Written by Tara Boustany on
August 18, 2021
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Tara Boustany on:

What Foods Reduce Brain Fog?

You’ve been having a “foggy brain” lately even though you’re getting enough sleep and exercising regularly. The people around you might have suggested that it could be your diet. So, you’re here asking what foods reduce brain fog and how you can clear up that “cloudy mind” naturally. 

I’ll answer that question and give you a few more tips and tricks on how to get your brain health in tip-top shape. So, keep on reading. 

How Food Affects Your Brain

Food is the primary source of energy that significantly affects brainpower. According to Nnami Agarwal, a nutritionist, a healthy diet can reduce the risks of dementia, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and enhance overall brain function. 

On the other hand, a poor diet, particularly one that is deficient in vitamins, carbs, and minerals, can lead to poor brain function. Agarwal declared that one of the most overlooked causes of brain fog is the low levels of carbohydrates that a person consumes. 

Apparently, carb consumption is essential because your body turns it into glucose, which your brain uses for energy. Carbs are also responsible for helping your brain signal the production of serotonin, which regulates your sleep cycle, controls your appetite, and boosts your mood. 

Also, foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help you clear up brain fog and stay focused. Omega-3 is also effective in reducing brain inflammation, and since your body cannot produce omega-3s naturally, they need to be obtained from dietary sources. 

However, it is important to note that omega-3 is composed of three fats, namely ALA, EPA, and DHA, but DHA is responsible for improving several key functions in your brain, and if you have DHA impairment, it will most likely lead to messing up your brain processes. So, it’s safe to say that you need DHA fat more than the others. 

Here are the Foods to Reduce Brain Fog

If you ask me what foods reduce brain fog, I’ll say that there’s a ton and the pages in this article might not be enough to list ALL of them. So, here are the most common ones you can access almost anywhere: 

Walnuts

Walnuts are probably the most popular answer among nutritionists when you ask what foods help with brain fog. They look like tiny brains, after all. These nuts have a high concentration of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is essential in maintaining a healthy brain. 

And while all nuts are rich in antioxidants, walnuts take the lead in potency when compared to their superfood counterparts, such as peanuts, pistachios, and almonds. 

Walnuts are also great in protecting your brain tissues from inflammation, Plus, they are an excellent source of magnesium, a mineral that helps you improve your learning capacity and memory. 

Cocoa or Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolates, which are mostly made from cocoa, are good for reducing brain fog because cocoa is rich in flavanols, a form of antioxidant that is known to improve learning, memory, and overall brain function. 

One study suggests that consumption of foods rich in flavanols becomes more beneficial for brain power when combined with regular exercise. Other excellent sources of flavanols include red wine and tea.  

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is rich in folate, a B vitamin that is well-known for helping with healthy brain development in fetuses and their overall cognitive improvement. 

On the contrary, a deficiency in this B vitamin often leads to several mental health issues like cognitive decline, depression, and dementia. 

The good news is that nutritional yeast is an excellent source of both vitamins B12 and B6, which are both equally important for memory performance and brain health. 

Turmeric

Curcumin is an essential component of Turmeric – an antioxidant that is known for preventing plaque formations in the brain that are linked to Alzheimer’s. 

Several studies suggest that curcumin reduces the risk of cognitive decline and helps repair traumatic brain injuries, and can stimulate the production of new brain cells.  

Spinach

Spinach is rich in lutein, an antioxidant that helps protect your brain from inflammation and damages caused by free radicals. 

People who suffer from brain fog and other mild cognitive issues are observed to have reduced lutein status, and when boosting their lutein levels, they have shown improvement in memory and enhanced learning capacity. 

Other excellent sources of lutein are egg yolks, kale, collars, and chard. 

Avocado

Avocados contain high levels of vitamin E, which is responsible for slowing down brain fog symptoms and cognitive decline among elderly people. 

Also, avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, which significantly help in improving the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins from foods like kale, spinach, and other leafy greens. 

Whole Eggs

Whole eggs are rich in choline, another type of B vitamin that helps in enhancing cognition and memory. Choline is an essential component of phosphatidylcholine, a crucial part of cell membranes, particularly brain cells. 

Other excellent food sources of choline are the following: 

  • Brussels sprouts 
  • Beef
  • Collard greens 
  • Fish 
  • Asparagus

Black Beans

Other than being excellent sources of protein, black beans are also rich in folate and magnesium. Studies show that magnesium helps big time in improving memory and cognitive function. 

Moreover, beans are good for the heart, and a good heart regulates a healthy blood flow, and a healthy blood flow calls for a healthy brain. 

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes and other orange and bright red vegetables are excellent sources of carotenoids – a nutrient that helps improve long-term memory and cognition. 

One of the most powerful types of carotenoid is lycopene, which is found abundantly in tomato skins, and cherry tomatoes have more skin than their beefy counterparts. 

Also, lycopene also helps you fight depression-causing brain inflammation – this explains why consuming a healthy amount of tomatoes or tomato-based foods can boost your mood. 

Blueberries 

Studies show that the flavonoids found in blueberries have improved spatial memory in rats – this is because their antioxidants have helped prevent and lessen inflammation, which, if not prevented, can cause life-long mental health issues, especially in memory function.

Celery

Celery is rich in luteolin, a type of flavonoid antioxidant that helps protect your brain from neurodegenerative diseases, inflammation, and cognitive aging, while significantly enhancing learning, memory, and spatial awareness. 

Other excellent sources of luteolin include sage, radicchio, juniper berries, peppers, artichokes, and parsley.  

Rosemary

Rosemary is rich in carnosic acid, a phytochemical that helps enhance spatial memory and learning, prevents neuron damage, and reduces oxidative stress in the brain.

Studies show that carnosic acid protects your brain from several neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s. 

Yogurt

Yogurt, as you may already know, is rich in probiotics – the good bacteria that helps keep our gastrointestinal tract healthy. And since around 90% of your serotonin comes from your gut, it is crucial to keep your intestinal lining healthy with probiotic-rich foods. 

Studies also show that taking dietary supplements for probiotics can significantly help in lowering your anxiety and stress levels and improving your overall mental outlook. 

Wild Salmon

Wild salmon contains super healthy levels of omega-3 fats – the fatty acids that play a critical role in reducing risks of Alzheimer’s disease and preventing age-related cognitive decline, and they help in regulating mood as well as improving overall cognition capabilities. 

Now, fish isn’t your cup of tea, there are other foods that are excellent sources of omega-3s, such as: 

  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds 
  • Flax seeds 

Broccoli 

Broccoli, those little green trees, are packed with vitamin K, which helps you improve your verbal episodic memory – your ability to remember and absorb verbal instructions.  

Rainbow Foods

Several fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, grapes, strawberries, pomegranates, lettuce, carrots, and sweet potatoes flavonoids – compounds that are mainly derived from plants and packed with antioxidant properties. 

These properties help fight free radicals that can damage your DNA and brain cells due to oxidation, which largely contributes to brain fog issues and symptoms. 

Studies suggest that flavonoids found in vegetables and fruits can help in improving brain function and memory, thereby helping fight the chances of you having brain fog. 

Probiotic-Rich Foods

Foods like kefir, sauerkraut, low-sugar kombucha, and kimchi, are great sources of good bacteria. 

Good bacteria are essential in your body since they contribute to the synthesis of brain chemicals and vitamins in your body and also help with healthy food digestion. 

While your gut hosts over 100 trillion good bacteria, it also hosts opportunistic species, like bad bacteria, that thrive on sugars. So, if you consume too much sugar, this can lead to bad bacteria overgrowth and create an imbalance in your microbiome. 

Remember that your brain and gut are connected bidirectionally – this means that if you consume too many highly processed meals that are loaded with simple sugars, your brain will suffer from the lack of vital nutrients neurotransmitters. 

Research has shown that having a microbiome imbalance in your gut leads to inflammation in the brain, changes in mood, trouble in memory function, and difficulty in learning new things. 

Quercetin-Rich Foods

Quercetin is a subtype of flavonoids, also known as flavonol, that is rich in antioxidants. It is commonly found in plant foods and has the unique ability to block histamine release – the main trigger for allergies that cause brain fog symptoms. 

Quercetin-rich foods include the following: 

  • Buckwheat 
  • Capers 
  • Red apples 
  • Red onions
  • Kale 

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