You’re trying to read your book but the words are just not registering.
You walk into the kitchen and all of a sudden you don’t remember what it is you came to do there.You keep forgetting where you’ve put your keys.You loose your train of thought in the middle of a sentence.To lighten the mood you crack a joke about early onset of Alzheimer’s but deep down you are a bit concerned …I come across it very often in my practice. Many of my clients relate to one or all of the examples above and experience a general sense of feeling cloudy, unfocused, forgetful, distracted, anxious, moody, depressed and fatigued.
I work with expats who have health issues related to a compromised digestive system (a common issue within our community) and brain fog is often one of them.
You can recognise inflammation quite easily when you injure yourself. A cut in your finger for example, brings on an inflammatory reaction that leads to redness, swelling, throbbing and pain. What you can’t easily see is the inflammation that occurs internally, in your gut, as a result of diet, stress, toxins, infections or otherwise. But what you can see is the ripple effect that it has on other areas in our body, like joint pain, skin rashes, allergies, stagnant weight or brain fog.
Here’s how your brain reacts to gut inflammation:
Chronic internal inflammation in the gut is linked to a compromised inner “skin”: the intestinal barrier that is meant to let through nutrients and keep out unwanted particles, toxins, bacteria and other pathogens. When this barrier becomes “leaky” and unwanted molecules cross into our bloodstream (a very common issue for people who travel the world and are exposed to new environments, germs, foods, and sanitary conditions) then your immune system kicks in.
The inflammatory cytokines that are produced (these are signalling molecules that trigger an immune response) travel through the blood and cross the blood-brain barrier, where they activate local immune cells in the brain. The result of this is brain inflammation, which is often the cause of all these frustrating “brain fog” symptoms.
One of my clients, who had just moved to Asia with her family came to me with brain fog as one of her main concerns. She had been noticing forgetfulness and a lack of focus in addition to low energy levels and some digestive issues such as bloating.
We worked on her diet, removing inflammatory foods and upgrading her nutrition by bringing in better and more nutrient dense foods. We worked on healing and repairing her digestion with the help of special healing foods and select natural supplements.
She also implemented other important lifestyle changes and it didn’t take long for her to feel energised and a sense of mental clarity and focus returned. She was soon back to feeling like herself again, feeling sharper, alert and on top of her game.
I love seeing every time how powerful the effect of digestive healing is on the entire body and mind!
Here’s an easy way to begin clearing brain fog:
Digestive healing and repair involves a number of different steps that include eliminating inflammatory foods and bringing in more fresh, whole, real nutrient dense foods. There is one powerful food that you can bring in right away to build good gut health and experience the positive effect this has on your brain function: super gut healing, nutrient dense bone broth.
Bone broth is one of the best gut healing foods on the planet. My dad tells me that my grandmother used to always have bone broth bubbling on the stove. Feeling under the weather, down with a cold, or flu: bone broth was the magic solution. We have lost touch with these powerful home remedies and it is time we bring them back.
Bone broth contains important nutrients including glycine and gelatine, which help to repair and heal the lining of our digestive tract.
It is easy to make bone broth at home. You can find detailed instructions for a basic chicken broth below. If you want a more convenient solution there are good quality ready made bone broths available these days. Look for organic and grass fed bone broth that has been cooked for around 48 hours to draw out all the important nutrients.
Taking care of your digestion is going to help you resolve many health issues, including brain fog.
Homemade chicken bone broth
Homemade bone broth (or stock) is an excellent source of minerals. It is well known to heal and repair the digestive track, it is excellent for bone health and its high collagen content makes it a super skin booster. The trick is to cook the broth for a long time over low heat with some vinegar, which helps draw out the minerals into the cooking water.
This is a basic recipe for broth made with chicken bones. I like to freeze the chicken carcasses after making roast chicken. When I have two carcasses in the freezer I make this easy bone broth, which can be used to increase the nutritional value of soups, sauces, stews etc.
• 2 whole chicken carcasses
• 2 carrots, roughly chopped
• 4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
• 1 onion, cut into quarters
• 1 tsp dried thyme
• 1 tsp peppercorns
• 2 bay leaves
• A handful of parsley leaves
• Place all the ingredients, except the parsley in a large pot with 3 litres of cold water.
• Slowly bring to a low simmer
• Continue to cook with the lid ajar for about 2 hours. Don’t bring to a full boil
• Remove the lid and allow to cook for another 1 hour
• Add the parsley leaves 10 minutes before the cooking time is finished
• Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve
• Chill and remove congealed fat
• Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months
Monique Jhingon is a Functional Nutrition & Lifestyle Practitioner who offers select private coaching to expats whose health and digestion has been compromised as a result of transitioning into new environments, cultures, climates and foods. You can read more on her website and sign up for a free nutrition breakthrough session here: www.moniquejhingon.com