“Not to brag or anything but I can forget what I am doing while I am doing it!”
As we enter midlife, memes and jokes about brain fog start to become a reality. Brain fog is described as a cloudy headed feeling. As women begin to head into perimenopause and menopause, searching for words or becoming more forgetful starts to occur more frequently. This can be very concerning and cause women to worry whether this type of decrease in mental clarity is truly a part of menopause, or if this represents a sign of more memory loss to come.
If you are experiencing brain fog or the concern about brain fog in menopause, know that you are not alone. Research shows that up to 60 percent of women report memory issues as they go through menopause. As women enter perimenopause and menopause, there is a natural decrease in estrogen. Hormonal changes cause many changes in the body and women will begin to experience menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, weight gain, difficulty sleeping, mood changes and brain fog. Kindra’s hormone assessment is a great resource to help understand what you may be experiencing. In less than 5 minutes, you can receive personal results, tailored to your needs.
While Alzheimer’s Disease is progressive and can lead to further cognitive decline, menopausal brain fog does get better over time. While brain fog may not be eliminated completely, there are lifestyle strategies that you can implement in your daily routine to help improve brain fog during midlife.
What You Eat Matters:
One of the most crucial ways to improve brain fog is through diet. Choosing a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats is essential to feeling our best at any time of life, including menopause. A Mediterranean style diet has also been shown in studies to increase longevity.
Be sure to choose:
Fruits and Vegetables
Foods high in Omega-Three such as salmon and nuts
Whole grains and fiber filled foods
Olive Oil or Coconut Oil as a healthy fat
Think of food as fuel. When sugar is our fuel source, our bodies and our brains do not run efficiently. Looking at added sugar in the diet is important to not only reduce brain fog, but to prevent future disease. Syndromes such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s Disease may be aggravated by added sugars. The American Heart Association recommendation for women of 25g of sugar per day is a great starting point. Aim for this as a goal, and then decrease sugar intake from there. Reading labels will help you to become aware of how much sugar is in different foods. Eating a diet filled with nutrient dense foods as described above and staying hydrated will also help with sugar cravings.
When You Eat Matters!:
A twelve hour fast without eating after dinner can also be helpful. Fasting can help improve brain fog and other midlife concerns, such as reducing cholesterol, controlling blood glucose, maintaining a healthy body weight, and reducing inflammation in the body. Here are some helpful tips that can help you to accomplish incorporating a twelve hour fast into your day:
Eat an earlier dinner. Eating by 6:00 PM at night easily allows for a 12- hour fasting window with a 6:00 AM breakfast.
Have a small healthy snack immediately after dinner. Choose berries or other fruit to prevent reaching for food later in the evening. A big bonus is that berries are wonderful for cognition.
Eat nutrient-dense and fiber-filled foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to stay full during the fasting window. These are the same types of foods that are mentioned above as well!
Stay hydrated as thirst can be confused with hunger. Aim for half of your healthy body weight in water daily. Herbal teas and green juices can help with satiety as well.
Go to bed instead of snacking when boredom strikes before bedtime. Rest and sleep are an important part of reducing brain fog too!
While fasting can have many health benefits, it may not be right for everyone. Those with a low Body Mass Index, triggered by restricted eating due to eating disorders, elderly or experiencing chronic health issues should avoid fasting. Before starting any new diet plan, please consult with a medical professional.
You can learn more on the benefits of a twelve hour fast here: “The Surprising Health Benefits of a Twelve Hour Fasting.”
Herbal Supplements Can Help:
Herbal supplements can be helpful in alleviating brain fog symptoms. Kindra is a modern wellness brand that helps women prepare for and manage and embrace the body’s natural hormonal shifts from peri-to-post menopause. Often times, women will know their bodies are changing in menopause, but they do not know quite know where to start to get the help they are seeking. Kindra offers a fantastic quiz to help you navigate menopause and its symptoms.
Kindra offers a wide range of science backed, safe and estrogen-free supplements to support women on their menopause journey. This includes the energy boosting Focus Supplement to help with brain fog. The carefully-selected antioxidant ingredients include Pycnogenol® and Green Tea Leaf Extract. These ingredients help with calming the body and easing the mind. Benefits can include improved mood, memory, stamina, and focus.
Clinical studies showed that 41% of women saw improvements in hot flashes after eight weeks. 60% of women saw an improvement in C-Reactive Protein (CRP) levels and 26% of women saw an improvement in insomnia/sleeping problems at four weeks Pycnogenol ®, also known as French Maritime Bark Extract, protects the body from free radicals. It promotes healthy heart circulation, hydrates the skin, boosts immunity, and so much more. The benefit of improved management of hot flashes and night sweats is a game changer in helping to improve brain fog as well. Research shows that the vasomotor changes, such as hot flashes and night sweats, can contribute to brain fog issues in menopausal women.
Green Tea Leaf Extract delivers 25mg of caffeine, the equivalent of a cup of tea, to boost energy and vitality. Studies also show that green tea can help to reduce anxiety and boost cognition and brain function.
The Importance of Sleep
Any time our bodies feel fatigued, we can experience foggy thinking. Women in midlife can have a lot on their plates, such as taking care of our families and many other obligations.
Be sure to take time for yourself! Take a walk, have a cup of tea, spend time with a friend, or taking a bath are all great ways to take time for yourself. Kindra’s Soothe Bath Soak is the perfect addition to your night time routine— whether it’s in a bath or in the shower! Rest is not a four-letter word. Rest when your body is telling you to rest and sleep when you need to sleep. Sleep can also be very difficult in menopause and researchers have found that the decreased sleep in menopause can be a contributing factor to brain fog, as well. Be sure to head to Kindra to check out their Sleep Enhancing Supplements as well. You can use the code KUELLIFE20 for 20% off any Kindra product!
Exercise Your Body and Your Mind
Studies show that exercise can increase blood flow, improve the ability of the body to carry nutrition to the brain, and improve cerebrovascular health. This is important, not only to improve brain fog, but to prevent many disease states as well as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week and/or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. Moderate exercise can include walking, water aerobics, dancing, gardening, tennis, and biking. More vigorous exercise includes running, swimming, aerobic dance, heavy yard work, singles tennis, and faster cycling.
Exercising your brain is important too so be sure to read, do a crossword puzzle, or learn something new. Finding new passions in midlife is exciting and helps with brain fog and cognition too! If you are experiencing brain fog in midlife, it is important to know that you are not alone. There are lifestyle changes that can help manage brain fog and other menopausal symptoms as well. Be sure to talk to your health care provider about any concerns that you are experiencing in midlife or if you feel your cognitive issues may be more than just brain fog.