Brain Fog Diet: 4 Diet Tips to Help You Reduce Brain Fog

Written by Stephen Anton PhD on July, 15th 2021

Why are so many people experiencing brain fog today and what can you do to keep your brain sharp all day long?

To answer these questions, we need to explore where this phenomenon of “brain fog” comes from, and how we can adjust our diets to help reduce it. But first, I want to share my personal experience with brain fog that led to these discoveries.

My Personal Experience with Brain Fog

I distinctly remember experiencing brain fog during a very important day in my life, approximately 15 years ago now. You see, this was the day I was interviewing for my first job, as a postdoctoral fellow. On this day, I woke up a bit groggy since I was recovering from a sleep debt. So, I was already not feeling 100%. But it was the breakfast I had that morning, which contributed to me experiencing brain fog on this important day!

Brain Fog Breakfast

Prior to my upcoming interviews, I was served cereal with milk, and a bagel with fat-free cream cheese for breakfast, basically a high carb, low fat and low protein meal.

After consuming this breakfast, I felt okay at first. I distinctly remember being really excited for this big day and to have the opportunity to meet so many famous scientists. But approximately one hour after this meal, it hit me. All of a sudden, I started feeling hungry and a bit foggy in the brain. My body and mind were screaming for something to eat that could help me improve my energy levels and focus.

Fat and Protein to the Rescue

Unfortunately, I had back-to-back meetings (interviews) all morning, so there was no opportunity to get a snack of any kind. As the morning progressed, I felt increasingly unable to concentrate, as if my brain was trapped in a foggy swamp and all I had was a flashlight to find my way out.

It was all I could do to make it to lunch!  When I finally made it, I made sure to consume a good amount of protein and fat with my lunch meal, and immediately started feeling better and like my usual self again.

1. Focus on Healthy Fats and Protein

It was after these two meals that I realized how sensitive my body and brain were to what I ate, and how specific macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) affected my brain function. Specifically, I realized the importance of having healthy proteins and fats with each meal.

When we consume a high carbohydrate meal, without adequate protein or fat, we typically feel good at first due to the rapid rise in glucose that follows. But what goes up quickly also comes down quickly. And the rapid drop in glucose is what often contributes to brain fog shortly following these meals. The brain is left in an energy crisis and struggles to focus and remember things.

In contrast, you can achieve a state of post-prandial wellness where you feel great for several hours following each meal, provided the meal contains the right balance of macronutrients and in the quantity that is right for your body (typically this means stopping when you are 75% full).

2. Aim for High Quality Foods

Of course, the macronutrient composition of meals is not the only factor that affects brain function. The truth is not all proteins, fats and carbs are created equal. The source matters!

Although protein is the number one food that helps me feel sharp throughout the day, the quality of the protein makes a huge difference in how I feel. For example, grass fed meats “light up” my brain for hours afterwards, and the effects are much more powerful than when I consume corn fed meat or processed meats.

The same goes for fish. Wild caught salmon is going to have a much more energizing effect on my mind body than farm raised salmon or imitation crab meat for that matter. Consuming wild caught fish is a great way to quickly remove or avoid brain fog.  Similarly, eggs from free range chicken are going to have a much stronger, more powerful effect than eggs from chickens who are cooped up in cages.

3. Limit Consumption of Artificial Ingredients

Another driver of brain fog is, unfortunately, the unhealthy additives that are now widely used in our food supply. This is just one more reason to pay attention to everything we’re putting in our bodies.

For example, most coffees are loaded with pesticides, unless they are produced organically. So, choose organic and single source whenever possible. These coffees may cost more but are well worth it.

Additionally, many foods and beverages now contain artificial sweeteners or trans fats that can greatly enhance their taste but also wreak havoc on our metabolic processes, and place undue stress on our neurons. You can identify such foods based on what is written on food labels.

Examples of common types of artificial ingredients include: acesulfame potassium, aspartame, Nutrasweet, Equal, sucralose, partially hydrogenated oils, mannitol, and sorbitol.

4. Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Of course, there is another important contributing factor to brain fog, alcohol. If you are regularly consuming high amounts of alcohol, particularly close to bedtime, it will likely impair the quality of your sleep. And just like food quality, sleep quality can have profound effects on brain function.

For that matter, both recreational drugs and medications can disrupt mind-body homeostasis and can contribute to brain fog. Of course, if you need medications to treat a condition, then by all means take it.

Bonus: Be Aware of Digital Drain

In today’s age, there is more than one factor contributing to brain fog. As mentioned above, the quality of our sleep makes a huge difference, as does our activity levels throughout the day (most of us sit way too much).

But one factor that we may not be as aware of is the potential negative impact that screen time can have on our brain function. Many of us spend the majority of our time looking at computer screens, and when we are not doing this, we are often looking at our phone or television screens. This means are brains are constantly being bombarded with electromagnetic radiation waves.

The cumulative effect of all this screen time can add up and tire out the brain, particularly when paired with prolonged sitting or excessive alcohol consumption.

Of course, many of the activities described above are fun to do, and it’s understandable that at some point you will want to enjoy a “cheat” meal or watch a movie with a glass of wine or two.

How to Restore Brain Function Quickly

By combining the tips mentioned above, you will be able to decrease and ultimately eliminate brain fog.

If you want to expedite the process, there are a few “super foods” that can help you restore brain function quickly. Below are my top three recommendations:

Exogenous Ketones

We now have an amazing product that can shift our metabolism toward better healthier, energy production, and provide the brain with an alternative and powerful energy source. You see, the brain is able to access ketones, even when glucose levels are low (or too high for that matter). It’s like an immediate metamorphosis takes place after the product is consumed. And the good news is the effects last several hours. The ketones I recommend are produced by the company Pruvvit and can be found here: https://dranton.pruvitnow.com/

Camel Milk

Yes, you read that correctly. Camel milk can be consumed just like cow or goat milk. The camels are hardy creatures and the milk produced by them have extraordinary benefits. Camel milk contains high a number a diverse array of biologically active ingredients such as immunoglobulin, lysozyme, lactoferrin, B vitamins, vitamin C, many minerals, that can quickly improve the function of your mind and body. In my opinion, it is truly a miraculous product and natural food that will activate the brain and provide mental clarity for hours. The effects are so strong that I would not recommend taking it within three hours of desired bedtime. An excellent and good tasting source of camel milk can be found here:  www.desertfarms.com

Mushrooms

The third product that can boost mental clarity, are mushrooms, which have a number of therapeutic properties for the mind and body. Studies have found that certain types of mushrooms, such as cordyceps, turkey tail, and lion’s mane, can increase oxygenation throughout the mind and body. Some mushrooms have also been found to increase levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor, which is directly related to better brain function. A comprehensive and great blend of powerful mushrooms and adaptogens can be found here: https://ommushrooms.com/pages/master-blend-mushroom-supplements

More on mind health:

Intermittent Fasting for Brain Health: A Powerful Tool

How to Quiet Your Mind: 10 Helpful Strategies to Get You Started

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Anton

I’ve had the privilege of studying the fields of obesity, metabolism, and aging for the past 20 years and felt an increasing desire to share what I’ve learned with as many people as possible the past few years.

More About Dr. Anton
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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Dr. Anton

    I’ve had the privilege of studying the fields of obesity, metabolism, and aging for the past 20 years and felt an increasing desire to share what I’ve learned with as many people as possible the past few years.

    More About Dr. Anton
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    RECENT ARTICLES

    Real science. Real advice. Straight to your inbox!

    Get the latest news on topics like intermittent fasting, healthy aging, reducing obesity, and more.