Do you every have trouble concentrating, multitasking, or coming up with a word? It happens to us all the time. Brain fog can be very alarming for midlife women.
Our brain controls our bodily functions and behaviour, as well as the way you think and feel. When we reach menopause it may seem as if your brain has a mind of it’s own. You may become more irritable than usual, have hot flashes that interfere with sleep and thinking clearly during the day of misplacing items.
Hormonal changes are likely to blame for the memory lapses, moodiness and fatigue. Declining estrogen levels and aging increase the chances of conditions that affect the brain as much as they can affect the heart. The risk of having a stroke doubles in a decade after menopause.
The hippocampus, the part of the brain that stores most memory is particularly vulnerable to hormonal shifts. Research has shown that perimenopausal and menopausal women are less efficient at processing glucose in the brain, which can hinder mental sharpness and energy levels because the brain requires a constant supply of glucose to perform at peak function.
Healthy habits help with both the effects off estrogen loss and getting older. There are ways on how to help your brain stay sharp, feel energetic and safeguard the brain. (1)
It is important to maintain a well-balanced diet, combined with vitamins and minerals
Also, you can help improve brain fog by doing the following;
Studies have associated eating patterns with less red and or highly processed meats, added sugars, refined grains, nuts, legumes and seafood to lower cognitive decline. The Mediterranean Diet is rich in Omega 3 and fatty acids and food choices such as fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, fish, beans, nuts and olive oil.
Body fat churns out hormones and intensifies that trigger inflammation, which contributes to high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and diabetics, all of which affect the brain. So it is important to try and maintain a balanced weight.
Sleep is important to brain health. When you are tired it becomes more difficult to concentrate and process information. Good sleep and rest is necessary to clear toxins in the body. Before bedtime avoid eating large meals and acidic foods that can cause indigestion and hot flashes also avoid alcohol, coffee and nicotine as they have stimulants that disrupt sleep. If you are experiencing difficult in sleep speak to your local doctor.
Keeping hydrated is vital for the brain to function properly. When you are dehydrated your brain shrinks in volume (75%), this causes headaches and affects your moods. Use a bottle that shows the amount of water on the side to keep you on track. Add lemon or herbs to add flavour. Avoid sugary drinks that are high in sodium.
Stress is unavoidable, and unnecessary. When we feel stressed, our brain mobilises the rest of your body to take action, triggering the release of two hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, to prepare you to stay and fight or flight. Prolonged stress can promote weight gain and affect the digestive system, cardiovascular system and mental health. We all differ from how we interpret stress, based on how our brains are wired and our past experiences. Figure out what triggers stress for you and how best to react to it. Relaxing techniques such as meditation may help. Make time for yourself even if it is for 15 to 30 minutes a day. (2)
The beauty of physical activity is it starts to improve your life immediately, and if you continue it, it helps improve you mental and physical health. It will improve your mood, sleep, hot flashes and some many other aspects of your health during your transition to menopause. It reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. Lowers blood pressure and improves cholesterol and assists in better sleep to help you feel better and rested.
If you are already doing the necessary steps to keep yourself healthy but are continually feeling unwell, consult your doctor or health professional to check for any deficiencies and infections as reasons for mental fogginess and these can be legitimate causes. It is most likely that perimenopause and menopause are the root of the fogginess, so it is best to discuss your medical history in detail with your health practitioner.