Do you ever have trouble concentrating, multitasking, or coming up with a word? It happens to all of us. Brain fog can be very alarming for midlife women.
Our brain controls our bodily functions and behavior, as well as the way we think and feel. When we reach menopause, it may seem as if our brain has a mind of its own. We may become more irritable than usual, have hot flashes that interfere with sleep and clear thinking during the day, or misplace items.
Hormonal changes are likely to blame for memory lapses, moodiness, and fatigue. Declining estrogen levels and aging increase the chances of conditions that affect the brain as much as they affect the heart. The risk of having a stroke doubles in a decade after menopause.
The hippocampus, the part of the brain that stores most memories, is particularly vulnerable to hormonal shifts. Research has shown that perimenopausal and menopausal women are less efficient at processing glucose in the brain, which can hinder mental sharpness and energy levels because the brain requires a constant supply of glucose to perform at its peak.
Healthy habits help with both the effects of estrogen loss and the aging process. There are ways to help your brain stay sharp, feel energetic, and safeguard it. (1)
It is important to maintain a well-balanced diet, combined with vitamins and minerals. Check my previous article “How Menopause Changes Vitamin and Mineral Needs” to learn more about it.
Also, you can help improve brain fog by doing the following:
Eat a well-balanced diet
Studies have associated eating patterns with lower cognitive decline, such as consuming less red and highly processed meats, added sugars, refined grains, and more nuts, legumes, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, beans, nuts, and olive oil. The Mediterranean Diet, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, is a good example.
Maintain a healthy weight
Body fat produces hormones and intensifies inflammation, which contributes to high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, and diabetes, all of which affect the brain. It is important to try and maintain a balanced weight.
Get enough quality sleep
Sleep is important for brain health. When you are tired, it becomes more difficult to concentrate and process information. Good sleep and rest are necessary to clear toxins in the body. Before bedtime, avoid eating large meals and acidic foods that can cause indigestion and hot flashes. Also, avoid alcohol, coffee, and nicotine as they have stimulants that disrupt sleep. If you are experiencing difficulty sleeping, speak to your local doctor.
Keeping hydrated is vital for the brain to function properly. When you are dehydrated, your brain shrinks in volume (up to 75%), causing headaches and affecting your mood. Use a water bottle that shows the amount of water on the side to keep you on track. Add lemon or herbs to add flavor. Avoid sugary drinks that are high in sodium.
Stress is unavoidable but unnecessary. When we feel stressed, our brain mobilizes the rest of our body to take action, triggering the release of two hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, to prepare us to stay and fight or flee. Prolonged stress can promote weight gain and affect the digestive, cardiovascular, and mental health systems. We all differ in how we interpret stress based on how our brains are wired and our past experiences. Figure out what triggers stress for you and how best to react to it. Relaxing techniques such as meditation may help. Make time for yourself, even if it is for 15 to 30 minutes a day. (2)
The beauty of physical activity is that it starts to improve your life immediately, and if you continue it, it helps improve your mental and physical health. Regular exercise improves mood, sleep, hot flashes, and many other aspects of your health during your transition to menopause. It reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, and helps you achieve better sleep, making you feel better and more rested.
If you are already taking the necessary steps to keep yourself healthy but are still feeling unwell, consult your doctor or health professional to check for any deficiencies and infections that may be causing mental fogginess. Perimenopause and menopause are likely the root causes of the fogginess, so it is best to discuss your medical history in detail with your healthcare practitioner.
For more information, visit:
2 – The Effects of Stress on Your Body (healthline.com)
Body Health. Food and Nutrition. Lifestyle. Mental Wellbeing.
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