NUTRITION TO SUPPORT BRAIN FUNCTION DURING PERIMENOPAUSESep 19, 2022
Have you ever: -
- stood in a room and wondered why you are there?
- Told your kids to turn their computers off and your brain just can’t find the word computer?
- Sat at work, completing a project and you completely lose your train of though and forget what you were doing?
Confusion, poor concentration, unclear thinking, and inability to focus.
This is what many experience with brain fog or menopause brain
A 2016 study showed that around 60% of perimenopausal women reported issues with cognition and that symptoms are significantly worse in the later stages of menopause.
These symptoms are linked to fluctuations in our oestrogen levels during the menopause transition. Oestrogen influences areas of the brain that are responsible for our cognitive function and our brains have to adapt to these hormonal changes.
Whilst there is little we can do about these natural fluctuations in our hormones during this transition, we can reduce the impact of these symptoms by reducing other triggers that may worsen their effect.
Alongside hormonal changes, other factors that impact on symptoms of menopause brain are:
- Lack of sleep
- Poor diet
- Medication side effects
- Certain health conditions
A nourishing diet full of vitamins and minerals can support the body’s ability to cope with stress and hormonal imbalances.
Foods to avoid.
Like many areas of functional medicine, the health of the brain is linked to the health of your gut. Get support from a nutritional therapist to identify any food sensitivities you may have.
Common food antigens include gluten, cow’s dairy and nuts. Removing food antigens may improve the permeability of the gut wall and the blood brain barrier, ultimately reducing symptoms of brain fog.
Alcohol intake is a key area of importance for your health during perimenopause and can impact your health in the following ways: -
- Impairs the production of melatonin (our sleep hormone) and disrupts our circadian rhythm
- Can worsen hot flashes and night sweats disrupting sleep
- Impairs detoxification of other toxins including our hormones
- Impacts on the brain-adrenal axis dysregulating our stress response
- Damages the gut microbiome, promoting inflammation and leaky gut.
Foods to support brain health.
Oily fish (sardines, salmon, mackerel) - contain omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory and used by the brain to build brain cells. Approximately 60% of the brain is made of fat, so if you are on a low-fat diet, it may increase your foggy brain symptoms.
Green leafy vegetables – the superstars of vegetables. Contain important vitamins and minerals to help support hormonal balance such as folate, vitamin K and magnesium. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, rocket) contain sulforaphane a powerful antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory to keep your brain functioning optimally and ageing well.
Finally, dark chocolate, which personally I take for medicinal purposes every day to keep my brain in optimal health 😉
Dark chocolate contains the antioxidant plant compounds called flavonoids. These flavonoids have been shown to enhance memory and reduce mental decline. In addition to these benefits, they have a positive effect on your mood, so a win win scenario.
Over the coming months in the Pause and Unite Members Area, i will be picking key ingredients and explaining how they can have an impact on your Pausal Journey, Delilah Fine Foods are also providing recipe cards to complement my information as a way of inspiring you to incorporate them into your diet.
To find out more about nutrition and the menopause from Rebecca Wakefield - Click on the image below:
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