Brain fog is a mental state characterized by a lack of mental clarity, forgetfulness, and confusion. There are many potential root causes of brain fog, ranging from untreated medical conditions and food allergies to simple lifestyle factors. Because there are so many potential root causes of brain fog, it can be difficult to diagnose the source of the problem. Before seeking medical help, it is worth ruling out some of the common causes by experimenting with lifestyle changes.
Intermittent fasting is often touted as a weight-loss method, but it can also have an amazing impact on brain health. Intermittent fasting is very simple to achieve, simply choose a window of time each day in which you will consume all your calories, for example, 8 am until 5 pm, and then do not eat or drink anything except clear fluids for the rest of the 24-hour period. Intermittent fasting can improve sleep and reduce inflammation, leading to better general brain health. Symptoms of brain fog can decrease or even disappear over time.
Do you find yourself constantly looking at screens? Spending too long on your smartphone, tablet or laptop can significantly impact brain health and negatively impact functions such as attention and short-term memory. Consider doing a week-long screen detox, where you only use electronic devices for necessary purposes like work or homework. If you can't stand the idea of living without your phone for a week, try to set yourself a strict limit, for example, fifteen minutes of phone time each day. Monitor your brain fog as the detox goes on. If it improves, consider being more mindful about screen use to ensure you are not harming your brain in the future.
Experiment with Gluten-Free
Gluten can cause lots of different problems and aggravate others. Some people have serious, autoimmune responses to eating gluten, while others have a milder intolerance that can show up as brain fog. Experiment by cutting gluten out of your diet for a week and notice the difference in your symptoms. If you find a sudden increase in mental clarity that then gets worse the moment you start eating bread and pasta again, it may be that you have mild gluten intolerance and would benefit from eating a gluten-free diet.
Diet and Nutrition
If you start to experience brain fog, it is a good idea to consider any recent dietary changes. Have you recently started eating a plant-based diet, or eating more of a particular food source? Sometimes a simple dietary change such as reducing iron intake by going vegan or eating more sugar than normal can affect your mental clarity. The good news is if the brain fog is diet-related, you can fix the problem easily. Try taking iron and zinc supplements and consuming more Omega-3 in the form of capsules or oily fish.
Stress can cause brain fog, but many people aren't aware of how high their stress levels are. When you are stressed, your nervous system floods your body with hormones that have a negative impact on your long-term health. If you are chronically stressed, this hormonal imbalance can become the new normal for you and you may not realize you are suffering this way. If your brain fog is persistent, try actively relaxing by doing something you love, practicing mindfulness or meditation, or spending time with loved ones. Stress cannot be avoided in life, but if you are able to manage your stress levels effectively, you might be able to counteract your nervous system's natural hormone response.
Regular exercise can massively impact brain health and reduce symptoms of brain fog. Try to introduce three sessions of cardio exercise to your weekly routine. Cardio exercise is anything that gets your heart pumping, for example taking a brisk walk, jogging, dancing, cycling, or doing a workout video. Monitor your brain fog symptoms before and after each workout to see if exercise makes a difference.
Lifestyle changes can combat brain fog in many people, leading to an improved quality of life. However, if making these simple, natural changes doesn't help you, consider talking to a doctor as you may need to have some medical tests done. Brain fog may indicate hormone problems such as insulin resistance leading to diabetes, or perimenopause, and your doctor may be able to treat this using medication or a more specialist therapeutic approach.