Out of the blue, the words fell out of my mouth.
“The Gruen Transfer.”
“How did you remember that?” Jeff asked.
“I don’t know. It just came out,” while inside I was grinning like the proverbial Cheshire cat.
We were talking about a programme we used to watch on TV while we were living in Australia for a while.
It felt damn good to be able to think quickly, to get that piece of information out as if it was always on the tip of my tongue, to find the words right off the bat.
But I know what brain fog feels like.
And it was food that made the biggest difference for me.
I discovered this when I was back in investment banking before the degree. I had decided to try out an exclusion or elimination diet – where you remove certain foods for a limited period of time, and then reintroduce it, to test whether your body has an immune response to it, and with it, symptoms like brain fog (among many possible others).
Within less than a week, my eyes were clearer, I could see better, everything looked brighter and sharper, I had more energy, I felt lighter and you guessed it, no more brain fog! And no more sugar or carb cravings either.
So, what’s going to move the needle for you and make the biggest difference?
Following on from last week, here is what you can look at and do in relation to your food. Make sure that every meal or snack you have, includes at least one of each of the following.
(1) Healthy fats
Our brain is made up of some 60% fat. (Now you know where the phrase ”fat head” came from. Well, OK, I just made that up, but it’s true that your brain is made up of that much fat).
If you’re not eating enough of the right types of fats, your brain will suffer and so will your ability to think. Because your body uses fats to build your cell membranes (not just in your brain, everywhere).
It also helps maintain brain messaging pathways and the production of neurotransmitters (brain messaging chemicals).
Too little fat and your brain shrinks and can’t communicate so well. And too much of the wrong type, and your brain can’t function properly.
What you can do: Eat oily fish twice a week for their omega-3 fats (salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies). Also eat lightly roasted or raw and unsalted nuts and seeds for a combination of omega-3, omega-6 and monounsaturated fats (walnuts, macadamia nuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds). Choose other healthy fats too, like avocados and grass-fed meats. Use extra virgin olive oil and flaxseed oil on top of your salads.
(2) Rainbow foods
Think vegetables and fruits of all the different colours. They’re filled with vitamins, minerals and polyphenols (plant chemicals), which have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. What’s more, polyphenols have been shown to be neuroprotective and can help to improve cell to cell communication in the brain.
What you can do: Challenge yourself to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables you’re eating each day. Aim for two servings of fruit and five or more servings of vegetables a day. Use your hand as a guide – the size of your fist is one serving. How many do you eat right now? Increase gradually until you get there.
Proteins are often called building blocks for our body. For good reason too. It’s broken down by our bodies into the smallest unit, called amino acids. These are then used by the body to make a whole load of different things and in a whole load of different processes.
For example, they are used to make neurotransmitters, which is one of the ways in which your brain communicates. They’re also used by the liver as part of its detoxification process to convert what the body doesn’t need into substances that we can pee or poo out. If the liver can’t function properly and we don’t get rid of these, that could result in brain fog. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
So, getting enough protein is key. Now, there are 21 amino acids all up, of which 9 are “essential”. This means that your body cannot make them, so you must get it from your diet.
What you can do: Eat one serving of good quality protein with every meal. One serving is about the size of your palm. If you can, focus on choosing organic and grass-fed meats.
If you’ve chosen to be vegetarian or vegan, it can be a bit tricky to make sure you’ve got all the amino acids your body needs… because we can get into eating ruts, eating the same thing over and over again. You know what I mean? So, be sure to get the right education and know-how you need to be able to design your meals (and your supplementation) so that they are well balanced.
One last thing. Watch out for when you eat too. If you find yourself getting light-headed or dizzy between meals, or having to eat every three hours or so, it’s possible that you’re either not eating enough of the right things and/or your blood sugar balance isn’t quite right. That can contribute to brain fog and unclear thinking too.
Alright. Between Part 1 on this subject and this, I think that’s plenty to be getting on with, don’t you?
Let me know what you’ve implemented. Just send me an email. I’d love to hear.