch the brain fog but sometimes it’s hard to describe exactly how we feel. Brain fog can actually seem like your head is full of clouds. However, brain fog is associated with other symptoms too.
- Low energy
- Chronic fatigue
- Inability to concentrate
- Poor memory recall
- Low motivation for most activities, including work
- Anxiety and mild depression
- Sleep disturbances
- Trouble exercising
What Causes Your Brain Fog?
If you’re like me, people probably tell you to get more sleep. This is great advice, but sometimes we just CAN’T sleep because we’ve got other issues.
Yes, too little sleep can leave you with a foggy head.
However, if you’ve already tried all the great advice on how to get a better sleep, it might be time to dig deeper.
For example, if you can’t sleep, why not? Are you eating something that impacts your sleep or something that directly affects your brain?
These are tough questions but I’m here to help!
What Makes A Healthy Mind
First, though, let’s talk about what your brain needs to be healthy. A healthy mind is king. But your brain (and entire nervous system) is VERY sensitive to poor nutrition, allergens, toxins, imbalanced hormones and low levels of natural chemicals.
Our brains need nutrients to keep us focused, energized, calm and motivated. The most important chemicals to brain function are serotonin, dopamine and cortisol. When these chemicals are balanced, our moods, energy and concentration are great!
Serotonin is a chemical that helps reduce depression, reduce anxiety and maintain bone health. This chemical is our mood stabilizing chemical. Serotonin is in the digestive tract as well as in the nervous system and brain. This chemical is what causes you to feel nauseous or crampy when nervous!
Serotonin is made from tryptophan, which is one of the essential amino acids. You have to get tryptophan from food, like turkey, nuts and cheese.
Chronic stress is one reason for low serotonin levels. In our hectic, crazy world, we are almost always exposed to real and perceived stressors. Poor food choices, like processed and refined sugar and carbs, reduce our serotonin levels too. Heavy metal toxicity can cause permanent damage to the nerve cells that make serotonin.
And, too little sunlight can also reduce serotonin. Living in Canada during winter makes it tough to get enough sunlight, which is needed for adequate vitamin D. Low carb diets also reduce serotonin levels.
And, serotonin is a natural antioxidant so it’s an important chemical to keep flowing.
Chronic stress can lead to adrenal fatigue which is one of the main reasons we get brain fog. Ditch the brain fog today with this FREE Adrenal Fatigue Rescue Kit (click the image below to get started)!
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. It controls our motivation, productivity, focus, impulses and aggression.
Dopamine is also found in our diets and is manufactured by another essential protein, tyrosine. Low dopamine levels are in people with binge eating disorders, addiction and depression. Too much dopamine can lead to psychosis.
Poor diet, nutritional deficiencies, obesity and thyroid disorders causes low dopamine levels. Plus, addictions to alcohol, drugs, sugar or nicotine can cause low dopamine.
Cortisol is our primary stress hormone. We know that adrenal fatigue results from a dysfunction of our adrenals to regulate our cortisol levels. Chronic high levels of stress keep our cortisol levels very high.
Cortisol helps to keep us awake so you’d think that high levels of stress would keep us alert. Actually, high cortisol levels are useful for a brief period of time. However, if cortisol is high for long periods, the body becomes resistant to it and we just get tired.
Chronic low-grade inflammation may cause brain fog. Inflammation can be caused by food sensitivities or allergens, a virus or bacteria in the body, or high levels of cortisol.
Inflammation is typically at the root of most diseases, too. When the immune system is always active at a low level, its inflammatory molecules act upon the body’s cells.
One of the most common reasons for brain fog is dehydration. Most people don’t think they’re dehydrated. However, the number one nutritional deficiency in most adults is water! You never know – if you drink at least 10 glasses of filtered water a day, you may ditch the brain fog!
Low protein intake can cause brain fog too. Proteins are made up of amino acids that are important for manufacturing some of the chemicals needed for a healthy mind. And, our brain cells need healthy fats to keep them working, too, so low fat intake can cause brain fog and other mental health issues.
Ditch the Brain Fog Naturally
Roughly 95% of the North American population is deficient in essential fatty acids. And, many women are deficient in protein. Why does this matter?
Well, our brains are made up of about 60% fat. They also use up about 20% of our entire body’s metabolic energy. Three types of fat – polyunsaturated, DHA, and saturated – are important for brain health. Healthy fats help reduce inflammation and improve memory, cognition and learning. Eat avocado, wild-caught salmon, walnuts, almonds, cage-free eggs, olive oil and coconut oil to fuel your brain.
Protein helps manufacture certain hormones, enzymes and chemicals needed for cellular health. Meat, fish, eggs, soy, legumes, beans, whole grains and nuts contain protein. Protein is broken down into amino acids during digestion. These amino acids are what help manufacture chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.
You can naturally boost your serotonin levels by a variety of means. One option is to get outside in the sunshine daily, for at least 20 minutes. Skip the sunscreen, too, for the sun’s full effect.
Two, exercise regularly.
Three, ditch the refined, processed foods and eat lots of cage-free eggs, organic turkey, raw nuts, wild-caught salmon and pineapple. (Bonus – the tryptophan in these foods will not only clear your mind but they’ll help you sleep!) Get adequate unrefined carbohydrates daily.
And, finally, meditate. It’s important to relieve stress because chronically high levels of cortisol impact our serotonin levels. Remain positive and laugh daily.
Foods that boost dopamine include potatoes, avocados, broccoli, oranges, spinach and Brussels sprouts. Bananas are rich in dietary dopamine. The problem with just eating these foods, though, is that dopamine from foods doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier.
To get dopamine to your brain, you need a precursor, tyrosine. Tyrosine is a protein in most animal products, apples, raw almonds, beets, coffee, green leafy vegetables, oatmeal, peanuts, oregano, olive oil, sesame and pumpkin seeds, turmeric and watermelon.
You also need a healthy balance of gut bacteria for dopamine to work. Bad bacteria produce toxic substances that destroy the brain cells that make dopamine. So, eat lots of fermented foods and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and take a daily probiotic supplement too.
Since cortisol regulation plays a role in inflammation, managing stress and reducing inflammation are two of the most important things you can do to ditch the brain fog. Stress relief through exercise, coloring, snuggling with a pet, or sitting quietly for 10 minutes a day will help regulate cortisol levels.
It’s important to understand the differences between good stress and too much stress, too. Stress can keep you motivated and focused; however, in some instances, it can become overwhelming and cause the health concerns mentioned earlier, including brain fog. Emotional exhaustion and anxiety are just a couple of problems associated with too much cortisol.
To ditch the brain fog, you need to improve your sleep, get enough nutrients to fuel a health mind, and get outside more often. A diet that’s mainly whole natural foods will give your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Good digestion and liver function will also keep your brain functioning optimally, clear the fog and improve focus and concentration.