3 Things You Can Do To Reverse Brain Fog Today
I always tell patients there are the things you can do and the things we do together. The action steps you can take on your own are a great place to start regaining your health. When it comes to brain fog the three steps you can take that will have the greatest impact are:
- Dietary changes that will help to balance your bold sugar and lower your inflammation
- Exercise to increase the good neurotransmitter production and chemicals that will help to calm your brain down and encourage good cellular communication
- Sleep to allow the brain to regenerate and de-stress
So let’s go through these one and I’ll show you what you can do to begin the reversal of brain fog. Dietary Changes
The first thing to recognize about food is that it has the single greatest impact on your health. What you eat has a far more profound influence on your health than anything else including your genetics. For our purposes we’re going to make changes to effect two broad categories and they are blood sugar regulation and inflammation. It is important to understand that there is a lot of overlap between these two goals. When it comes to blood sugar regulation, we need to lower your carbohydrate intake significantly from the Standard American Diet. So, cut the carbs. Ever since the FDA changed the food pyramid in 1977, we’ve been eating way too much carbohydrate in our diets. It’s impossible to fix brain fog, reverse depression, and improve brain health when you blood sugar is too high, too low or, more often, both. You need a nice steady flow of fuel to your brain throughout the day. When blood sugar is too low One of the most frequent problems I see is when people don’t eat enough protein. You need protein within an hour of waking up in the morning. That’s right STOP EATING CEREAL for breakfast. All you’re doing is shocking your blood sugar with a huge sugar/carbohydrate overload. And, stop drinking fruit juices. No they aren’t good for you. There can be as much sugar in a glass of OJ as there is in a Coke. The FDA revised the dietary recommendations for Americans in November 2015 and removed all fat restrictions from the American diet admitting that, for 40 years, they had it wrong. So, you guessed it, eggs and bacon are back. You’ll also need a high quality protein snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon even if you don’t feel hungry. A hand full of almonds works great. Nothing sweet. That includes fruit. It’s also important to not go too long without eating as this can allow your blood sugar to drop too low. Especially in the night. Depending on when you eat dinner (if it’s earlier than 7:00-8:00 PM) you might want to have a protein snack before bedtime. This would be a very good idea if you have a tendency to wake up in the night around 2:00-3:00 AM and can’t go back to sleep. You’ll know when you get your blood sugar correct. You’ll have good and steady energy levels throughout the day without sugar cravings. The crashes in the mid-morning and or afternoon will clear up and you’ll sleep better. When blood sugar is too high Chronically elevated blood sugar leads to insulin resistance and eventually diabetes. If you feel sleepy or tired after eating, the chances are you just eat too many carbohydrates. You may also need to look at portion control though what you eat is usually far more important than how much you eat. One of the secondary signs of insulin resistance is that you can’t lose weight no matter what you do. High blood sugar is very damaging to your brain. Researchers are now calling Alzheimer’s, Type III Diabetes reflecting the seriousness of brain blood sugar regulation. When blood sugar is too high and too low This is the situation I see very often. Patients have large swings in blood sugar. In this case you’ll need to cut the carbs, increase the fat and protein, eat smaller portions and more frequently. There are nutritional and herbal products that help regulate blood sugar. For low blood sugar: chromium, inositol, L-carnitine, co-Q10, rubidium chelate, and vanadium aspartate are helpful. For high blood sugar: alpha lipoic acid, biotin, chromium, gymnema sylvestre, inositol, magnesium, vanadium, and zinc are helpful. If you have both low and high blood sugar you can take the supplements for high blood sugar with meals and the ones for low blood sugar between meals. The second half of dietary changes that you’ll need to make are centered around decreasing inflammation. Reducing inflammation hinges on removing foods from your diet which drive up inflammation and damage the gut lining. The two biggest offenders in this category are grains (especially wheat) and dairy. While this report isn’t about the evils of gluten, it needs to be repeated that gluten damages the intestinal lining of everyone. In addition to the damage done by gluten containing grains, these grain have high glycemic indexes and raise blood sugar. One approach to dealing with the diet changes you’ll need to make would be to try a Paleo type of diet for a few weeks and see how you do. To summarize the diet changes are simple. Cut your carbs by eliminating grains, sugars, refined carbs and sweet fruits. Exercise to improve brain fog
This one is really very simple and won’t take as time as you may be expecting. The neurotransmitters, hormones and chemicals in the brain are vital to healthy brain function. Exercise can be a powerful tool in improving the levels of these chemicals. High intensity exercise has been shown to raise the levels of BDNF (brain derived neurotropic factor). BDNF is a growth hormone that increases brain function and slows degeneration. High intensity exercise also raises the levels of other important chemicals which are instrumental in reducing inflammation. The more intensely you exercise the more you raise the levels of BDNF. The great thing about this is you don’t need to exercise for long. Just 4-5 minutes will do but, it must be intense. Remember this isn’t cardiovascular exercise. This is exercise for your brain. The Seven Minute Workout is a good example of this type of workout. http://7-min.com/ You don’t need a gym, special equipment or anything else. It can be as simple as floor exercises next to your bed when you get up in the morning. Here’s how you do it. Take 220 – your age in years = your target heart rate. Your goal is to get to this heart rate and keep it there for about 4 minutes 4 times per week. So if you’re 40 years old it’s 220-40=180. That’s you target. Get you hear rate to 180 bpm for 4 minutes 4 days a week and your brain will love you for it.
Sleep Is Important On the one hand sleep can be very simple to talk about and on the other it can sometimes be seemingly impossible to achieve. I have people come into my clinic all the time boasting of how they don’t need much sleep. They wear it like some kind of a badge that makes them special. I’m going to tell to throw that badge away because your brain isn’t listening. There’s no virtue in thinking you can exist on very little sleep. You need 7-8 hours of good quality sleep every night. Let’s dispel a myth right here. There’s no such thing as catching up. If you rob yourself of good sleep all week thinking you’ll catch up on the weekend, you’re mistaken. Once tissue has been denied the opportunity to heal and regenerate during sleep the damage can’t be made up. Sure, you’ll crash and sleep till noon on the weekend but you’ll never catch up. At the end of the day sleep, like anemia, is a deal breaker. Lack of sleep promotes neuro-degeneration and throws off proper brain chemistry regulation. So how do you get good sleep?
- Go to bed at the same time (or close to it) every evening and at a time that allows for 7-8 hrs. sleep before you need to get up
- Get the TV out of the bed room (it emits electromagnetic radiation that’s bad for your brain)
- Make the room dark (no lights including LEDs) think cave
- Keep it cool
- Keep it quite
- Don’t sleep in (it throws your circadian rhythm off)
Your bedroom needs to be a sanctuary for sleeping. It’s that simple. If you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep through the night, that’s an indicator of blood sugar and adrenal regulation problems that need more in depth investigation. Try these three things and see if your brain fog doesn’t lift. If you need more help finding solutions, book a 1-on-1 consult and we’ll get to the root cause and come up with a plan to fix the fog.