As the new year approaches, many may be zeroing in on goals, as well as seeking ways to improve yourself and your overall performance, both in the workplace and in life in general.
And, if brain fog has been an issue, with symptoms of confusion, poor concentration, mental fatigue, and a general feeling of “fogginess,” you’re most likely wondering how to increase focus and improve cognitive ability. Here, we’ll explain how you may be able to clear brain fog and provide a variety of strategies to support the body and mind so that you can better cut through the mental clutter and reclaim the focus and clarity that you want and need.
How Can I Improve My Cognitive Function and Overall Focus?
Strategies on how to improve cognitive function to increase the ability to focus and attain full-body health are as follows:
Pay Attention to Related Biomarkers
There are several biomarkers, which are objective and measurable body characteristics/signs, often found via blood tests, which are associated with brain fog. Here’s why blood glucose, B vitamins, and cortisol are the most significant biomarkers to target for improved cognition:
Your blood glucose level measures how much sugar you have in your blood. Addressing issues with blood sugar levels can be one of the most important ways to minimize brain fog and increase cognitive function. When glucose levels are too high or too low, it is more difficult for the brain to function correctly, which can cause concentration and memory problems. Maintaining a stable blood sugar level for instance, by eating a more balanced diet and exercising regularly, can often alleviate brain fog symptoms and help achieve better mental performance.
B vitamins such as B9 and B12, which are crucial biomarkers for combating brain fog since they’re essential for neurotransmitter synthesis and energy metabolism, may directly impact cognitive function. A balanced diet with plenty of leafy greens, whole grains, and lean proteins can often maintain healthy levels of B vitamins, as can supplementation if you are deficient in B vitamins.
Cortisol is widely known as the stress hormone. Since cortisol levels may impact cognitive function, it’s another biomarker that’s integral for addressing brain fog symptoms. Chronic stress may lead to elevated cortisol, disrupting neurotransmitter balance and worsening mental fog. To target cortisol, consider focusing on stress management techniques such as mindfulness, exercise, and adequate sleep.
Commit to a Brain-Healthy Diet
A brain-healthy diet may be the way to cognitive improvement. Following the meal programs or eating the following foods is thought to improve mental clarity:
The MIND Diet
What is the MIND Diet? Quite literally, it’s a diet for the mind. Also known as “The Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay,” that was developed by two medical researchers to preserve cognitive health. The MIND Diet combines two preexisting programs, being the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet, which are already known for promoting brain health.
The MIND Diet emphasizes consuming foods such as leafy greens, berries, nuts, whole grains, fish, and olive oil, while avoiding sweets, red meats, butter, and cheese. It’s thought to be incredibly effective, with researchers noting a 53% lower Alzheimer’s rate among those who consumed more of the foods on the MIND Diet.
Foods That are High in Flavonoids
Flavonoids are antioxidants found in foods such as blueberries, dark chocolate, tea, and red wine. They’re thought to be extremely beneficial to brain health and those who consume many of them were found to do significantly better on cognitive tests.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Incorporating many omega-3 fatty acids into regular meals is thought to be one of the most effective steps to improve brain health. Omega-3 fatty acids are typically found abundantly in foods such as fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, and play a crucial role in building and maintaining the structure of cells in the brain. Benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include increased learning, memory, cognitive well-being, and blood flow in the brain.
Although, consuming foods that are high in omega-3s should provide adequate amounts of these beneficial fatty acids in a more easily absorbed form than supplements, these foods can also be costly. If cost is a concern, consider incorporating an omega-3 supplement for additional cognitive protection.
Get Regular Exercise
Exercising regularly is essential, not only for the health of your body, but also for cognitive health. A systematic review of numerous studies found that being sedentary is associated with reduced cognitive function, so be sure to get moving.
Stimulate Your Mind
Keeping your mind busy can help to maintain neural connections and reduce your risk of cognitive decline as you age. Ideally, choose activities that challenge various cognitive functions, including pattern recognition, memory, and problem-solving, such as:
Whether you’re a crossword puzzle fan or more of a Tetris aficionado, playing games that regularly challenge the brain can increase executive function and mental speed.
Having a healthy social life is essential for cognitive resilience. Social activities are thought to stimulate the mind through communication and engagement and foster emotional connections that support overall brain health.
Learn New Skills
Learning new skills creates new neural pathways and challenges the brain to adapt, often improving cognitive flexibility.
- Sleep Schedule Optimization
Sleep deprivation is one of the fastest ways to induce brain fog. Quality sleep is thought to be essential for the health of the body and mind, and most people don’t get enough of it (approximately six to nine hours of sleep per night is commonly recommended for adults). According to this comprehensive review of sleep research, getting an adequate amount of sleep is essential for memory, proper metabolism, and minimizing mental fatigue. Ensuring a solid sleep schedule is thought to be one of the best ways to improve cognitive function.
- Practice Meditation
Meditation involves focusing of the mind, typically through techniques such as mindfulness or deep breathing, to achieve mental clarity, calmness, and heightened awareness. It may also lower cortisol levels and slow brain aging.
Supplements that Ease Stress and Brighten Mood
Body Kitchen’s EXEED Mind is often an ideal brain fog supplement. Formulated by a team of nutritional experts and cellular biologists, the multi-nutrient formula contains:
- Whole grape and blueberry flavonoids that cross the blood-brain barrier and may improve memory and processing speed.
- Caffeine derived from non-GMO, sustainably grown fermented green tea leaves and cocoa beans to increase energy (without the crash that many get from coffee).
- Carotenoids extracted from marigold seeds which may make you feel sharper and more relaxed.
This supplement targets and may improve the five critical factors of cognition as listed below:
- Visual acuity
It’s often recommended to speak with a trusted physician before making changes to any daily routine and to take EXEED Mind to clear away the brain fog and experience new levels of clarity in 2024.