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What to Do When the Brain Fogs Over

By Sandy Schroeder

We all have those moments when we can't think straight or everything seems to be moving in slow motion.

Prevention shines a light on the subject as Dr. Felicia Goldstein, neurology professor at Emory University, says, "Brain fog feels like forgetfulness, slow thinking, words on the tip of the tongue, and difficulty concentrating. It happens to all of us."

Fortunately, brain fog is usually not serious, but ongoing lapses in clarity can be a red flag for stroke, anemia, diabetes, depression, thyroid disorder or Alzheimer's. Find out more about brain fog and talk with your doctor if it continues, in spite of efforts to remedy it.

Typical Triggers for Brain Fog

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Stress
  • Medications
  • Hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause
  • Junk food diets
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Chemotherapy
  • Dehydration
  • Health conditions such as migraines, thyroid, diabetes or depression

How to Make It Go Away

Use these tips to blow off the brain fog.

Make sleep a priority - Sleeplessness makes you a zombie at work and a risk behind the wheel. Put down that cup of coffee after lunch. Establish a regular bedtime seven days a week. Shut down electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime, and develop a soothing sleep ritual such as a warm bath and soft music.

Treat your brain to protein - Reach for high protein foods and snacks and cut back on carbohydrate-loaded meals that can slow the brain down.

Drink water all day long - Carry a canister of water with you and put one on your desk. Water mobilizes all of the systems in the body and keeps blood flowing to the brain.

Try napping too - If it works without interfering with your sleep routine at night, a 10- to 20-minute nap can sweep out the brain's cobwebs.

Consider the Mediterranean diet - Researchers say adults who ate fruits and veggies, beans, nuts, olive oil and whole grains did better on attention and memory tasks than those who did not eat as well. Antioxidant-loaded produce supports the brain. The Vitamin B12 in salmon is key for nerve health and omega-3 fatty acids in fish help people think faster.

Keep moving to keep the brain alert - Exercise ups blood and oxygen flow to the brain, helps you sleep better and reduces the risk of other health problems that can affect thinking. Researchers found 10 minutes of moderate stair walking boosted women's memory, reaction time and attention better than a 50-milligram caffeine hit.

Important Note - See your doctor about brain fog if it is worse than it has been, shows up suddenly, or interrupts daily routines. Your doctor can screen you for diabetes, hormonal effects and nutrient shortages and trace any other issues.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Huntington Beach, Calif.

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