We need our brains to be in optimal function in order to manage this chaotic world. Our brains are the main control center for every process in our bodies. From autonomic functions that we do not consciously think about, like breathing and our heartbeat, to our unconscious thoughts and memories. There are 100 billion nerve cells and trillions of supportive cells in the brain, and it weighs in at 2% of your total body weight! Your brain is the most active organ in your body and consumes 20-30% of the calories you eat on a daily basis. This means, you really need to eat right to think right!
Lately I’ve been hearing people talk a lot about “brain fog”, like they just can’t think clearly. Is this the beginning signs of Dementia? They have similarities but no, dementia is different than brain fog as it is a progressive disease that affects your overall ability to function in society. Dementia will impact your day to day tasks. Brain fog is difficulty concentrating mostly, but like dementia, it does affect your memory, concentration, ability to process new information, finding the right words to say or having trouble problem solving.
What Causes Brain Fog?
The cause can be related to hormones fluctuating, vitamin or mineral deficiency, dehydration, chronic stress, chronic fatigue, food sensitivities, mold toxicity, resonating infections or toxins in your body or even depression. Addressing the root cause can be one of the hardest steps to get to, because it can be one or several reasons you are experiencing the foggy thinking. This is where a holistic nurse can be of great benefit, we have a special way of really diving deep into your history and pin pointing the cause of the problem.
What Are Ways That I Can Improve My Brain Health Today?
Starting with hydration can be a big important step. Your brain is 80% water. We need to consume adequate amounts of quality fluids daily to maintain the delicate water balance. This is an important conductor of electrical activity in the brain, which is how the brain communicates with the body.
Nutrition is equally important. Consuming a colorful varied diet along with quality fats is needed to feed the brain. Omega 3 contains DHA which largely makes up the grey matter composition of your brain. You can find this in Hemp Seeds, Walnuts, Olives and Sardines for example. Fat also forms the neurons in the brain and helps to support emotional balance and boost mood. Colorful fruits and vegetables contain Vitamin C, E and beta carotene which acts as antioxidants to prevent the buildup of free radicals that can cause damage to the delicate brain cells. Lastly, eating a protein source with each meal will stabilize blood sugars and prevent a surge of brain fog that can be triggered by higher glucose levels in the blood from eating simple carbohydrates (like that morning muffin or granola bar). Protein sources would include nuts, seeds, lean meats, soy and full fat dairy products for example.
Exercise is needed to improve the amount of oxygen in the blood, which supplies the brain. Did you know your brain uses 20% of the oxygen you breathe? Just 30 mins of exercise a day will really boost the oxygen levels in your blood and your brain! If 30 mins isn’t doable, try 15 mins in the morning before work or during your coffee break. Next is 15 mins after supper, take a friend (or furry friend) and walk off the day’s stress.
Exercising your mind is equally important. This can be done by learning a new skill, language or hobby. Playing a musical instrument, practicing meditation or doing puzzles, like Sudoku, can all be very beneficial in keeping those neurons firing in your brain correctly. Neuroplasticity exercises like these, can rewire the brain and improve the communication signals. It actually changes the way your brain works, especially after a brain injury such as a stroke or major concussion.
If you don’t use it, you can lose it when it comes to brain function. So many of us are guilty of mindlessly scrolling on our phones or watching videos that are just for a laugh. This actually doesn’t encourage any brain development, rather it over activates the reward center of the brain- making us want more. It is more of a stimulatory effect that can overwhelm our neural pathways and contribute to anxiety or depression. Also, excessive use of the internet has be attributed to poor concentration and a decrease in short-term memory. Maybe it’s because we feel we can just look it up later and don’t actually put any conscious thought into what we are looking at?
Can You Reverse The Damage?
Yes absolutely, you can regain brain matter even in severe cases as evidenced by brain scans. There has been documentation showing the regeneration of brain tissue in those with advanced Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Traumatic Brain Injuries in as little as 2 months.
You are not stuck with the brain you have, even if you have been bad to it. If you change your brain, you can change your life. Optimal brain function leads to more happiness, the ability to make better decisions which can impact your relationships, career and finances. Overall, you will be in a healthier state as these practices will influence the rest of your body’s function.
If you are interested in discovering more about improving your brain health, book in for a consult today and we can explore this further.
RN & Student Coach
Hello! My name is Lacey Malowski and I will be practicing out of the Red Deer office. I’ve been a Registered Nurse now for over 10 years and have practiced in the fields of Acute Care, Emergency, Palliative Care, Hemodialysis for those with Kidney Failure and Outpatient clinics managing Autoimmune disease. My passion is helping those with Chronic Diseases improve their quality of life by addressing the Root Cause of their illness and alleviate symptoms through diet and lifestyle practices. I have additional certifications in Advanced Holistic Nutrition and Functional Hormone Balance, currently I am studying autoimmunity causes, boosting natural immunity and treating Long Covid symptoms. My hobbies include gardening, hiking, kayaking, and motorsports. I try to be outside as much as possible as I believe it is an important aspect in healing our mind and body.