HAWAII'S ONLY WEEKLY FILIPINO-AMERICAN NEWSPAPER
SERVING THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY SINCE 1993
SEPT. 2, 2017
FAMILY & HEALTH

Jet Lag and Food for Brain Fog

SAVIOR FAIRE by Mayenne CARMONA

Friends tell me all the time that they need a vacation after their vacation in Europe or the US. The obvious reason is their dysfunctional sleeping pattern — “jet lag” in simple terms. Sleep deprivation is no laughing matter and could cause havoc to one’s health and compromise the immune system. Furthermore, not having enough sleep makes one lethargic and slow-witted.  The brain is foggy and reflex impulse

is slow or non-functional.  Taking tons of coffee to get through the day is not a good solution either as one could have heart palpitations from the caffeine. Taking lots of liquids will disrupt whatever sleep you need to catch as the bladder has to be emptied every so often. Some friends say taking a lot of water works for them so take the course that works best for you.

Jet lag is caused when travel to different time zones throws off our circadian rhythm — the biological clock that helps control our sleeping and waking time.  It normally lasts four to five days, but some take longer to adjust.  Suggestions of getting over jet lag by sleep experts are sensible, but they don’t really work for me. Of course, the fastest way is to take sleeping pills, which I don’t want to resort to as it could be addictive.  My doctor prescribed me three milligrams of melatonin, to be taken two hours before bedtime, which is a more natural cure. 

According to nutrition expert Sue Mosebar, there are foods that help the brain get through “brain fog.” I plan to eat these foods to get over my jet lag and my lack of focus.  However, these are foods that one should eat often and not only during “jet lag” days.

1. Salmon. It has brain-healthy omega 3, protein, and minerals such as vitamin B12 and potassium, making it a powerful brain-boosting food.  The human brain is made up of nearly 60-percent fat and omega 3 is the predominant type of fat found in the brain. Simply put, when it comes to brain health, omega 3 is king and studies show that increasing consumption of omega 3  through fatty fish and supplements can improve reaction time, memory, and cognitive function. 

2. Nuts and seeds. They provide healthy fats, fiber (which supports healthy blood sugar, a key to banishing brain fog), numerous vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin E, manganese, and copper), amino acids and polyphenols (which slow down the aging process in the brain by combatting free radicals) — all of the above help support cognitive function.  Walnuts in particular, according to studies, are good for cognitive function and found beneficial in people who regularly consumed them.  Walnuts are a natural source of melatonin, a sleep- inducing hormone that plays an intricate role in regulating circadian rhythms.  Interestingly during sleep, the brain clears out “neurotoxic” waste that builds up during the day. 

3. Blueberries. They’re low in calories and super high in nutrients.  They are loaded with fiber, vitamins (C and K), and manganese. Most impressive are the exceptionally high levels of antioxidants and and flavonoids found in blueberries which make them beneficial for the brain.  In fact, blueberries rank as having one of the highest in antioxidant content among all fruits, vegetables, spices, and seasonings.

4. Green leafy vegetables. They’re rich in antioxidants and carotenoids (which give vegetables their wide array of colors).  Lutein, leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens are known for providing high amounts of folate and vitamin K, nutrients that help improve focus, memory, and overall brain power. While lutein is commonly recognized for its eye benefits, it also accumulates in the brain and recent studies show this powerful carotenoid is excellent for brain health and cognitive function.  Folate helps protect the brain by aiding in the elimination of toxic compounds that contribute to brain fog.

5. Avocados. They’re a fantastic source of healthy fats, namely oleic acid. They are high in other nutrients — they provide seven grams of fiber, have more potassium than bananas, have plenty of vitamins C, K and folate, antioxidants, as well as small amounts of magnesium, iron, and zinc.  Avocados score high as brain food because they provide monounsaturated fats, which support healthy blood flow to the brain.

Eating these brain foods should be supplemented with getting enough exercise, reducing simple carbs and sugar, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep in order to eliminate brain fog and give us the productive and energetic mental capacity till our advanced years. — Source: Biotrust .com. (www.philstar.com)

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