Ah, good ol’ brain fog…
“Where the heck did I put my keys?”
“I can’t possibly have forgotten to buy butter!”
“I used to be able to do three things at once!”
Most women aren’t strangers to this oh-so-annoying state. Whether it be during the days when you’re having babies and trying to keep it all together while running after them, or later in life when you’re trying to keep it all together after having spent all those years running them all around – most of us have been affected by more than our fair share of brain fog. For years, as with so many things, I attributed my brain fog to just a function of life with four kids and it was baaaad. I’ve also heard many women chalk it up to age. It turns out, they both most certainly contribute to it.
What Causes Brain fog?
Stress is one of the most common causes of brain fog. Shocker, I know. Simply put, repeated or chronic stress tires the brain, making it more difficult to think, reason, and focus on things. Of course, the actual chemical reaction that happens in the body as a result of stress is somewhat more complicated than that, but for our purposes, it’s just important to know that stress has a direct effect on mental clarity. And between kids, jobs, and life these days, stress is a thing for pretty much everyone.
Lack of sleep is another contributor to brain fog. Growing babies, having babies, bringing up babies and even sending said “babies” off to take their place in the world it’s no wonder brain fog is a real issue for so many women!
Hormonal changes…well, see “lack of sleep”, above. And add to that, the normal hormonal changes our bodies go through, regardless of if we have kids or not.
What we eat has a profound effect on our mental capacity and therefore, brain fog. We spend much of life dealing with chronically raised stress levels, often times running on less than enough sleep, and trying to cope with all the hormonal changes we go through over the years, if we’re not fueling our bodies sufficiently, our brains are going to suffer. It’s that simple. Stress depletes nutrients, so if we’re not eating a diet of whole, nutrient-dense foods (and enough of them), brain fog becomes even more of an issue.
You gotta balance that blood sugar!
Obviously, these factors affect many different things in the body, but one thing they all have an effect on is blood sugar regulation. Blood sugar imbalances are a huge problem for so many women and most of us don’t have a clue. I talk a lot about blood sugar and why it’s important to keep it balanced in this post, but today, my focus is on how we can use breakfast to help get it back inbalanse.
One of the best ways to help regulate blood sugar is by eating breakfast. Easy-peasy. I find particularly concerning when I see many young women in their teens and early 20s not eating breakfast – so many females in that age group are dealing with anxiety, hormonal, and weight issues and starting the day off with healthy meal would have a significant improvement in those things.
My best little tidbit of advice for combating brain fog is to eat breakfast. But you do have to be a bit deliberate in choosing what to eat…the typical bowl of cereal or piece of toast aren’t necessarily the best choices. Here are a few guidelines to remember when it comes to eating breakfast:
- DO eat breakfast every single day;
- DO eat “30 within 30” – 30 g of protein, within 30 minutes of waking up;
- DO include fiber and fat if eating a high glycemic index food(GI 70 or above), like cereal or toast.
- DON’T skip breakfast;
- DON’T have just coffee for breakfast;
- DON’T wait too long to eat after waking.
If brain fog is an issue for you, I can’t stress enough how much of a difference eating a healthy breakfast will make. If you find it difficult to eat when you first wake up (this is actually a clear sign of blood sugar imbalance!), start with just a small amount of food and gradually work up to more. I speak from experience when I say that it’s totally worth any effort and time it takes to eat well in the morning. I struggled with brain fog, big time, for many years, but it’s now a thing of the past for me…even with perimenopause upon me! If you’re tired of dealing with the irritation of brain fog, eating breaky is the best place to start!