How To Get Rid of Brain Fog During Menopause
What is brain fog?
You walk into a room and can’t recall what you need. Your old college roommate’s name escapes you. You’re not sure if you fed the dog.
Sound familiar? If so, you may be experiencing menopausal brain fog–and its effects can be overwhelming. Your brain constantly feels muddled or hungover. Small decisions loom large. You need more coffee throughout the day just to make it through. Menopausal “brain fog” is the buzzword used today to explain some of the bizarre and frustrating cognitive changes that can occur during perimenopause and menopause.
More than any other symptom of menopause, loss of mental capacity can be the most destabilizing. And along with your mental health, your emotional wellbeing can be affected. It’s no good for your confidence level, for example, if you get lost on your way to a common destination. You begin to doubt yourself.
In fact, many women say that it feels as if they are, quite literally, losing their minds.
Menopausal brain fog, as it is called, is quite prevalent–one study found that 60 percent of women have difficulty concentrating during menopause. The reasons can be many, but changing hormones are often the main culprit.
But there’s no need to despair.
What can cause brain fog and main symptoms.
There are solutions available. Certain parts of our brain begin to lose energy as their fuel–serotonin and testosterone–become less available. Neurotransmitters start to bungle messages. As these hormonal changes, along with age-related changes, impact our brain and body, solving problems becomes more difficult.
But you don’t have to suffer through brain fog without help.
StellaVia has created supplements to help you focus.
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Some Tips To Help Fight Brain Fog
Exercise your brain
“Use it or lose it!,” says StellaVia co-founder Dr. Allyson Shrikhande, who suggests doing brain teasers, crossword puzzles and memory games to keep your memory muscles strong.
Eat For Brain Health
The gut and the brain are uniquely connected by the vagus nerve, which carries signals between them. What we eat can significantly impact our brains.
Avoid foods that cause inflammation. This means sugar, fried foods and those loaded with unhealthy fats. Studies show they can cause us to think less clearly and even feel more anxious and depressed as they put stress on neutron-transmitters.
Stick to clean foods such as lean protein, colorful vegetables and fruits, olive oil, fish and nuts. With a little creativity even our favorites can be cooked up clean. Grilled chicken, lightly seasoned boiled beans, sliced or mashed avocados and salsa made with fresh tomatoes are an excellent start.
Vitamin C and folic acid are good bets too, as both have been found to be lacking in people with chronic fatigue syndrome. Try citrus fruits, kiwis and red bell peppers for Vitamin C. Folate can be found in dark leafy green vegetables, spinach, salad greens and kale.
Do more to battle inflammation: Stock up on foods rich in luteolin, which includes fresh peppermint, sage, thyme, hot and sweet peppers and dried Mexican oregano. It is anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory with cardiac protective effects.
We know that a good workout gets the blood and oxygen flowing through the body and study after study shows it will give your brain a boost. Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, helping it to perform at its peak by increasing neuron formation and maintaining brain volume.
You don’t have to sign up for a competitive spin class or do dozens of burpees to reap the positive effects of exercise on brain fog. Even a daily walk—a half hour to an hour is best—can reset your brain and help lift the fog. The key to success? Consistency. Try to get moving every day or at least every other day. It’s an investment well worth making.
Drink coffee and green tea
Coffee and green tea: Studies have shown that modest coffee consumption—one to two small cups a day—can help stave off brain fog. Coffee is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants and green tea helps improve focus and clarity, according to Dr. Uma Naidoo, director of nutritional and lifestyle psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Reduce caffeine and alcohol
Keep Caffeine And Alcohol Use Under Control. As we all know, too much of anything can be bad.
A little caffeine is good but too much will set you back.
To cut back on caffeine, start slowly. If you try to give up too much too quickly, you will likely crash and go straight back to dependence. In addition to insomnia, coffee dependence could be causing a rapid heartbeat, increased anxiety and overall feelings of restlessness..
A 2018 study in the British Medical Journal reported that people who completely abstained from alcohol or who had consumed less than 14 drinks per week had less chance of developing dementia than those who drank more.
Sleep Is The Best Medicine. That foggy feeling you get when you’re sleep deprived has an explanation: Losing sleep disrupts the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other, leading to mental lapses.
Menopausal women often have trouble falling and staying asleep, which only adds to their fatigue and confusion the next day. Aim for seven hours a night. Cut off screen time including TVs, laptops and phones. The blue lights they expose you to decrease the hormone melatonin which is essential for deep REM sleep. Without that deep slumber, you can’t process thoughts and memories from the day–and your brain can’t detoxify and ready itself to face new or difficult experiences.
And don’t forget that natural, free magic elixir: Water. Keeping the body and brain hydrated during the day makes all systems work more efficiently.
Stress releases cortisol (the fight-or-flight hormone) into your system, which triggers the release of adrenaline, and ultimately diverts energy away from your body’s typical functions. This can make it difficult to think clearly, harder to focus, and is just exhausting all around. Activities like meditation and exercise have been proven to help reduce stress levels. Some apps are quite effective too. Otherwise, a basic starter: Take two or three deep breaths in and out. Close your eyes or stare at a plant or a point on a wall for three minutes.
Try intermittent fasting
Another option: intermittent fasting—limiting your eating window to 10 hours per day—may also improve brain fog. Some researchers believe that intermittent fasting causes new brain cell growth, called neurogenesis. By giving your body a break from digesting, you’re actually giving your brain a break as well.
Monitor Your Medications
Certain drugs can amplify brain fog. Supplements too. It’s best to check with your doctor if you suspect a substance you’re taking–both over the counter or prescription- is exacerbating your brain fog.