Brain fog, anxiety and inability to remember have become a major mental health hazard of our fast paced lifestyle. More and more people are complaining of poor memory, lack of focus and fatigue.
Often, you may feel embarrassed in your personal and professional lives, when you are not able to recall those important names or details. But, the solution of this complex looking mental health issue is easily approachable.
Ayurveda prescribes detailed guidelines on foods, daily routine and herbal formulations that can help you to restore your memory, focus and clear up the brain fog for good.
In this post we will take a deeper dive into brain fog causes, symptoms and Ayurvedic guidelines to find relief from brain fog and poor mental health. Let’s get started!
What does Brain Fog feel like?
You must have at one time or the other experienced fogs. When there is a fog, there is reduced visibility, confusion and disorientation as a result. It seems like a big blanket of cloud has just covered everything.
The fog might be light enough that it still permits you to see to the end of the street some, or it could be so terrible that you can barely see your hand in front of your face.
Due to the reduced visibility, cars can begin crashing into each other. This is what it is like to have a brain fog.
What is Brain Fog?
Brain Fog is a term used to describe a set of symptoms that affect the ability to think. Note that it has not been described as a disease, because it isn’t. If a person is having an episode of brain fog, they usually experience the following symptoms:
- Feeling confused;
- Lack of focus;
- Poor memory;
- Difficulty articulating thoughts and putting them into words;
- Deficiency in communication;
- Mood swings
In short, the person feels disoriented and confused, unable to see far or to see clearly, just like in a fog.
How we are killing the Brain?
Why say that? Well, because a good number of the causes of brain fog are self-induced. They are the result of poor lifestyle and dietary choices. They are due to our poor and terrible sleeping habits.
We depend on junk food for nutrition and barely spend time and attention to nourish our body. Often, we refuse to give ourselves a break even when we know that we desperately need rest.
We do not give ourselves a chance to reorient, but we keep rushing from beginning to the end of the day!
The detrimental effects of all these accumulate over time leading to fatigue, nutritional deficiencies, excessive stress, trapped emotions and extremely tired and wired brain. And, all of this eventually leads to brain fog.
What causes Brain Fog?
As has been made clear, poor lifestyle and dietary choices go a long way to causing brain fogginess. However, aside or further from these reasons, a number of other situations can lead in one way or the other to fogginess of the brain, and they include:
- Toxin Buildup: Toxins ingested in food and food wrappers, industrial or household pollutants, cleaning products, and stagnant air due to poor ventilation. Also, toxin buildup may take place due to poor digestion. When there is toxin overload in the brain, it clogs the channels of brain and creates cloudiness.
- Hormone Imbalance: Hormone Imbalance may arise due to poor choices of diet and lifestyle. When cortisol or stress hormone build up, it impacts the metabolism, immunity and nervous function. Also, hormonal disturbances may be observed in pregnancy, menopause or due to overuse of hormone based contraceptives
- Medication: Hormone based birth control pills are again in this class. Other medications include anti-psychotic drugs, anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants, attention deficit disorder drugs, etc.
- Cancer Treatment: Chemotherapy can cause “chemo brain.” Someone with chemo brain has trouble remembering details or multitasking and takes longer to finish things.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: This is a condition of perpetual fatigue, usually lasting longer than six months. The fatigue is not alleviated by resting. One major symptom of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is Brain fog.
- Multiple Sclerosis: A brain disease affecting memory, attention, planning and language.
- Lupus: This is an auto-immune disease. Brain tissues can get attacked and damaged.
- Depression: The mere lack of energy and motivation that comes with depression makes it difficult to think clearly. The mind is fogged in.
Brain Chemicals and a Healthy Brain
Poor sleep, diet and overall lifestyle habits throw the brain chemicals out of balance. The imbalance results in this brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, and feeling blue.
These go on to get aggravated and become chronic insomnia, anxiety and depression. To crown it all, these conditions are potentially able to graduate into dementia eventually.
We will look into three chemicals that are particularly significant for mental clarity and brain function.
This gives a feeling of calmness and serenity, aids self-consciousness and optimism. If there is a drop in serotonin levels, it results in increased vulnerability to physical/emotional pain.
As a result, there is increased dependence on painkillers, anti-anxiety and antidepressants. These medications pose a threat of developing brain fog, impaired sexual function, and addiction to these drugs.
This is the chemical that makes you feel motivated, energized, and pleasured. When this is lower than it should be, then one feels the need to take stimulants like caffeine.
The induced levels of energy due to the stimulants can be easily crashed down from, and there is the danger of side effects like listlessness. Of course, there is the risk of addiction.
This is a stress hormone that throws you in high gear. There are moderate levels of cortisol in the brain normally, but if this balance is disturbed, there will be problems. For example, exhaustion or excitement or both.
On attempting to combat this with sleep aids, antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs, there is a resulting brain fog, exhaustion and risk of addiction.
So, one can begin to appreciate the levels of delicate balance of chemicals in the brain, and the chain of events occurring if something should go wrong with one of them.
If that chain is not broken, it becomes a cycle that spirals down further and further into worse and worse conditions.
Treatments for Brain Fog, therefore, focus on restoring the normal ranges of these chemicals to keep the brain functioning optimally.
Treating the condition!
Medications can be prescribed for taking care of brain fog. For example, antioxidants helps the brain by preventing oxidation, since the brain needs a lot of oxygen and is very vulnerable to oxidation.
You might want to watch out for side effects though.
Ayurvedic View of Brain Fog
In Ayurveda, the brain can be said to consist of three parts functionally, matching up to the three doshas:
- Dhi – which is responsible for learning and understanding, and is controlled by the vata dosha.
- Dhriti – that takes care of all retention and processing of knowledge function, regulated by the pitta dosha.
- Smriti – responsible for memory, and is under the kapha dosha.
These three parts work in synergy for effective functioning of the brain. However, for some reasons, like poor diet or weak agni for example, there might be an accumulation of ama or toxin buildup in the brain.
This “ama” clouds up the mind and the brain is, consequently, unable to function well. So, there is confusion, lack of focus and poor memory. These are common symptoms of Brain fog.
Natural Remedies for Brain Fog
Ayurveda prescribes herbs, therapies and exercises to clear up the brain fog and improve mental clarity. When you follow them on regular basis, you will find a remarkable change in your mental health status.
Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine that guides us to take care of physical body, our brain and mind and our soul. Ayurvedic remedies go deeper into clearing up the root cause of health issues and provide relief in long term.
Ayurveda not only helps you to clear up the symptoms of brain fog but also provides detailed guidelines to strengthen and improve brain function.
The focus here is really to be the best state of health with “an active body and mind”.
1. Ayurvedic Home Remedy for Brain Fog | Ama Buster (Detox Water)
Detox water will help you to clear up the mental channels and relieve the root cause of brain fog. You can either sip on warm water throughout the day or have ginger tea (if not struggling with heat in the body).
Alternatively, you can also make your ama buster drink with:
- 1 tablespoon each of ginger powder, cumin powder, and coriander powder.
- 2 tablespoons each of mint leaves and fennel seeds.
Crush the mint leaves and fennel leaves, and mix the whole thing together. Take 1 teaspoon of the mixture in a quarter or half cup of water.
2. Medhya Herbs | Improve Brain Function
Also, known as nootropics, Medhya herbs improve brain function. They work on all three pillars that lead to an active and relaxed mind. Medhya herbs are excellent for treating brain conditions. Here are some examples:
- Black pepper
3. Essential oils to Relax and Clear up the Brain Fog
- Rosemary oil for mental clarity;
- Basil oil for fatigue and concentration
- Lavender oil
4. Pranayama | Yogic breathing exercises
Deep breathing exercises and pranayama are highly effective to relax the tired mind. Regular practice of pranayama boosts the supply of oxygen to your brain and vital body organs.
Always make sure to find a quiet place when you carry out breathing exercises. Here are breathing techniques that are effective to get rid of brain fog in the long term:
- Anuloma Viloma or alternate nostril breathing. It is highly effective for anxiety, lack of focus and restlessness that originate from Vata imbalances.
- Brahmari Pranayama or Humming Bee Breath. It balances the movement of air in and out of the body. By creating a rhythm around breathing, brahmari pranayama really pushes much needed oxygen in the body parts. It helps to animate and energise the body cells.
5. Massage Therapy (Abhyangha)
Regular head massage and body massage improves circulation throughout the head and body. It helps to relax and nourishes the skin tissues in close contact of the oil.
You can use medicated oils or sesame oil to gently massage on daily basis. Medicated oils and aromatic oils also help to calm the nervous system.
Your Diet and Lifestyle to Clear up the Brain Fog and Improve Mental Clarity
6. Lifestyle Changes for Mental Wellness
- Learning and memory exercises to improve cognitive function.
- Relaxing physical activity in nature such as walking, hiking, and bicycling.
- Balancing exercises such as yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi to improve stability and groundedness.
- Spend less time with screen and technologies, especially towards bedtime.
- Do not Multi-task. Avoid involvement in multiple activities at the same time
- Avoid irregular schedule with untimely meals, erratic sleep and wake cycles.
- Do not suppress natural urges such as urination, defecation, sneezing, belching and flatulence.
- Improve your sleep habits. Staying up late at night and insufficient sleep poorly affect our Circadian Rhythms. It often triggers anxiety and fuzziness.
- Take less caffeine, alcohol and recreational drugs.
- Engage in spiritual practice helps you feel a connection to something higher than yourself, making you worry less.
7. Your Diet to Improve Brain Function
- Balance up the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your diet. Your brain needs more of omega-3, while omega-6 can be harmful to the brain if it is in excess.
- Let your meals be rich in vitamins, essential amino acids and healthy fats.
- Take warm and unctuous foods such as porridges, curries, gruels, and soups.
- Remove chilli and sugar from the diet. Both of these cause excessive stimulation and often trigger anxiety attacks and brain fog episodes.
- Limit or stop processed foods, deep fried and canned foods.
- Stay hydrated with natural beverages such as warm water, lemon water, coconut water or herbal teas.
- Include spices and herbs to maintain healthy digestive fire and to get the micro nutrients.
- Prefer Magnesium rich foods such as banana, sesame seeds, figs, raisins, whole grains, beans and lentils.
- Sip on ginger tea.
- Drink warm milk, prepared by boiling dry ginger, nutmeg and cardamom.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they are drying in nature and create fertile ground for dosha imbalance.
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