Too much stress and too little sleep can lead to a fuzzy head, but food can also have a dramatic impact. Looking at your diet could help clear your cloudy path.
Eat less of these
Sugar has a lot to answer for. Over-consumption is not only detrimental to your general health, it can increase brain inflammation, contribute to impaired memory and slow cognitive function.
Artificial sweeteners are just as bad. Aspartame, the most widely known, has created a great deal of controversy. Often hidden in ‘low sugar’ products, it is thought to be toxic to the brain and should be avoided at all costs.
MSG (monosodium glutamate) is another major culprit. Tucked away in most processed foods, even the seemingly healthier varieties such as salad dressings, tinned vegetables and soups (don’t be fooled), it is also thought to cause harm to brain cells.
Try to steer clear of refined carbohydrates (such as processed white bread, white pasta, cakes, pastries and sugary cereals). These quick-fix foods trigger a spike in your blood sugar levels, affecting your concentration. If you experience a post-lunch slump, with a heavy head that independently veers towards your keyboard, this could be why.
Eat more of these
Switch to antioxidant-rich foods that fuel your brain rather than deplete it. To make sure you’re getting a good variety, think of building your plate like a rainbow, with plenty of natural colour. Blueberries are thought to be particularly good at feeding brain cells and supporting the memory.
It’s hard to believe, but around 60% of your brain is fat, and half of this is omega-3. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a type of omega-3, which is imperative to supporting brain function and the nervous system. Walnuts and avocados are great sources.
Vitamin K is fat soluble and helps build sphingolipids, a fat that is stored in brain cells. You’ll find plenty of this in a good helping of broccoli.
Another essential vitamin, that is believed to help prevent mental decline, is vitamin C. It has antioxidant properties and acts as a natural defence, fighting off free radicals that can harm brain cells. Citrus fruits, berries, sweet peppers and leafy greens are packed with this power vitamin.
If you think of food as your fuel, you won’t fire on all cylinders by filling the tank with sugar and chemicals. Your brain needs nutrients to function well. Give it what it needs, and it won’t let you down.
Have your say
We’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you wake up feeling sleepy? Does caffeine keep you going through the day? Are you falling asleep at your desk mid-afternoon? Click here to find out more about choosing a healthy path.