The Utzy Blog

At Utzy we are dedicated to providing truthful, honest information that helps you to live a healthier lifestyle

Brain Fog: What It Is and How to Improve it with 4 Simple Strategies

August 23, 2019 | 0 comments

Has this ever happened to you? 

You spend 20 minutes talking to a friend and a few hours later you can’t remember what you talked about. 

Frustrating experiences like this one could be related to brain fog. Common complaints of this condition include forgetfulness, poor concentration, confusion, and hazy thinking.

Brain fog episodes can zap your motivation and make it hard to show up the way you want to in your life.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to get rid of it and quickly get back to living your best life.

 

Get Moving

 Even brief bouts of exercise can have positive effects on brain fog symptoms. 

One study in men with ADHD found that after 20 minutes of cycling, the men felt more motivated, energetic, and less confused. 

Memory loss is another troubling brain fog symptom that exercise may improve. 

A recent study split 120 older adults into 2 groups. One group completed stretching exercises and the other did moderate intensity walking. Within 1-2 years, the walkers reported significant improvements in memory and even had changes in areas of their brain related to memory. 

Being active right now, aside from the countless other benefits, can help your brain age more healthfully and improve brain fog symptoms. The more active you are, the more likely you are to see the benefits.

 

Feed Your Brain

 Have you ever gotten so wrapped up in something that you forgot to eat?

Angry stomach aside, you might have noticed feeling more dazed, fatigued, and distracted. Or maybe you developed sudden urges to snap on everyone around you (aka “hangry”).

You aren’t imagining these feelings.

Going long periods of time without eating causes a drop in blood sugar. This tricks your body into thinking it's starving. It reacts by releasing stress hormones that can make you feel wonky. 

To keep your mind sharp (and your relationships intact), get in the habit of eating right away when you feel hungry. 

Pay attention to what you’re eating as well.

For more consistent moods and energy throughout the day, choose more blood sugar stabilizing foods like nuts, avocados, whole grains, fruits, veggies, and lean proteins for your meals and snacks.

 

Supplement As Needed

Brain fog symptoms can occur when your brain lacks important nutrients. Sometimes, these symptoms are reversible with the right supplements.

Low levels of iron in the blood can make it harder to focus and think clearly. You might also feel fatigued all the time.

Correct low iron levels to think more sharply, concentrate better, and possibly enjoy a small boost in IQ. 

If you suspect you have low iron, get your levels checked. Follow your provider’s instructors for supplementing as needed. 

Correcting low vitamin D levels may also boost brain power, especially for middle-aged and older adults.

Some researchers believe low vitamin D levels are partially responsible for the breakdown of neurons and problems with thinking clearly as we age. Therefore, getting your vitamin D levels checked and correcting them with a supplement could help.

 

Address Sleep and Stress 

Just one night of poor sleep can leave you feeling distracted, forgetful, irritated, and anxious.

In an unfair and unrelenting cycle, stress can make you sleep poorly, which makes you even more stressed and sleep deprived as time goes on.

Stress also causes many symptoms of brain fog. 

Feeling tired, foggy, and on edge might be your new normal, but it doesn’t have to be.

Attack brain fog with a stress-relieving bedtime routine, and enjoy better sleep, clearer thinking, and more resilience to cope with stress. 

About 30 minutes before bed, shut off all the screens and do something calming that you enjoy.

This could be a warm bath, journal writing, reading, or having a small cup of decaffeinated tea.

As your body adjusts to this winding down period, you may find it easier to fall asleep faster and get more restful sleep. 

Get started with these strategies today to make brain fog a thing of the past.

If you feel your symptoms are not improving or may be related to an underlying medical reason, seek the opinion of a health care provider you trust.

 

The Utzy Blog

At Utzy we are dedicated to providing truthful, honest information that helps you to live a healthier lifestyle

How To Replace Electrolytes

July 30, 2019 | 0 comments

Summer is finally here. 

It's time for weekend barbecues, warm and lingering nights under the stars, and odds are, a lot of sweating. Even a brisk walk from air-conditioned building to air-conditioned car is enough to start dripping.

Sweating is a natural and necessary process.

However, prolonged and heavy sweating can lead to electrolyte deficiencies, if you are not careful to replenish what you may have lost.

Beat the heat this summer and learn how you can keep your electrolyte levels in check.

 

What are electrolytes? 

Major electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, phosphate, magnesium, and bicarbonate. 

These tiny, electrically charged substances are essential for your body to function. The tightly controlled movement of electrolytes throughout your body keeps muscles contracting, neurons firing, and your heart beating. 

In other words, electrolytes are vital for your health and athletic performance. Even if your athletic performance consists of sprinting inside to get out of the heat. 

 

What are signs of electrolyte deficiencies? 

The human body is normally very good at maintaining appropriate levels of electrolytes. But with excessive sweating and urine losses during extreme heat or exercise, electrolyte imbalances can happen. 

Certain medical conditions can also lead to excessive loss of electrolytes.

If you have been ill with vomiting or diarrhea, have high blood sugar levels from poorly controlled diabetes, or take diuretics, you might fall in this category. 

Signs of electrolyte deficiencies can include:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 
  • Heat cramps during physical activity
  • Fatigue
  • Poor athletic performance 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Confusion* 
  • Lethargy* 
  • Nausea or vomiting*

*If you notice any of these more severe symptoms, seek medical attention right away. 

 

How can you replenish your electrolytes?

Depending on how long you will be active, how hot it is outside, and how much you sweat, you may need to replenish your electrolytes during and/or after physical activity. 

 

Stay hydrated while you sweat and replace electrolytes 

The electrolytes you are most likely to lose in sweat include sodium and chloride, which is why you will find these on the ingredients list in sports drinks and electrolyte salts. 

While sports drinks are an easy way to replace electrolytes, fluids, and carbohydrates, think of them as an emergency option.

Don’t reach for them right away. 

Generally speaking, supplementation with carbohydrates and electrolytes during exercise is only needed if you will be working out for longer than an hour.

If you will be doing a long or strenuous workout, get your electrolytes by adding electrolyte salts to plain water.

You can even add regular table salt, about ¼ teaspoon per liter of water. 

If you are a heavy sweater but doing light activity, focus on staying hydrated during activity or active sweating, and then replace your electrolytes afterward.

 Drink enough fluid while you sweat so that you never get to the point of feeling thirsty.

Don’t drink so much that you are over-hydrating. 

After activity, you could replenish your electrolytes as mentioned above. Or if you’re dead set on a sports drink, choose a sugar free option.

 

Load up on food sources and don’t skimp on the table salt 

Don’t forget to get in some whole food sources of electrolytes.

It is no accident that you can find them in nourishing foods that also contain the carbohydrates and proteins essential for recovery.

Choose plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, plain yogurt, and fresh meats. 

If you know you are a “salty sweater”, don’t be afraid of adding some extra salt to your meals after a tough workout or a sweaty afternoon. Or enjoy a salty snack like pickles or pretzels.

 

Make sure to get enough magnesium 

Magnesium deserves a special mention.

This important mineral and electrolyte has been disappearing from our food supply and our bodies over the past century. As a result, many people are deficient in magnesium. 

If you tend to sweat and urinate a lot, you are more likely to lose even more magnesium.

Having enough magnesium on board, particularly if you have low levels to begin with, can boost athletic performance, reduce muscle cramps, and even help improve sleep.

To replenish magnesium, focus on whole food sources like dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

You can also supplement with one scoop per day of our delicious U-mag drink. 

 

 

________________________________________________

 Samantha Thoms, MPH, RD 
Samantha Thoms is a Registered Dietitian. She enjoys sharing practical information about how people can lead healthier lifestyles by making simple changes.
Check out more information on her website: https://www.budgetdietitian.com.
 

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