Are you feeling unproductive? Do you have trouble concentrating even when your blood sugar is just right, and you have had eight hours of sleep? You may likely be experiencing what’s known as brain fog. Brain fog is a condition that’s characterized by confusion, lack of concentration, and inability to think as sharply as you usually do. It’s not a medical condition, but it may indicate an underlying medical condition that can range from dehydration to several undiagnosed illnesses. And while environmental factors may contribute to this condition, several foods may also cause brain fog. In this post, we look at five foods that can cause brain fog. Let’s take a closer look at these foods.
Perhaps the biggest culprit for brain fog maybe your favorite processed meat. Whether you go for bacon for breakfast or sausage for lunch and dinner, know that processed meats are loaded with sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, and a lot of preservatives. And while these additives are approved for use by the FDA, the World Health Organization classifies them as Group 1 carcinogens. The use of these chemicals is linked to several illnesses and health conditions, including brain fog.
Research suggests that individuals who reduced their consumption of processed foods or eliminated their use experienced better mental clarity and felt more energized.
A better alternative to processed meats is incorporating some fresh lean produce instead of pepperoni, sausages, and bacon. Fresh meat is loaded with protein and other essential nutrients. Moreover, when you combine fresh sources of meat with vegetables and fruits, you can get the energy you need to stay active all day long.
Another type of food that’s likely to contribute to brain fog is artificial sweeteners. While aspartame is a commonly used artificial sweetener, it is also one of the most controversial ones as it can cause brain fog. When aspartame goes down the digestive system and breaks down into different compounds such as methanol, phenylalanine, and aspartic acid, some of these compounds can pass through the blood-brain barrier and excite the brain cells. When this happens, it can lead to confusion, fatigue, balance issues, and brain fog.
Hence, it is always best to go for natural alternatives to sugar instead of opting for artificial sweeteners. Agave nectar, honey, and maple syrup are natural sugar alternatives that are safe for consumption and do not contribute to brain fog.
Sometimes, the reason behind your brain fog are none other than your favorite alcoholic beverage. While occasional celebration with the drinks may seem natural, regular excessive alcohol consumption can lead to brain fog. Several components of alcohol lead to increased sensitivity and also cause allergic reactions and result in brain fog. Some of the ingredients that can lead to brain fog and may worsen the condition include
- Sulfite additives
Moreover, apart from brain fog, excessive alcohol consumption can significantly increase your risk of several illnesses, including chronic liver disease, insomnia, and other serious health concerns. Hence, it is always good to stick to the recommended alcohol consumption, which is no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men.
If you are looking for beverages that can improve brain fog and are energizing and tasty, then non-caffeinated, herbal teas, including green tea, maybe your best bet.
If you prefer to keep your lunch light with salads, but your greens are loaded with a good dose of salad dressing, it may be one of the culprits that can cause brain fog. Most of the salad dressings contain the secret, tasting-enhancing ingredient known as monosodium glutamate (MSG). You can find MSG in almost all processed foods, including pre-made soups, salad dressings, and canned food.
MSG contains free glutamic acid that changes into glutamate once it goes down the body. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that facilitates the transmission of signals between neurons in the brain. However, too much glutamate can be toxic for your brain and may even lead to death. Moreover, too much glutamate in the body can also deprive you of powerful antioxidants that your body needs to fight off the free radicals in the environment.
But here is the trickiest part.
You can’t identify foods with MSG as the flavoring agent goes by several names. The best way to protect yourself against the undesirable effects of MSG is to avoid bottled salad dressings. Moreover, try to add a variety of unprocessed foods to your diet along with a lot of whole grains that will keep your gut and mind active and healthy.
If you experience brain fog when you consume dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, or milk, you may have a sensitivity (and not necessarily an allergy) to dairy products. For individuals who have sensitivity to dairy products, their bodies view the protein in dairy as a threat and produce anti-bodies to fight off the potential danger. As a result of this reaction taking place inside your body, you may experience brain fog. Some of the individuals who are sensitive to dairy products may also experience similar symptoms after consuming eggs.
To get rid of brain fog while maintaining your supply of protein and calcium, you can resort to dairy alternatives, including almond milk and coconut milk.
Don’t worry if your favorite food is on this list of foods that can cause brain fog. You can always find natural alternatives that are healthy and can keep you energized all day long. If some of your most commonly consumed foods are on this list, try cutting them gradually and see a significant improvement in your mental clarity!