Brain fog is a term commonly used to describe memory problems or mental clarity when stress is a factor.
With presents to be bought, relatives to juggle and an abundance of mouths to feed, the to do list can seem never ending.
To help keep brain fog at bay this Christmas, naturopathic nutritionist Amy Morris from Water for Health has shared her top tips to boost mental clarity.
One of these includes getting more of a certain vitamin.
B vitamins are a hidden gem in the food world. Foods such as legumes, green vegetables, wholegrain bread and even Marmite contain this gem.
Amy explained: “Not only do they help power our brain, they provide the perfect amount of energy we need to form red blood cells and break down chemicals. However, unlike protein, our body struggles to store B vitamins, so it is important to have a regular intake of this super vitamin.
“B vitamins are known to help conditions like anxiety, depression and heart disease, additionally increasing energy, enhancing our mood, improving our memory, boosting our skin and hair health, and also stimulating the immune system.”
B vitamins can be taken in supplement form.
Not only is protein great for your brain, it is also super accessible, according to Amy.
She said: “You can find protein all over the supermarket too; organic free-range eggs, seeds, meats, nuts and lentils – the list goes on. Whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner, it is incredibly easy to incorporate protein into your meals. Protein is also the key to ensuring we are full of energy and have a strong body overall.
“The amino acids found in protein heavy foods are essential when it comes to forming our hormones, organs and muscles. Like dark chocolate, protein also creates neurotransmitters like dopamine which helps us stay happy and relaxed throughout the busy festival season.”
Again, protein is also available in supplement form.
Nothing shouts Christmas like chocolate. Sometimes all it takes is a small bit of chocolate to lift your spirits, but ensure you are eating the right kind for it to have a positive impact on your brain.
Amy advised: “Dark sugar-free chocolate with a cocoa percentage of over 70 per cent contains a lot of healthy nutrients such as flavonols, which support many aspects of health and function including brain health. Dark chocolate also contains phenylalanine, an amino acid that plays a key role in dopamine production, which helps to relieve stress and lift a low mood.”
From pole-line and caught salmon to sardines, mackerel and trout, these healthy fats have long been recognised for being one of the best brain foods around.
Amy explained: “The fats in oily fish contain the highest concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids, which are proven to make a positive difference to brain health and mood. The compounds found in Omega 3’s have also been proven to aid the transmission of chemical signals from cell to cell, keeping us alert and more focused.
“Fear not, if you want all the benefits of omega 3, but dislike fish or think you will struggle to eat the recommended two servings a week, try supplementing it with a high quality product such as UnoCardio 1000 instead.
“UnoCardio 1000 has been named the highest quality omega 3 supplement on the market since 2015, and contains both omega 3 fish oil and Vitamin D, which is also incredibly beneficial to your body over the winter months.”
Fermented foods are packed full of good, live bacteria and yeasts which help to restore the natural balance of your gut, stomach and intestines, according to Amy.
She said: “Foods such as kimchi, miso soup, sauerkraut, soya sauce, yogurt and tofu contain good bacteria, which have been shown to help your body naturally deal with stress and other emotions.
“From stomach ulcers to IBS, a foggy brain can begin to cause some serious issues within our body. With a healthy and well-balanced gut, our mood becomes more balanced and increases our brains function, improving our behavior and preparing us for Christmas.”