Have you ever experienced brain fog?
You know, when you’re stressed and you feel your brain function has declined and maybe some anxiety starts getting in the way…
But if we are talking about brain fog from a thyroid perspective – thyroid brain – then we are looking at how the blood flow slows down. Actually, anything to do with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s means that things can slow right down, and it really affects how our brain functions. If you have a thyroid condition, do you see a correlation between brain fog and a thyroid flare up? I do.
We often take our brain for granted, that it’ll always work and always be functioning well. But I find that we can often feel blank, that we walk into a room and forget why we’re there. Is it a sign of ageing? It doesn’t have to be.
In fact, how we eat really affects how our brain works. Your gut is your second brain and it’s processing the fuel your brain gets. When we’re not eating the right kinds of foods, then it can have a cascade effect. Our gut health deteriorates and then our clarity of thought goes. Our brain actually takes 40% of what we eat – that’s a lot! Picture in your mind right now what you ate today, now see how much of that is turning into fuel for your brain.
So what we need to do is consume very nutrient-dense foods. What are nutrient-dense foods? Foods with high levels of vitamins and minerals, complex carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats. SO many people are having a lot of packaged foods, these are high in saturated fats, high in simple carbohydrates…now thyroid does love carbohydrates but not when we have too much, and packaged foods often tip us over the edge.
So what’s happening when you eat these pre packaged low nutrient density foods? It causes inflammation in the gut, meaning you don’t digest your food, you don’t absorb your nutrients then your brain doesn’t get anything and it’s starving. Literally the brain is starving when we’ve got brain fog and unable to think! When the brain is unable to think and communicate with our gut, our gut will then start to develop its own symptoms like irritable bowl, gastritis, h. pylori, reflux, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and leaky gut. All these things go hand in hand with a healthy diet. So avoid foods with high saturated fats and xenoestrogens (these mimic estrogens but block the absorption of good minerals into the body) and go for these recommendations instead:
Blueberries – Half a cup of antioxidant rich blueberries a day can make a big difference! Fresh is brilliant but if snap frozen in a bag is more convenient/all that’s available for you then that is fine.
Avocados – Full of good unsaturated fats, keeps you fuller for longer and you can only eat these when they are fresh and ripe.
Salmon – Is rich in high-quality essential fatty acids, such as omega 3. Omega 3 helps to provide more oxygen to the brain, contributing to better memory.
Walnuts – Walnuts are a source of high DHA plant based omega 3 acids, they even look like little brains!
MCT Oil – Is a medium chain triglyceride. Triglycerides are found in the blood and help convert calories. Usually found in coconut oil, you are able to purchase bottles of pure MCT easily.
Dark Chocolate – is full of antioxidants and minerals, look for the 70% or above varieties. Or pure raw cacao is also brilliant to consume.
Ceylon Cinnamon – Known as true cinnamon, it is fantastic as an anti inflammatory, antioxidant and has antimicrobial effects which are great for our immune system.
Coffee – now only in small amounts and if your adrenals can handle it, as it is processed by the liver. Otherwise it will have the opposite effect and make you more tired and give you more brain fog.
Turmeric – is fantastic for any and all inflammation, especially in the brain. It’s full of antioxidants as well as proteins and minerals that help repair the brain.
Avoid – gluten, dairy and GMO (genetically modified) foods. These will go straight for your weak spot like your gut or muscles, and irritate.
So making sure that we take all those pre-packaged foods out of our diet and replace them with really good nutrient-dense foods makes a really big difference to how well our brain functions. And that is the REALLY important part. We find standard Australian diets, same as a standard American diet, is so high in crap food that we have a higher rate of brain disorders like anxiety, depression, ADHD and other disorders that impact brain activity and brain fog. One of the things that is shown specifically with Hashimoto’s, Graves disease and hypothyroidism is that we have a higher likelihood of Alzheimer’s and so we really want to focus on helping our brain stay healthy now, so that doesn’t happen in the future.
So here are my top tips on thinking clearer and creating better concentration!
Living Conscientiously – this means being diligent and caring with everything you do. Live with gratitude, keep a journal and write out three things every day.
Positive people – Support yourself with positive people, they will uplift you and that helps your brain fire and makes all those little neurons light up! If you are around people that are less than ideal, you will find yourself sucked down on that level and carrying those low moods and mindsets. You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with, so choose wisely who you want to rub off on you.
Stress management – The moment you have stress, your body starts to shut everything off, your digestion goes funny, your brain turns off and of course that leads to more brain fog and the extra tension is stored in your body. So it’s important to move your body, exercise, go for a walk, get some Vitamin D every day, yoga, pilates, running – just do something that moves you and gets the blood flowing all the way around.
Sleep – Get enough unbroken sleep, between 7-8 hours, this one really is SO IMPORTANT as it’s the time your body and brain gets to repair itself so it doesn’t get that time then it will switch off leaving you to procrastinate and walk around in brain fog.
New Skills – Constantly learning and challenging your brain! This is great, as it helps to create new neurotransmitter pathways and also creates a surge of feel good hormones/chemicals when you conquer this new challenge and achieve a new skill. This also means you feel good more often which leads to more energy, and who doesn’t want that!
So my last tip is to avoid toxins as much as possible, start with small choices like choosing organic food and skin care products. A saying I live by is don’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat and try using natural cleaning products. Even if you do this one at a time it will make a big difference to your life and I promise you will be happier.
If you have any questions or would like more detailed tips then I’d love to meet with you in one of my personalised consultations! Click here to book.