Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on
July 1, 2022
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on:

Do you feel like you’re not operating at your best? Are you having trouble focusing and concentrating? If so, you may be experiencing brain fog.

Brain fog is a condition that affects many people and can make everyday tasks difficult to accomplish. Luckily, there are ways to help!

In this article, we will discuss seven natural brain fog help tips backed by research. We’ll also provide links to additional resources so that you can learn more about brain health and how to protect your brain from damage.

Let’s get started.

What is brain fog, exactly?

Brain fog is a condition that causes your brain to feel fuzzy and unfocused. You may have difficulty remembering things, concentrating, or making decisions.

If you experience brain fog, you may often feel tired or drained. It’s not a medical condition, but it can be a symptom of an underlying health problem.

This mild cognitive impairment can last from a few days to a few months, depending on its severity and what triggers it.

Causes

There are many factors that can cause brain fog, including:

  • Dehydration
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Stress
  • Poor nutrition
  • Hormonal changes
  • Menopause
  • Treatments and medications (e.g., chemo brain)
  • Mental health conditions (e.g., depression, anxiety, ADHD)
  • Medical conditions (e.g., chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, multiple sclerosis)

Symptoms

The cognitive symptoms of brain fog can vary from person to person. You may experience some or all of the following:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Problems with making decisions
  • Struggles with problem-solving
  • Losing trails of thoughts in conversations
  • Often moody or irritable

Brain fog can also cause physical symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Neck pain or tension.

While brain fog is not a medical condition, it can be a symptom of an underlying health problem. If you’re experiencing brain fog, it will help to see a doctor to rule out any underlying causes.

7 Natural and Research-Backed Brain Fog Help Tips

If you’re seeking help for brain fog, here are some tips worth heeding: 

1) Sleep efficiently

A study on military personnel found that brain fog was significantly associated with poor sleep, including insomnia and nightmares.

Another study showed that sleep deprivation could lead to deficits in attention, working memory, and decision-making.

Thus, if you’re struggling with brain fog, make sure to get enough quality sleep each night.

To sleep more efficiently:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.
  • Establish a wind-down routine to relax your mind and body before sleeping.
  • Consider taking a sleep supplement like melatonin.
  • Practice deep breathing or meditation before bedtime.

If you’re still struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep despite building healthy sleeping habits, you might be dealing with sleep disorders.

We highly recommend consulting a sleep specialist to determine the right coping strategies for you.

2) Eat nutritious meals

What you eat can have a major impact on your cognitive health.

A study found that those who ate a diet high in vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and fish had a lower risk of developing cognitive dysfunction.

Another study showed that people who ate a Mediterranean diet (a diet rich in olive oil, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fish) had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Thus, eating a brain-healthy diet is one of the best things you can do for your cognitive health.

Some brain-boosting foods to include in your diet are:

  • Leafy green vegetables (e.g., spinach, kale)
  • Berries (e.g., blueberries, strawberries)
  • Fatty fish (e.g., salmon, tuna)
  • Nuts and seeds (e.g., walnuts, flaxseeds)
  • Beans and legumes (e.g., black beans, lentils)
  • Whole grains (e.g., oats, quinoa)
  • Citrus fruits (e.g., oranges, lemons)
  • Bananas
  • Dark chocolate
  • Enough amount of coffee
  • Green tea
  • Avocados
  • Eggs
  • Turmeric.

In addition to eating brain-boosting foods, it’s also important to avoid brain-draining foods.

These are some of the worst offenders:

  • Sugary drinks (e.g., soda, energy drinks)
  • Refined carbs (e.g., white bread, pastries)
  • Processed meats (e.g., hot dogs, deli meats)
  • Artificial trans fats (e.g., vegetable shortening, margarine)
  • Highly processed foods (e.g., microwave meals, frozen pizzas).

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to eating a brain-healthy diet, we recommend speaking with a registered dietitian or nutritionist. They can help you create a personalized meal plan that’s right for you.

3) Consider supplementation

In addition to eating brain-healthy foods, you can also support your cognitive health by supplementation.

Some of the best brain-supporting nutrients are:

Vitamin B12: found in meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Studies suggest that it helps improve brain function and cognitive performance by supporting the central nervous system, energy production, and brain cell health.

Vitamin D: found in fortified foods (e.g., milk, orange juice) and fatty fish (e.g., salmon, tuna). Research shows that it helps improve mental function by regulating neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically serotonin.

Iron: found in red meat, dark leafy greens, beans, and iron-fortified foods. A study suggests that it promotes enhanced learning and better mental clarity by transporting oxygen to the brain.

Magnesium: found in dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, spinach, and quinoa. Research shows that it helps improve brain functioning by reducing inflammation and protecting the brain cells.

Omega-3 fatty acids: found in fish oil, krill oil, and flaxseed oil. Studies reveal that they help improve memory, mood, and cognitive function by reducing inflammation and protecting brain cells.

Zinc: found in oysters, beef, lamb, poultry, and beans. Research shows that it aids in the growth and development of the brain by supporting brain cell function and communication in healthy brains but may do more harm than good in people with neurological disorders.

So, if you’re considering supplementation, we recommend talking to your doctor first. They can help you determine the right type and dosage for you.

4) Exercise regularly

Physical activity is not only great for your physique, but it’s also excellent for your mental health.

Aerobic exercise (e.g., running, swimming) has been shown to improve cognitive functioning by increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

BDNF is a protein that promotes the growth and development of brain cells.

In addition, aerobic exercise has also been shown to reduce stress and inflammation, and improve memory.

Anaerobic exercise (e.g., weightlifting, sprinting) is also beneficial for brain health.

A study showed that it could help improve cognitive function by increasing brain volume in the hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for memory).

So, if you’re looking to achieve a healthy brain, we recommend getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.

And if you can’t do 30 minutes all at once, try breaking it up into smaller increments throughout the day (e.g., three ten-minute sessions).

5) Rehydrate well

It’s essential to stay hydrated, especially if you exercise regularly.

Dehydration can cause brain fog and cause cognitive impairment.

A study showed that even mild dehydration (e.g., losing one to two percent of your body weight in fluid) could cause problems with attention, memory, and reaction time. 

So, how much water should you drink per day?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, as it depends on factors like your age, weight, and activity level.

However, a good rule of thumb is to drink eight cups of water per day.

You can also increase your water intake by eating brain-healthy foods that are high in water, such as fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables not only contain water, but they’re also packed with nutrients that are essential for mental soundness.

Some of the best brain-healthy and rehydrating fruits and vegetables include:

Blueberries: known for their high antioxidant content, which has been shown to protect brain cells and improve brain functioning.

Cucumbers: contain 96% water and are a good source of vitamins B and C, which are essential for cognitive health.

Watermelons: contain 92% water and are a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant that has been shown to improve cognitive functioning.

So, if you’re looking to improve your mental health and rehydrate your brain, we recommend adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet.

6) Train your brain

Just like you train your body, you can also train your brain.

Brain training exercises help improve brain function by increasing brain plasticity.

Brain plasticity is the brain’s ability to change and adapt in response to new experiences.

Aerobic exercise has been shown to increase brain plasticity.

But brain training exercises are also effective.

One study showed that brain training can help improve memory and attention in healthy adults.

Another study showed that brain training games, especially chess, can help reduce the risk of developing dementia.

There are many brain training exercises you can do, but some of the most popular ones include:

  • Memory games: these exercises help improve your memory and brain function.
  • Logic puzzles: these exercises help improve your problem-solving skills and overall cognitive function.
  • Brain teasers: these exercises help improve your critical thinking skills and brain function. 
  • Crosswords: these exercises help improve your vocabulary and brain function.

So, if you’re looking to improve your mental clarity, we recommend doing brain training games regularly.

7) Spending time in nature

Spending time in nature has been shown to be beneficial for cognitive health.

A study showed that spending time in green space can help improve brain function.

Another study showed that taking a walk in the park or going outside, even in the cold, can help improve memory and attention.

So, if you’re looking to improve your mental health, we recommend spending time in nature.

There are many ways to do this, such as:

  • Taking a walk in the park
  • Going for a hike in the woods
  • Sitting outside in the sun
  • Spending time at the beach

There you have it! Seven brain fog help tips that are backed by research.

We hope you found this article helpful and that you now have a better understanding of how to help brain fog.

If you’re looking for more information about brain fog treatment, we recommend checking more resources we have on our website—you can access them for free.

We have many articles about the topic, as well as an online community where you can ask questions and get support from others. 

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