Have you ever sat in front of your laptop/PC and asked yourself “Why is my brain not working”? I know I have!
I was working long hours, I was letting time get away from me. Not really paying attention to my body and what it was asking me for.
I had deadlines to meet, people to see and those that were dependant on me doing a good job. I was dependent on my brain doing a good job for me too and it was failing!
“Another cup of coffee to get me through this little slump”, I told myself.
“I need something sweet to keep me going, just this once”, I would pledge.
I soon realised that I was telling myself these things over and over again until it became a daily routine. Never did I think that what I was feeding myself was playing a role in my subtle brain fogginess and memory loss.
When my grandmother was diagnosed with Dementia I became more and more aware of my own symptoms of memory loss.
I was in my early 30’s there’s no way this should be happening to me!?!
It was only when I started studying nutrition that I realised that what you put into your body DOES have an impact on your brain health.
Things like stress, excess caffeine and sugar, nutrient deficiencies, digestive problems, hormonal imbalances and lack of exercise can all contribute to a slowing brain. So what can we do to enhance this?
I try as much as I can to support my brain health – here are the top 3 things I do to keep my brain healthy, sharp and focused:
Top 3 Tips for Brain Health:
1. Reduce sugar – cravings are your bodys way of telling you your hormones are out of sync. Particularly, insulin which regulate your blood sugar. Symptoms of a blood sugar imbalance include brain fog, fatigue, poor memory, afternoon slumps, weight gain and cravings for sugars. This can happen in two ways (1) from eating too much carbohydrates, refined and sugary carbohydrates and (2) stress. Essentially the body releases glucose (sugar) from these sources triggering insulin, when we eat too much of the wrong carbohydrates or allow stress to take over our bodies this can cause insulin to rise and fall too quickly. It is this rise and fall that contributes to the symptoms of a blood sugar imbalance. I have a great infographic (click here) that explains it in detail and gives you lots of ideas to support this.
2. Exercise up to 3 times per week – While intense exercise can cause blood sugar imbalances research suggests that exercising up to 3-4 times per week can support blood sugar, memory and focus. I am for 3 weight training sessions per week and 1-2 cardo sessions. We also try to get outdoors as much as possible as the vitamin D from the sun can do wonders for supporting brain health.
3. Stimulate your brain – I find that social media has understimulated my brain! Non work related stimulation can be really beneficial for the brain as well as helping you switch off. Sodoku, crosswords and even apps such as Luminosityare enough to keep your brain stimulated as well as mindful. When we are mindful we are present in the now. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques have a huge impact on brain stimulation not to mention reducing stress and anxiety.
I know Dementia is in my genes and I cant do much to change that but I can change the environment I put my body (and brain) in i.e. the food I eat and the exercise and brain stimulation I provide it can help keep it sharp and focused.