Brain Fog? Here’s What NOT to Eat
You may think it’s inevitable to have some brain fog at menopause, but your diet might also be contributing.
If you want to stay sharp, avoid these potentially problematic items from your daily diet.
Trans fats found in margarine, cake toppings, along with many packaged snack foods, are high in trans fats.
You may know that trans fats aren’t good for your heart and blood vessels but research has found that they may also wreak havoc on brain function.
A study from the journal Neurology found that older adults who had the highest levels of elaidic acid (a common type of trans fat) in their blood were the most more likely to develop dementia.
Alcohol directly affects the brain’s communication pathways. The more you drink, the more difficult it may be to process new information or remember things.
While a single glass of wine or beer is unlikely to affect your mind, alcohol may also make you feel confused or depressed.
Sugary drinks often have a type of sugar called fructose, that may cause certain parts of your brain to become smaller.
If you want to keep your brain sharp avoid any very sweet drinks as research has found that people who drink a lot of carbonated soft drinks, or have lots of sugar in your tea and coffee, means you are a lot more likely to have memory trouble.
Diet drinks & artificial sweeteners are often used to help with weight loss, but are definitely not better for you than those with sugar.
Research finds that people who have at least one diet soft drink or use artificial sweeteners once a day are nearly three times as likely to have a stroke or develop dementia. Scientists think that artificial sweeteners may be the offending ingredient.
There are natural sweeteners available if you need them in moderation such as Stevia, Erythritol and Xylitol which have a sweetness similar to that of sugar.
Fried Foods cause inflammation, which can damage the blood vessels that supply the brain with blood and hurt the brain itself.
People who eat a lot of fried, processed foods tend to fare worse on tests that measure their thinking skills so reduce or cut them out where possible.
Doughnuts give you an inflammation double-whammy from the deep frying process and the excess sugar.
Studies have linked high levels of sugar in the blood with dementia and as most doughnuts contain trans fats, that’s another ingredient your brain doesn’t need.
Refined carbohydrates such as white bread and white rice can spike your blood sugar. That’s often followed by a crash, which can make you feel mentally foggy.
Research shows that too many refined carbohydrates may increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in certain people who are genetically predisposed to it.
Switch to whole-grain breads, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta instead
Red meat is high in saturated fat, which is bad for your heart as well as your brain. In fact, limiting red meat is a key tenet of the MIND Diet, (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay).
This diet combines aspects of the Mediterranean and DASH diets to create an eating plan that focuses on brain health.
Its focus is on green leafy vegetables, like spinach and kale, which are known to slow the ageing of the brain and eating plenty of berries because they have been specifically linked to keeping the mind sharp as we age.
Want a protein source that’s better for your brain? Fish, lean poultry, and beans are healthier options.
Dairy products such as butter and full-fat cheese are full of saturated fat. Followers of the MIND diet avoid butter, cheese, and other full-fat dairy.
When it comes to brain health, low-fat dairy is generally the healthier choice. You can get milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, and other dairy foods in low-fat forms.
However, if you can’t give up the ‘real thing’ just reduce your portions or make them an occasional treat.
Label reading is essential on products such as dressings, sauces etc as many have surprisingly large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup.
Look for natural products without corn syrup and try mixing up your own salad dressings instead.
Corn syrup is also in lots of soft drinks and is linked to a variety of health problems, including memory loss and a decline in brain performance.
Brain fog is common at menopause, but that doesn’t mean it has little impact as it can be both distressing and worrying.
Your diet will make a difference as both the DASH and Mediterranean diets have been shown to improve cognition; however, neither were developed to slow degeneration of the nervous system, particularly in the brain.
More help can come from keeping your hormone balance healthy, so look to your levels for signs you may need help.
In particular low progesterone levels lead to the mood swings and memory loss associated with brain fog and if you are concerned this article can be helpful.