SELF AND SOUL
From feeling unable to concentrate to forgetting things, many people will be familiar with the annoying sensations caused by ‘brain fog’. But did you know that your diet could be to blame? Avoiding this trio of foods is a good place to start if you want a clear mind.
This is a broad category, but the real villain here is monosodium glutamate (MSG) – a flavour-enhancing additive found in many processed food products. We’re not just talking about Chinese takeaways – that ‘healthy’ canned soup or bottled salad dressing you enjoyed at lunch could also contain MSG. Although the US Food and Drug Administration has declared MSG to be ‘safe’, other research has claimed a link between MSG and unwelcome side effects. A 2014 study found that MSG has a significant effect on memory retention and learning capabilities. Cooking whole foods from scratch is the best way to avoid it.
Cutting down on sugar is a popular health goal these days and if you have a sweet tooth, artificial sweeteners may seem heaven-sent. But despite being declared safe, a number of leading academics have expressed concerns over the safety of aspartame (one of the most widely used artificial sweeteners) and it has been linked with the development or aggravation of a number of health conditions including headaches, arthritis and diabetes. So, replacing the sugar in your tea with aspartame tablets could actually bring on brain fog.
Bad news if you love dairy, but the A1 beta casein found in milk has been shown to have a negative effect on mental agility. During a 2016 study, participants who consumed milk containing both A1 and A2 beta casein had slower responses and made more mistakes in a cognitive impairment test, compared to those who consumed milk with only the A2 beta casein. Try replacing your usual milk with a plant-based alternative such as soy or almond milk.
Brain fog is a common sign of celiac disease or of a gluten intolerance. Do sandwiches leave you feeling sluggish? It could be time to get tested!
Consult your doctor before making any dietary changes.