Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Got Brain Fog? This Will Help!

Can what we eat really help clear out brain fog? It sure can. Eating the right foods can actually affect the chemicals in our brains. Gary Wenk, PhD, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Ohio State University and author of Your Brain on Food, says that foods are chemicals similar to the ones in the brain which is why they can affect how the brain works and also why food can be addictive. Eating certain foods can help us focus, improve mood, improve concentration and clear out pesky brain fog.

How Food Works On Brain Fog
Certain types of foods help clear out brain fog by giving us a boost in the chemicals the brain uses to regulate mood and brain function. This would be chemicals like norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. For example, carbohydrates contain a nonessential amino acid, tryptophan. Tryptophan goes to the brain helping to create serotonin which is a mood regulator. So eating foods with good carbs like whole grains, legumes, veggies and fruits leads to improved mood and brain functions such as concentration. Many protein rich foods such as red meat, dairy products, nuts, seeds, legumes, soybeans, tuna, shellfish, and turkey can also increase tryptophan levels.

Here are some other ways to eat your way to a better functioning brain and avoid brain fog.

Omega-3
This polyunsaturated fatty acid has been researched to see the link between it and depression. Results indicate that adding omega-3s to your diet can help with depression as they affect the neurotransmitter pathways in the brain. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, herring and mackerel as well as flaxseed, olive oil, walnuts and bluegreen algae are all good sources for omega-3.

Folate
Folate is a B vitamin the brain needs to produce chemicals that affect mood. Harvard Medical School researchers found that increasing folate levels in depressed patients did give them a mood boost. Eating green leafy foods like spinach, Brussels sprouts and asparagus can help increase your folate levels.

Chocolate
Here's one most of us are happy to see on the list. Chocolate! There are studies showing chocolate can affect the brain much like marijuana does. It gives an extra boost to brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. A study in the UK attributed the antioxidant polyphenols found in cocoa as a cause for increased calmness and contentment which could of course help in the way we think and are able to concentrate. Unsweetened dark chocolate has the amino acid tryptophan which helps with mood boosting. This doesn't mean we have a license to indulge in unlimited milk chocolate bon bons however. Chocolate does still have sugar and adds calories so stick to dark chocolate with cocoa content of 65 percent or higher and in moderation to get the most benefits.

Caffeine
The Archives of Internal Medicine reported a research study in 2011 that found a 20% lower risk of depression in women that drank 4 or more cups of coffee daily. The conclusion is that caffeine can affect serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors that monitor adenosine levels that make us drowsy and bring on brain fog. This opens the way for brain stimulates like dopamine and glutamate to operate more fully.

Bluegreen Alage
The type of bluegreen alage that is the heart of the algae with the cell wall removed is especially useful for enhancing activity in the brain. Since the brain is the most nutrient-demanding organ in the body, bluegreen algae provides whole food nutrition to help feed it and the amino acids found in that are the building blocks of healthy nerve cells and neurotransmitters vital for proper brain function. Bluegreen algae also provides essential omega-3 fatty acids and helps maintain normal, healthy blood chemistry of the blood that feeds the brain.

Another bluegreen algae supplement that can help in avoiding brain fog was originally created for high-performance athletes and active lifestyles where concentration and mental clarity were particularly important. This supplement combines organic wild bluegreen algae, eleuthero, Ginkgo biloba, Lion's Mane, bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, and noni which all help contribute to brain health and function.

Adding some of these types of healthy foods can have many other health benefits, but if you are looking for ways to clear up brain fog then these are a few foods that can help you eat your way to clearer thinking.

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Image courtesy of samuiblue / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/how-food-affects-your-moods
http://www.oprah.com/health/Foods-That-Boost-Your-Mood-Food-That-Improves-Your-Mood/
http://www.prevention.com/food/smart-shopping/5-foods-make-you-happier

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