Best foods to help you beat brain fog

If your memory is more like a sieve than a steel trap, these nutrient-rich foods could give your brain health a much-needed boost.

We all have days when we just can’t focus and everything feels a bit fuzzy.

It’s called brain fog, and it can be extremely frustrating, clinical nutritionist Angela Emmerton says.

“Brain fog, or that feeling of mental haziness and fatigue, can result in difficulty remembering names or finding words, and it can be quite concerning,” Angela, of Nutritional Matters, says.

But the good news is, the right nutrition can help clear your mind and boost concentration.

How nutrition helps clear thinking

Clinical nutritionist Sheridan Genrich from Better Brain Health says certain foods are rich in nutrients that feed the brain and help it to run smoothly.

“The proper nutrition for the brain means getting an adequate supply of the right vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids and healthy fats,” Sheridan says.

“Along with minimising common inflammatory triggers from processed foods, some types of gluten, sugars, coffee and alcohol.”

The best foods for brain health

Avocados

Avocados contain potassium and magnesium for better blood flow to the brain, as well as lutein, which research has shown to improve memory, reasoning and attention span.

And they’re also high in vitamins A, K, E and D, which are all essential to healthy brain function.

Blueberries

Sheridan says blueberries are rich in an antioxidant called anthocyanins.

“In a 2021 study, researchers found an increase in brain cells in the hippocampus – a brain region responsible for memory – in aged rats that were fed a blueberry supplementation,” she says.

Dark green leafy veggies

Dark leafy greens like kale, arugula and spinach are high in nutrients such as lutein, vitamin K, nitrate, folate and beta-carotene, which are all associated with cognitive health.

One study showed a single daily serving could help to slow cognitive decline.

“Dark green vegetables are also rich in chlorophyll and magnesium and feed the good gut bacteria that have powerful anti-inflammatory benefits,” Sheridan says.

Eggs

“Eggs are a great source of choline, a fat-soluble nutrient that supports cognitive function and protects against age-related memory decline,” nutritionist Georgia Limmer, from the Gut-Brain Naturopath, says.

“Choline is the new folic acid in prenatal care too – it’s essential for growing a healthy brain, which then contributes to brain health over the lifespan.”

Green tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants and amino acids like L-theanine, which is calming and helps improve brain focus.

“It has been repeatedly demonstrated in the scientific literature to improve mood and cognitive performance,” Georgia says.

Nuts

Georgia says research shows nuts – particularly walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts – have the potential to fight cognitive decline.

“Nuts are also a great source of protein for energy and they are an excellent source of minerals such as magnesium and zinc, which are important for reducing brain fog,” she says.

Rosemary

“Rosemary has a long history of traditional use and even modern research to support its efficiency to boost and protect brain function,” Sheridan says.

Salmon

Salmon is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids that are vital for brain function and development.

“Omega-3 doesn’t only provide the building blocks for a healthy brain, a diet that is rich in these acids also switches on genes that are important for maintaining synaptic function and plasticity,” Georgia says.

Turmeric 

Sheridan says curcumin – the active compound in turmeric – is a powerful anti-inflammatory component and a potent antioxidant.

A 2018 study found people who took curcumin twice daily demonstrated a 28 per cent improvement in memory tests.

Written by Dimity Barber.

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