Beat Brain Fog, Boost Brain Power
Aon Health & Wellbeing Conversation #1
“You’re getting old!” – this is a common response to someone who repeatedly forgets where they place things or has trouble recalling memories. Recurring forgetfulness or episodes of “brain fog” is described by the interference of one’s ability to think, lack of mental clarity and focus, and inability to concentrate. It may not be permanent, but bouts can interfere with one’s daily activities and lead to further mental stress.
Causes of Brain Fog
Brain fog may be caused by a multitude of factors, from overconsumption of sugar, exposure to heavy metal and medical treatments such as chemotherapy, to lack of sleep, stress and ageing.
Brain fog can not only be a source of frustration for those who have been organised, productive and sharp, but also be an indicator of serious medical issues. Most of these health conditions impair blood flow in the brain, hinder production and transfer of glucose which is vital for brain activity and are associated with fatigue and inflammation. They include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis
- Bacterial infections
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Depression and anxiety
- Nutrient deficiency
- Pregnancy, menopause, or other hormonal changes
Ways to Boost Brain Power
While most of the causes listed above may be inevitable or may have to be dealt with more complex medical intervention, certain activities and habits can aid in keeping our minds active and healthy.
- Have ample and quality sleep – at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep enables your brain to rest and regenerate.
- Exercise regularly – allowing proper blood flow throughout the body and the brain boosts the size of the hippocampus responsible for memory.
- Maintain excellent cardiovascular health – heart or arterial issues cause impairment of proper blood flow.
- Have a healthy diet – consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid and low in saturated fat (i.e. leafy greens and berries).
- Stimulate your brain – incorporate brain exercises/activities in your lifestyle (doing puzzles, playing cards, vocabulary games, etc…).
- Listen to music – boosts creativity.
- Continuously upskill yourself – learning something new challenges your brain.
- Socialise – the multi-task act of listening and responding stimulates blood flow in different parts of the body, helping you feel less depressed.
- Meditate or do Yoga/Tai Chi – promotes mindfulness and allows you to focus, reducing stress.
- Detoxify – physically and mentally rid your body of heavy metals and toxins, and your mind of worries.
As you forge ahead in the new year, be more conscious about memory and focus, intentionally taking good care of the master controller of your body – your brain. Caring about your neural health will reduce your chances of suffering from neurological disorders, allowing you to remain functional and productive well into your golden years.