Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on
September 5, 2022
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on:

If you’ve been feeling out of sorts lately, chances are you might be experiencing brain fog. While it can be caused by many things, drinks are a common culprit.

And while some beverages can give us a much-needed energy boost, they can also have the opposite effect.

In this article, we’ll discuss drinks that can cause brain fog and what to drink instead. We’ll also provide some tips for avoiding brain fog in the first place.

Let’s get started.

What is brain fog, exactly?

Brain fog is a term used to describe the feeling of being mentally unfocused, tired, or forgetful. It can make it difficult for you to concentrate on tasks, remember important information, or even have a conversation.

Common Causes

There are many potential causes of brain fog, and some of the most common include:

While these are all valid causes, in this article, we’ll focus on different beverages that can cause brain fog.

Common Symptoms

In addition to being mentally unfocused, tired, or forgetful, here are some other common symptoms of brain fog:

Your brain fog might make it tough for you to focus on activities, recall important data, or even converse with others.

You might also experience headaches, dizziness, difficulty multitasking, and increased confusion.

You might even find yourself making more mistakes than usual or feeling scattered and disorganized. 

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out any underlying health issues.

Common Drinks that Cause Brain Fog

There are many drinks that can cause brain fog. Here are some of the most common:

Alcohol

While a glass of wine or beer might help you relax after a long day, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. This means that it can slow down your brain function and make it difficult for you to think clearly.

In addition, alcohol is a diuretic, which means it can cause dehydration. And when you’re dehydrated, your cognitive function can suffer.

Studies also show that alcohol consumption can shrink the brain, causing memory problems and negatively impacting learning, mood, and behavior. 

So, if you’re struggling with brain fog, it’s best to limit your alcohol consumption or avoid it altogether.

What to Drink Instead

If you really enjoy drinking alcoholic beverages, try to stick to drinks that are lower in sugar and calories. Red wine, for example, is a better choice than beer or cocktails.

You should also make sure to drink plenty of water before and after you drink alcohol to help prevent dehydration.

Too Much Coffee

While a cup of coffee can help you wake up and feel more alert, too much caffeine can actually make brain fog worse.

Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it can speed up your nervous system. And while this might sound like a good thing, it can actually make it difficult for you to concentrate and focus on tasks.

Caffeine can also cause anxiety, restlessness, and irritability. Too much coffee consumption is also linked to smaller brain volume, according to research.

This means that drinking more than six cups of coffee a day may increase your risk of developing diseases such as dementia and stroke.

So, if you’re struggling with cognitive impairment and heart issues, it’s best to limit your caffeine intake or avoid it altogether.

What to Drink Instead

If you really enjoy drinking coffee, try to stick to one cup per day. You might also want to switch to decaf coffee or tea.

Or, instead of coffee, try drinking green juice or smoothies in the morning. These beverages are packed with nutrients that can help improve cognitive function and memory as well as provide the energy you need for the day.

Soda

Like alcohol, soda is a diuretic, which means it can cause dehydration. But that’s not the only way it can impact your brain performance.

Soda is also high in sugar, and studies show that a high-sugar diet can lead to memory issues and decreased brain function.

In addition, some sodas contain caffeine, which can cause anxiety, restlessness, and sleeplessness. And when you don’t get enough sleep, your brain performance suffers.

So, if you experience brain fog often, it’s best to avoid soda altogether.

What to Drink Instead

If you’re looking for a refreshing alternative to soda, try seltzer water with a splash of juice. You can also find sodas that are made with stevia or other natural sweeteners.

Just be sure to read the label carefully, as some “natural” sweeteners can still have a negative impact on your health.

Energy Drinks

Like soda, an energy drink is high in sugar and caffeine. And while the caffeine might give you a temporary boost of energy, it can also cause jitters, crashes, and disrupted sleep patterns.

In addition, the sugar in pick-me-ups can lead to a crash that leaves you feeling even more tired than before.

Research also suggests that energy drinks can cause changes in your blood pressure and heart rate, which can be dangerous.

So, if you’re struggling with brain fog, it’s best to avoid energy drinks altogether.

What to Drink Instead

If you need an energy boost, try drinking a cup of coffee or tea. You can also find caffeinated beverages that are made with natural ingredients like green tea and guarana.

Just be sure to limit your caffeine intake to 400 milligrams per day to avoid negative side effects.

Packaged Fruit Juices

While many people think of fruit juice as a healthy alternative to soda, most packaged juices are actually filled with sugar.

In fact, one cup of unsweetened apple juice has about 24 grams of sugar, which is more than the amount of sugar in a can of Coke.

And like soda, too much sugar can lead to impaired memory and decreased brain function.

So, if you experience brain fog often, it’s best to avoid packaged fruit juices and make your own juice at home using fresh fruits and vegetables.

What to Drink Instead

If you need a quick fix, try drinking a glass of water with a slice of lemon or lime.

You can also find sugar-free and unsweetened fruit juices at most grocery stores. Just be sure to read the label carefully to make sure they don’t contain any added sugars.

Top Drinks to Clear Brain Fog

While some beverages can cause brain fog, there are also drinks that can help clear it.

Here are the top refreshments to clear brain fog:

  • Water: As we mentioned before, dehydration can cause brain fog. So, it’s important to drink water throughout the day to keep your body and mind properly hydrated.
  • Green Tea: Green tea is packed with antioxidants that can help improve cognitive function and memory.
  • Coconut Water: Coconut water is a great source of electrolytes, which are essential for proper hydration.
  • Bone Broth: Bone broth is rich in nutrients that can help support brain health, including omega-three fatty acids, vitamin B12, and iron.
  • Caffeinated drinks: While too much caffeine can cause brain fog, moderate amounts can actually help improve cognitive performance.
  • Rhodiola Tinctures:  Rhodiola Rosea is an herbal supplement that’s been shown to improve cognitive function, memory, and focus.
  • Detox Smoothie: This drink is packed with ingredients that help support detoxification, and it often includes leafy greens, lemon, and ginger.
  • Beet Juice: Beet juice is rich in nitrates, which can improve blood flow to the brain and help clear brain fog. 
  • Kombucha:  Kombucha is a fermented tea that’s rich in probiotics, which are good for gut health. Thereby helping improve the gut-brain connection.

So, if you’re looking for a way to clear your brain fog, try incorporating some of these beverages into your diet.

How to Avoid Having Brain Fog in the First Place

The best way to avoid brain fog is to eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water. If you are struggling with deficiencies, we highly recommend consulting licensed nutritionists.

In addition, you should get enough sleep each night, exercise regularly and reduce stress levels as much as you can.

If you have an underlying medical condition like diabetes, depression, and hypertension, among many other chronic illnesses, make sure to keep them under control to reduce symptoms of cognitive impairment.

And if you’re having trouble concentrating or remembering things, try using some of the tips we mentioned above, like drinking green tea or bone broth.

We also highly recommend training your brain regularly with brain teasers, puzzles, and memory games.

By following these simple tips, you can help clear your brain fog and improve your overall cognitive performance in the long run.

Wrapping Up

We hope this article has helped you learn more about drinks that cause brain fog and what you can do to avoid them.

If you are still struggling with brain fog, we recommend trying out the brain-boosting beverages we listed above.

And if you want to learn more about clearing brain fog effectively or improving your overall brain health, check out these helpful resources we compiled on our blog. 

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