Given the complexities of living our always on, 24 seven, go-go-go world and the significant demands this places on our physical and mental well-being , it is hardly surprising there has been a noticeable increase in individuals reporting symptoms of brain fog. But because brain fog is not easy to diagnose let alone treat, it is not widely considered among the general medical profession to be a serious or life-threatening condition. However, regardless of the prevailing view among clinicians, the inescapable fact is that many of the individuals who experience brain fog can find their ailment extremely distressing and frightening and while not being life-threatening exactly, brain fog certainly impacts on quality of life.
Typically those individuals report suffering from brain fog have issues in the sharpness of their mental clarity. This results in fuzzy thinking, muddled thoughts and confused behaviour. The real issue is that individuals who suffer from brain fog soon get used to this condition and find themselves effectively sleepwalking through life as they accept that how they feel is normal.
Individuals who experience brain fog consistently overtime may find their performance of work, school or in the home is negatively affected. Brain fog has been associated with relationship breakdowns, lack of self-esteem and an overall sense of frustration at not being able to participate fully at peak performance in society.
Research has shown that there is a strong connection between brain performance and the nutrients we ingest into the body on a daily basis. The reality is that by understanding the impact of various food groups on our brain performance we are able to mitigate and reduce the effects of brain fog on a daily lives.
All nutritionists will acknowledge the importance of protein in a person’s diet. The human body uses protein to regenerate new cells and maintain healthy tissue function and is therefore essential for optimum brain and body performance.
The right amount of protein in the body allows us to perform all the bodily tasks and functions that we take for granted and a lack of protein in a diet (as is often the case in many countries in the developing world) affects a person’s ability to hear, see, move and perhaps most importantly ,think clearly and effectively
Proteins which are made up of amino acids effectively encourage the creation and movement of neurotransmitters through the human nervous system to the brain and around the body. It is so this reason the lack of protein in diet is often seen as an important contributing factor in brain fog.
Having said this is important to note that too much protein in a typical diet can be as harmful to brain and body performance as having too little protein in your diet. This is why it is important to try and carefully monitor the amount of protein from meat, fish and nuts you ingest on a daily basis.
Just as important as the amount of protein is to the functioning of the human body, so too are the types of protein we eat. For example, so much of the food we eat nowadays is processed in some form or another, with the addition of artificial colourings, sweeteners, flavour enhancers etc to make it more appetising and appealing that the nutrient benefits are reduced substantially. Most processed meat (bacon, sausages, shaped or pressed ham) contains sodium nitrate or salt, too much of which has been directly linked to encouraging the development of brain fog.
Brain Fog and Fish
As delicious as fish is, the reality is that the further up the fish food chain you eat (that is small fish are eaten by bigger fish , which in turn are eaten by even bigger fish, which in turn are eaten by us) the more likely you are to be inadvertently eating heavy metals like lead, aluminium and mercury.
When eating fish the advice is simple, the smaller the fish, the lower down on the food chain they are and the less likely you are to ingest the types of heavy metals that have been shown to accelerate the onset of brain fog. The irony is that some of the most popular fish and shellfish we eat (tuna, mackerel, lobster oysters and clams) contains the highest levels of the types of metal toxicity that been shown to lead to symptoms of brain fog in individuals.
Brain Fog and Gluten
Research has shown that foods like rye, oats and barley contain large amounts of gluten which may cause what is termed ‘leaky gut’ syndrome. Gluten has been shown to increase difficulties in digestion as it can cause damage to the walls of the intestine which makes it difficult or impossible the human body to produce the necessary enzymes required for proper digestive. This inability of the body to digest food normally means that the right balance of nutrients and amino acids are not delivered efficiently to the brain and in some cases can cause brain fog as well as possible intolerances or allergies
Sam Jansen is a leading brain scientist, lawyer and author, studying neuroscience, social behaviors and the science of happiness.You can find him at Google+