Tag Archive: diet

  1. What is Brain Fog?

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    Your mind may feel like the fog has just rolled in, and you wonder if it will ever roll out again.  Do you ever feel like a word is on the tip of your tongue?   Or perhaps you walk into rooms and can’t recall what you were there for.   Imagine if these symptoms persisted over weeks or even months.  Brain fog refers to feelings of mental confusion or a lack of mental sharpness.

    Symptoms of Brain Fog

    *  Forgetfulness
    *  Feeling detached or depressed
    *  Mild difficulty with word finding
    *  Processing information more slowly

    Brain fog is not considered a formal diagnosis because testing is not clearly defined.  Women may complain of these symptoms during menopause, particularly during the peri-menopausal period.   Periodic changes in cognitive skills for women are believed to be related to hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy, shortly after childbirth and during menopause.

    There are also other causes for brain fog, or the mild cognitive decline, that frustrate so many people during periods of their adulthood.  Brain fog may lower self-esteem and can sometimes lead to depression if not properly addressed.

    10 Causes of Brain Fog      

    *   Exposure to toxic metals
    *   A copper imbalance in the blood – birth control pills can make this condition worse
    *   Dehydration
    *   Food Allergies or Poor Nutrition
    *   Hypoglycemia
    *   Thyroid imbalance
    *   Poor diet
    *   Stress
    *   Artificial sweeteners
    *   Fibromyalgia

    If symptoms of brain fog persist, be sure to consult with your physician to rule out potentially treatable causes of brain fog.   Talk with a friend or family member about your symptoms and frustrations – this can put your mind at ease and allow you an outlet to vent.   Finally, challenge your brain in new ways each day.  Simple activities like crosswords, brain games, physical exercise and music can help energize your mind and ease your symptoms.

  2. Fixing Your Sugary Brain

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    If you’ve ever ordered dessert when you’re already full, or reached for a pint of ice cream when you’re stressed, you’ve experienced emotional eating. Emotional eating is attempting to use food to boost your mood or feel better.

    And using food occasionally as a pick me up, a reward, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, when eating is your main emotional coping mechanism—when your first impulse is to rip open a bag of Oreos whenever you’re upset, or stressed, or bored—you get stuck in an awful pattern that’s bad for both your brain and your body.

    Not sure if you are an emotional eater? Answer these questions to discover if you may have a problem.

    Emotional Eater Checklist

    *Do you always eat more when you’re feeling stressed?

    *Do you reward yourself with food?

    *Does food feel like a friend?

    *Do you feel powerless or out of control around food?

    Taking Steps to Break the Cycle

    Identify Your Triggers. The first step in putting a stop to emotional eating is identifying your personal triggers. What situations, places, or feelings make you reach for sugary comfort foods? Keep an emotional eating diary. Make note of events or feelings that are happening when you reach for a sugar fix.

    Feed Your Emotions in Other Ways. If you’re feeling down, call someone who lifts your spirits. If you’re anxious, take a walk to burn some of that nervous energy. If you’re exhausted, treat yourself with a hot cup of coffee or tea. If you’re bored, change tasks or read something inspiring.

    Choose a Healthy Lifestyle. Invest in yourself. When you’re physically strong, relaxed, and well rested, you’re better able to handle the curveballs that life inevitably throws your way. Exercise, sleep, and other healthy lifestyle habits will help you get through difficult times without emotional eating.

  3. 10 Tips to Improve Your Memory

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    Walk into a room and forget why you came?  Can’t recall the name of the new neighbor you just met yesterday?  You are not alone. We all forget things from time to time. Yet, memory loss can be a more serious condition.  While there is not an iron-clad solution to prevent memory loss or dementia, there are a number of brain fitness tips to reduce our risk and improve our memory function.  Try these ten simple tips to boost your memory.   Talk with your doctor when you feel you need help.

    No. 1: Exercise your body

    Physical exercise is still the number one thing you can do for your brain.  When we exercise, oxygen and blood flow to the brain increase which helps to support improvements in short-term memory function and retrieval of information.  Aim to break a sweat every day.

    No. 2: Exercise your mind

    Cross-training is the best way to improve memory function. On Monday, dive into a new book.  On Tuesday, play 15 minutes of brain games.  Try Making Curfew on BrainSpade.com to challenge your visual memory skills.  Continue to tackle new challenges for the remainder of the week – card games, board games, or even trying a new recipe are all part of keeping your memory fit.

    No. 3: Keep it Social

    Maintaining social relationships helps to reduce stress levels and depression, both of which are major contributors to memory decline. Make plans to spend time with friends and family.

    No. 4: De-Clutter

    Forgetting things can be more of a problem if your home is in disarray. Organize papers and throw away things that aren’t needed.  Get in the habit of putting your keys and other important items in the same place each day.

    No. 5: Stop Multi-Tasking

    Resist the urge of tackling multiple tasks at once.  Multi-tasking elevates stress which can hinder memory function. Divide your day into chunks and concentrate for periods of time before stopping to do other things.

    No. 6: Turn Up the Music

    Studies show that listening to music can improve our ability to recall information.  Choose music that lifts your spirits and add that into the mix when you are exercising, cleaning, or working on something familiar.

    No. 7: Eat Your Veggies

    A diet rich in dark-green leafy vegetables is essential for keeping your memory strong.  Find creative ways to add more greens to your diet.  Look for green smoothie recipes as a start.  Dr. Oz has an excellent spinach smoothie which is actually quite tasty: Dr. Oz’s Green Drink.

    No. 8: Spice Things Up

    Countries like India that incorporate a variety of spices into their daily diet, show a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s and other dementia related illnesses.  Look for new recipes and menu options that incorporate spices like cumin, cinnamon and ginger into your diet.

    No. 9: Drink Up

    Are you staying fully hydrated?  Our brain is made up of 75% water.  By the time you feel thirsty, you are already a bit dehydrated.   If you don’t enjoy drinking water consider dropping in fresh lemon, basil or cucumber.  Herbal tea is a great option too.

    No. 10: BrainSpade.com

    We would be remiss if we didn’t share that our team of clinicians are hard at work developing new brain exercises and brain teasers to keep your mind sharp, challenge your memory, and boost your spirit. Remember to make Brain Games part of your daily routine.

  4. Top 7 Brain Benefits of Drinking Water

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    The human brain is made up of approximately 75% water, so it is no surprise that dehydration has a dramatic effect on brain health.

    Dehydration

    Dehydration takes place when there is a deficit of water and salts that are essential for regular bodily functions.   Mineral imbalances hinder normal brain operation.  Mental fatigue, memory problems, and mental confusion can result when the brain isn’t properly hydrated.  Grey matter in the brain actually shrinks, and chronic long term dehydration can cause the brain to age prematurely.

    How Dehydration Impacts Your Brain

    *   Mental fatigue
    *   Problems with information processing
    *   Mood changes
    *   Premature aging of the brain

    Drinking filtered spring water is the best way to stay hydrated.  If you take your body weight and divide it by two, you will have calculated the ounces of water you need to consume per day.  Soda, coffee, and black tea are acidic beverages, so they don’t count toward your daily hydration goal.

    7 Brain Benefits of Staying Hydrated

    Discover why drinking to your brain health really can make a difference in your life:

    1.  Supports healthy brain cells
    2.  Improves concentration
    3.  Helps to balance mood and emotions
    4.  Improves quality of your sleep
    5.  Maintain memory function
    6.  Eliminates toxins and free radicals from your blood
    7.  Improves blood flow and oxygen to the brain

  5. 9 Tips for Training Your Brain Today

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    While nothing has been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, there is abundant research showing we can delay the onset of mental decline by building a brain-healthy lifestyle.  Here are some tips to training your brain today.

    1.  Sleep. Sleep defragments your brain and organizes information you’ve learned during the day.

    2.  Focus. Quit the multi-tasking. It not only lowers your productivity but it may increase your risk for dementia when you are older.

    3.  Exercise in small bursts. Take the stairs. Walk the block. Try a tango class. Exercise is still the number one thing you can do for your brain.

    4.  Play games. Games are good for your brain and variety is key. When you tackle new problems, you form new neural pathways.

    5.  Meditate. No tie-dye T-shirt required. Clear your mind and focus on positive things.

    6.  Make time for fun. Laughter enhances creativity and lowers stress. Your brain thrives on fun.

    7.  Drink more fluids. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already slightly dehydrated.

    8.  Target your working memory. Make a point to push yourself to store details quickly. Work on names and faces to start.

    9.  Be aware that your brain makes mistakes. When solving a problem, ask yourself what the big picture really looks like. Are you afraid of change? Experiment more.

  6. Top 5 Brain Benefits of Eating Fish

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    Fish is not just good for our heart; fish is amazingly good for our brain.  Read on to discover the brain health benefits associated with consuming fish and fish oil.

    1.      Salmon is high in Omega-3 fatty acids which help to support memory skills.
    2.      Eating fish helps to reduce depression and reduce anxiety.  Studies show that eating fish 2-3 times per week is effective in balancing mood and stress levels.
    3.      The human brain soaks up Omega-3s like a sponge.  Fish Oil supplements may be a good alternative to your diet and should be discussed with your doctor.
    4.      Eating fish helps to reduce your risk for age-related decline of the brain and reduces your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related illnesses.
    5.      Consuming fish such as mackerel, sardines and swordfish help to improve conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

    Talk with your local market to discover what brain-healthy fish they sell fresh.  Look for wild-caught fish wherever possible.  Talk with your doctor about adding fish oil to your diet.

  7. Top 6 Health Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate

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    Wondering if dark chocolate is good for you?  The answer is absolutely – in moderation.  Scientists have recently discovered many positive health benefits you can receive from eating this decadent treat.

    1) Dark Chocolate Improves Blood Flow to the Brain.

    Eating dark chocolate helps send blood and oxygen to the brain, which helps boost concentration and problem-solving skills.  Consuming dark chocolate can also help reduce your overall risk for having a stroke.

    2) Dark Chocolate Keeps Your Teeth Strong

    Dark chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine.  Theobromine has been shown to harden tooth enamel. So unlike most sweets, which can lead to cavities, dark chocolate can actually help protect your beautiful smile.

    3) Dark Chocolate is a Heart-Healthy Treat

    Research proves that consuming dark chocolate a few times each week can actually help lower your blood pressure. Because dark chocolate increases blood flow, it may also prevent blood clots from developing.  More good news?  Dark chocolate can play a role in reducing your risk for arteriosclerosis.

    4) Dark Chocolate Boosts Your Mood

    Dark chocolate includes a number of chemical compounds that help boost your mood. Chocolate has long been considered an aphrodisiac because it contains phenylethylamine (PEA).  This is the same chemical your brain produces when you fall in love. PEA causes your brain to release endorphins, which lift your mood and make you feel happier.

    5) Dark Chocolate Helps Protect Against Diabetes

    Dark chocolate helps to increase circulation and protect blood vessels. Flavonoids, found in dark chocolate, also help your body to use insulin efficiently. Finally, dark chocolate is low on the glycemic index, which means it won’t cause large spikes in blood sugar levels.

    6) Dark Chocolate Helps Fight Free Radical Damage

    Loaded with antioxidants, dark chocolate helps free your body of free radicals, which can cause damage to cells. Free radicals cause more rapid aging and can lead to cancer.  Consuming a variety of antioxidant-rich foods like dark chocolate can help protect you from numerous cancers.

  8. Understanding Leptin and the Impact on Your Brain

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    Did you know that hunger is regulated in our brains?

    The hypothalamus controls appetite and is responsible for maintenance of body weight.  Leptin, a hormone produced in our fat cells, sends a signal to the hypothalamus that you are full.  The result is you stop eating.  When adequate leptin is not present or the receptors on the brain are not working correctly the result is overeating.

    How can you maintain proper leptin levels?

    One way is to monitor fructose consumption.   Have you ever noticed that you can eat sweets and never seem to get full?  Too much fructose makes your brain resistant to leptin.  The largest concentration of fructose comes in sodas, juices, energy drinks, and sweets.  Other hidden sources include ketchup, salad dressings, bottled sauces, and most pre-packaged foods.

    Avoiding high-fructose foods and beverages will keep your brain sharp so you can push away from the table when you are full.

    Article by Lisa Lineberg, Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist who holds a BS in Exercise Physiology