Do you frequently walk into a room and forget why you’re there?
Do you have a hard time staying focused?
Or do you just not have the same mental endurance you used to in college?
The good news is, you are not alone.
I see dozens of patients a week, in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, who complain of a lack of mental energy, brain fog, and cognitive issues they can’t chock up to a “senior moment”.
The not-so-good news is, despite its growing prevalence, this is NOT normal for young to middle-age adults.
But there is a LOT you can do to fix it without resorting to drugs, sugar, or other stimulants.
Get ready to clear your mental cobwebs and boost your brain power, and reset your memory with today’s tips on natural ways to improve cognitive function.
Brain Fog Tip #1: Take a nature break at least once a day every day
There have been a lot of studies surfacing lately about the beneficial effects of nature and greenspace for children with attention and other cognitive disorders.
The same rings true for adults.
This peer-reviewed, published study completed by two professors of psychology proved that time spent immersed in nature improved cognition by increasing the creative problem solving abilities of their subjects by a whopping 50%!
Likewise, this report from the University of Michigan demonstrated the restorative benefits of brief encounters in nature, or looking at pictures of natural landscapes, to cognitive function and control.
But the benefits of time spent in greenspace don’t stop there. For a full look at all the proven benefits of taking “nature breaks”, check out this article from the University of Washington.
Brain Fog Tip #2: Reduce these inflammatory foods
Chronic inflammation is a leading cause of cognitive issues in adults, children, and seniors.
What better way to feed and nourish your brain than cutting back on the foods that add inflammatory fuel to the fire?
Here’s a list of the worst inflammatory foods to restrict in your diet
- Refined sugar—sugar binds to amino acids in your body to form compounds called advanced glycation end products, or “AGEs” for short, that cause premature aging.
Plus it feeds the “bad” bacteria in your gut which contributes to the “brain fog” so many experience daily.
- Refined grains and white potatoes—some people find reducing ALL grains helps them immensely
- Alcohol—depresses your memory, immunity, and causes the same effects as sugar
- Excess caffeine—coffee and green tea are rich in antioxidants and a cup a day, or a couple cups of green tea is fine, but don’t go nuts
- Processed foods—are loaded with mind-altering chemicals, loads of sugar, and other unsavory ingredients. Limit them as much as you can.
- High-fat foods—as in the ones with refined oils. Instead, stick to moderate amounts of healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, and pastured butter.
Brain Fog Tip #3: Take up a mindfulness practice
I’ve shared before about how learning mindfulness is what saved me during my health crisis in college.
Mindfulness, the practice of calming and focusing your mind and intention on the task or experience at hand, has been practiced since the beginning of time.
And modern psychological science is starting to catch up to its cognitive benefits.
A variety of published studies prove mindful meditation helps with improving memory, reducing anxiety, increasing focus and concentration, and increasing productivity.
In addition, this study from the American Journal of Hypertension proved mindfulness meditation helps reduce blood pressure. This is significant as imbalances in blood pressure can negatively affect your cognition, no matter what your age.
Brain Fog Tip #4: Grab the right type of nap
I mentioned in a previous post “Help and Hope for the Sleep Deprived” how even a 6-minute nap can improve you long-term memory.
But what’s the right type or ideal length of a nap?
Research suggests healthy adults keep their power naps under 30 minutes to maximize the benefits of improved learning, wakefulness, and enhanced overall performance.
Brain Fog Tip #5: Try these brain-boosting supplements
Though there are a lot of products that claim to improve memory and boost cognitive function, these are some of the ones I frequently recommend:
- B-12—B12 deficiency is extremely common. By optimizing your B12 levels you can expect an overall improvement in cognitive function and memory. This study explains B12’s neuroprotective properties.
- Bacopa—though most of us think “Ginkgo” when it comes to herbs for memory, the Ayurvedic herb Bacopa is backed by an impressive body of research on its ability to enhance cognition by nourishing and protecting our neurons.
- High DHA Fish Oil—fish has long been promoted as “brain food”, but its cognitive benefits are derived from fish oil’s naturally-occurring DHA, which can help reverse cognitive dysfunction, and Vitamin A levels, which have been proven to improve memory and delay brain aging.
Again, just because brain fog is common (especially during the parenting years) doesn’t make it normal.
Don’t spend years and years functioning at sub-optimal brain power when you could be out living your dreams and changing the world.
With so many easy, natural, and affordable ways to naturally improve your memory, enhance your focus, and boost cognitive function there is no reason to miss out on your best self…
…or keep forgetting why you walked into the kitchen (-:.