Menopause is a natural part of life, but managing the symptoms that come with it can be challenging. Brain fog is one of the most common and frustrating things you might deal with during this time. Fortunately, there are several strategies for reducing menopausal brain fog, and one of them is food.
If you’re going through menopause and often walk into a room only to completely forget what you’re there for, you’re not the only one. Menopausal brain fog can make it difficult to focus, remember, and stay alert.
You might suspect you’re in the early stages of dementia when you experience brain fog. However, suppose your fuzzy thinking coincides with other mysterious symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, weight gain, or trouble sleeping. In that case, you’re likely experiencing one of the hormone-related menopause effects that have seemingly come in to mess up your life!
Brain fog isn’t a medical term, yet it accurately describes how it can make you feel. This article explores some of the best foods you can include in your diet to manage the symptoms of menopausal brain fog. Read on to discover what they are, why they work, and any potential downsides.
What Helps With Brain Fog During Menopause?
An analysis of survey data from 947 perimenopausal women highlighted that around 68 per cent experienced brain fog as a menopausal symptom. Although you now know you’re not alone, you probably want a few ideas for managing brain fog.
Natural remedies for managing brain fog during the menopausal transition include:
- Focusing on getting adequate sleep and improving sleep quality for better brain health
- Including regular exercise in your week. Physical activities like aerobic exercise and resistance training may help improve memory.
- Avoiding illicit substances and being mindful of your alcohol intake, which can impair cognitive function.
- Keeping your body hydrated, since the brain primarily comprises water, and even mild dehydration can compromise brain function.
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
Yes, softening the impact of menopause brain fog may be as simple as making a few lifestyle adjustments, one of which can be your everyday food choices. Let’s now dive into the top foods for fighting brain fog during menopause.
Best Foods For Menopausal Brain Fog
Several foods help with fighting brain fog when you’re in menopause. However, they won’t all help everyone, and choosing the foods that work best for you is crucial. More isn’t always better, and even the most nourishing foods can cause problems if you overconsume them.
Therefore, even if a food is deemed beneficial, be sensible about how often you eat it and your quantities. Monitor how your body responds to each one, and focus on those which fit your dietary preferences and needs.
The next time you stop talking mid-sentence because you’ve forgotten what you wanted to say, consider putting the following foods at the top of your shopping list. The best news is that many of these are nutrient-rich and helpful for several aspects of health, not just your brain fog symptoms.
1. Fatty fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel contain excellent levels of Omega 3’s, vital for the optimal functioning of several systems and organs in the body, including the brain. Omega 3’s are part of cell membranes around your body and are exceptionally high in certain areas, including the brain. You must get Omega 3’s from food, supplementation, or both.
One thing to be aware of is that although nutritionally rich, some fish can have high levels of heavy metals. Aim to purchase local, wild-caught fish rather than imported or farmed fish. Smaller varieties of fish lower on the food chain are less likely to have high mercury levels.
2. Leafy green vegetables
Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, rocket, and collards pack a solid nutritional punch. Due to a combination of fatigue-fighting vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, they can help boost your energy levels and lift you out of a brain fog slump.
Leafy green vegetables are one of the easiest types of vegetables to grow, either indoors or outdoors. Pick the leaves as you need them for optimal freshness and nutritional value. Otherwise, opt for fresh greens from your local market.
3. Olive oil
The Mediterranean diet is often cited for its health-promoting benefits. This is likely due to the combination of nutrient-rich foods and good doses of healthy fats. Olive oil is a prominent component of this diet, and studies on mice suggest the antioxidants found in olive oil may benefit learning and memory by reducing oxidative stress in the brain.
You can purchase olive oil at your local supermarket. Go for extra virgin olive oil because it’s lesser-processed than other varieties and retains a better nutritional profile.
Avocados are high in healthy, monounsaturated fats, which are important for memory and learning. They’re a fantastic source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative stress. The brain is highly susceptible to oxidative stress, which can contribute to memory loss and cognitive decline. Therefore, avocados are well-worth trying as a food source to improve cognition and brain fog symptoms.
Avocados are available at supermarkets, fruit and vegetable markets, and farmer’s markets and can make a delicious and nourishing addition to any meal.
5. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are high in unsaturated fats that can help support cognitive function. These antioxidant-rich foods also have anti-inflammatory effects on the brain and body.
Certain nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds, have excellent levels of Omega 3, which you also know is a vital consideration for your brain cells. They’re an ideal choice for vegetarians and vegans who don’t want to eat fish but want to reap the benefits of Omega 3.
You can purchase a variety of nuts and seeds from your local supermarket, whole foods, or bulk foods store.
6. Coffee and tea
Ok, so go easy on this one because caffeine may worsen the symptoms of menopause in some people. Caffeine can improve alertness, reaction time, and attention in low to moderate doses. However, it can also adversely affect sleep in those sensitive to its effects.
If that’s you, or you’re experiencing menopause-related sleep disturbances, be mindful of your intake. Consume caffeine-containing beverages early in the day, or abstain if necessary. It’s also worth noting that tea contains lower caffeine levels than coffee.
Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a friend at your local cafe and the sense of well-being that comes with doing so. You can also stock your pantry with your favourite barista brew and teas.
7. Colourful fruits and vegetables
You’ve probably heard of the term “eat the rainbow” for its health benefits. Fruits and vegetables come in various colours, each offering a unique nutritional profile. Eating a range of colourful fruits and vegetables helps cover your nutritional bases.
Colourful fruits and vegetables are your best source of antioxidants, crucial for protecting the brain, and an ideal choice for menopausal women seeking natural solutions for their brain fog symptoms. Shop for local, organic fruit and vegetables at your farmer’s market or supermarket.
Using Food to Help Manage Brain Fog | In Conclusion
Some of the best foods that can reduce symptoms of brain fog during the menopause transition include:
- Omega 3-rich fish
- Nuts and seeds
- Other healthy fats like avocados and olive oil
- A range of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables (be sure to include dark leafy greens).
Coffee and tea can also be beneficial in moderate doses. Overall, monitor how your body responds to different foods to find the right ones for you. You may find they improve your cognitive function, help lift you out of your menopause brain fog, and improve your overall quality of life.
About The Author
Written by Elly McGuinness, a freelance writer with extensive experience in the health and fitness industry and a passion for holistic wellness.
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