2. Alcohol – Impaired thinking is obvious when it comes to drinking too much, but it can be true with a little alcohol, too. Alcohol contains lots of brain fog triggers, including gluten and histamines.
Instead try: Switching to sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon or lime. If you want to fancy it up, add some fresh fruit.
3. Artificial sweeteners – Those handy little packets of aspartame can give you headaches and brain fog. It stops the production of dopamine and can cause inflammation in the brain that leads to long-term damage.
Instead try: Skipping the sweeteners entirely, or use stevia. It’s a natural sweetener that doesn’t have negative side effects.
4. Gluten – We all know about the health problems that gluten can cause. But did you know that the inflammation that gluten causes can have an effect on your brain?
Instead try: An alternative flour like almond flour or oat flour.
5. Coffee and Caffeine – You may find it odd that caffeine could cause brain fog. After all, don’t we drink our coffee to wake us up and clear our heads? The problem with caffeine is that once you get used to having it, you become dependent upon it.
That leads to brain fog hitting any time that you go without caffeine for too long. Plus, there is a greater risk of missing out on sleep because the caffeine is keeping you up.
Instead try: Breaking the caffeine cycle by cutting back slowly. Drink plenty of water and switch to decaf or herbal teas. Turmeric tea may give you the energy you miss from caffeine without the brain fog problem.
Brain fog often comes on slowly, so you don’t always recognize you feel it until you remove the foods that cause it from your diet.
Coughing is one of those irritating symptoms that usually indicates a deeper health concern. Often, it can be hard to isolate the cough and figure out exactly why you are experiencing this uncomfortable condition. Many people simply reach for the cough syrup without a second thought, searching for some measure of relief. However, it is essential that you understand what different coughs mean and what they reveal about your health.
Any kind of cough is merely the body’s natural defense mechanism. When you cough, your body is trying to remove foreign or unwanted objects from your airway. In short, it is the final protective barrier between your mouth and lungs and is an essential tool for keeping a healthy airway.
Though it is difficult to pinpoint the source of a cough without medical intervention, these common conditions are often directly related to distinctive coughs that can help you narrow down an underlying cause.
Identifying factors: Usually a dry cough at first and turns into a wet cough with green, yellow, red, or rust-tinged mucus. The wet cough usually develops after a few days.
This is a bacterial or viral infection of the lungs and will be treated accordingly by your primary care physician. If it is bacterial, your doctor will usually prescribe antibiotics. Viral pneumonia is treated simply with rest and time. Keep in mind that you should always spit out extra mucus, as swallowing it can lead to an irritated stomach lining.
If you have pneumonia you may also experience fever, chills, trouble breathing, and pain when breathing in deeply or coughing.
Identifying factors: This is usually a hacking cough that produces excessive amounts of mucus in the morning and often gets better as the day progresses.
COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is usually caused and exacerbated by smoking. This is a disease that includes both chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Emphysema causes the air sacs in your lungs to lose elasticity while chronic bronchitis is due to swelling in the lining of the lungs. COPD is usually treated with medication such as bronchodilators and inhaled steroids. It is also essential to stop smoking and depending on the severity, you may need oxygen therapy to restore lung health.
If you have COPD you may also notice persistent shortness of breath that is worsened with physical activity, chest tightness, wheezing, and fatigue.
Identifying factors: An asthmatic cough is usually a dry cough with a rattling or wheezing sound present in the lungs. It usually worsens with exercise or at night.
Asthma can be a serious condition and should not be taken lightly. If you suspect asthma, it is important to get a diagnosis from your doctor and begin to focus on taking deep, full breaths as soon as possible.
This condition causes inflamed airways and may be accompanied by fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
Identifying factors: This can be either a wet or dry cough and is caused by mucus trickling down the back of the throat and irritating nerve endings.
Postnasal drip is due to allergies or a cold and is the most common type of cough. A cough related to allergies may also be accompanied by sneezing or itching while cold symptoms may cause congestion and a sore throat. You may also notice that your cough gets worse at night.
Time and patience will usually remedy the common cold, and a spoonful of local, raw honey before bed can help you sleep. If you suspect an allergy, try avoiding the source and consider taking an over the counter antihistamine.
Indicating factors: Dry, spasmodic cough that usually starts or becomes worse when you are lying down or eating.
GERD, or more commonly known as acid reflux, occurs when acid from your stomach backs up into your esophagus. This condition is the second most common cause of chronic coughing, comprising about 40% of cases. When food passes through the esophagus into the stomach, a valve, known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes, which prevents food or acid from coming back up the throat. GERD is caused by an untimed relaxation of the LES which causes acid to flow backward from the stomach.
In 75% of cases, chronic cough is the only symptom of acid reflux, so it is vital to be aware of this condition. Treatments vary, so it is best to consult your doctor for an appropriate diagnosis and course of action regarding GERD.
Looking for more ways to boost your memory? Here are some other activities to build into your routine, according to the Mayo Clinic:
Get active: Exercise increases blood flow to your brain. The Department of Health and Human Services says healthy adults should get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (like brisk walking) every week.
Exercise your brain, too: Think of your brain like a muscle — you have to use it to stay in shape! Try crossword puzzles, card games, or other mentally stimulating activities.
Be organized: It’s harder to remember things when you’re living in a messy environment. Keep lists, a planner, or the calendar in your phone to keep track of appointments and important to-dos. And think like Marie Kondo: Every item in your home should have its own place!
Get enough sleep: Sleep is vital for memory health, so don’t skimp — healthy adults should get seven to nine hours nightly, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Eat healthy foods: A nutritious diet will also benefit your brain and memory health. Focus on fruits, veggies, whole grains, and low-fat proteins like fish and beans.
Get chronic conditions under control: Living with a chronic illness like diabetes or depression? Managing those and your overall health will also help you protect your brain and memory health.
Diet is strongly linked to longevity. Research has long suggested that following a Mediterranean diet — which includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and healthy fats, and not much sugar, red meat or processed food — brings a host of health benefits, including a longer life.
Other studies have also found longevity benefits associated with some of the specific foods and nutrients included in a Mediterranean diet, such as whole grains, fiber, fish, plant-based proteins and healthy fats. On the other hand, foods including processed snacks and meats, fried foods and sugar-sweetened beverages have been linked to higher risks of chronic disease and death.
Even if your diet isn’t perfect, research suggests that making smart changes can add up to sizable benefits. One paper published in 2017 concluded that people who ate 20% more healthy foods than they had at the beginning of the study, over the course of 12 years, decreased their risk of early death by up to 17%.
Working out regularly is a boon for both your physical and mental health, boosting everything from cardiovascular fitness to mood and energy — so it’s no surprise that it can also extend your life. Federal physical activity guidelines recommend aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week, plus twice-weekly muscle-strengthening sessions, to reap health and longevity benefits.
But you don’t have to go overboard. Even short bouts of light physical activity, such as walking and cleaning, increased the lifespans of older men and women in studies from 2018 and 2017, respectively. And a study published in January found that simply moving instead of sitting for 30 minutes each day could reduce early death risk by 17%.
If you do opt for a more vigorous workout, some research suggests that team sports like tennis and soccer are best for longevity, because they encourage social interaction as well as exercise.
And if you don’t exercise now, you can still start. A recent study found longevity benefits associated with both life-long and later-in-life exercise.
Maintaining a healthy body weight
Diet and exercise habits help people maintain a healthy body weight, which the Circulation study defined as a body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9. Obesity is associated with chronic conditions including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, all of which can shorten your life. A 2018 study found that widespread obesity shaved a year off the U.S. life expectancy and is responsible for up to 186,000 deaths per year.
Drinking only in moderation
For years, moderate drinking was touted as a harmless — and maybe even healthy — habit. But recently, scientific opinion has begun to shift toward a more cautious stance on alcohol.
Last year, a large meta-analysis of prior alcohol studies concluded that there is no safe amount of drinking, because the net risks to a population — addiction, cancer, traffic accidents and so on — outweigh any potential benefits, such as improved cardiovascular and cognitive health. And while each person’s risk-benefit analysis depends on his or her family and medical history, research is increasingly supporting the idea that people should limit their alcohol consumption to avoid health problems and increase longevity.
Moderate drinking, according to federal dietary guidelines, means that women should have no more than a drink per day, and men should have no more than two per day.
In addition to causing lung cancer, cigarette smoking is associated with serious health problems including heart attack, stroke and mouth, and throat cancers, making it a significant threat to longevity. The best way to reduce your risk, of course, is never to smoke at all — but if you do, experts advise quitting as soon as possible to minimize threats to your health.
We would love to all take a look in the mirror and see a flat stomach with abs that pop. All though for many, this is the goal it’s more important to lose the fat around your midsection AKA “belly fat” for health reasons as well. If you did not know already, “belly fat” has very big health risks. Visceral fat is wrapped around organs, kidneys, liver and pancreas.
If you happen to have a protruding belly, this sign can be that you have dangerous visceral fat. This can happen to anyone but not everyone knows about this dangerous fat. I always say knowledge is power so when I started studying what exactly visceral fat was in school, I was fascinated about all I came to find out.
Health problems due to belly fat
Carrying around this type of fat can increase the risk of many health problems. I am just going to name a few:
4 changes to help lose belly fat
Get out there and get moving. If you’re really serious like I was, doing 30 to 60 minutes a day of exercise will make a big difference. You need to push yourself to a sweat but you can do an activity you enjoy. I enjoy zumba so I really broke out a sweat and moved in a group zumba class. I also love to bike during the warmer months. You can also use fast-paced walking as a exercise, rowing, running, or swimming to elevate your heart rate and break out into a sweat. Visceral fat responds great to endurance exercise. You just need to be consistent.
Yoga is a great stress reliever. If yoga is not for you then you can find a quiet spot when feeling stressed and do deep relaxing breathing. This did wonders for me and my state of mind. Just a few times a day taking the time to relax and clear the mind is something I was not used to doing when I was younger.
Reduce sugar and refined carbohydrates
A myth that has been around forever is you can burn off your belly fat. Sure exercise will help, in fact it is a great help in the fight to rid of visceral fat but you also need to change what you eat, if you eat sugar and refined carbohydrates. I talk about this in many of my articles but I know from experience of my own and others that a lifestyle change can change so much. Eat leaner protein and less refined carbs. Eat small portions. Eat healthy fats which are found in nuts and seeds. Eat fruit but not in excess. Eat lots of vegetables. Sure a piece of birthday cake now and then is fine just really try to decrease the sugar because this of all things started my midline to shrink. The less sugar I ate the less fat around my stomach.
7 to 8 hours of sleep is great for body recovery. You really need to shut off artificial light. Put down that cell phone or tablet or any electronics an hour before bedtime. This will help relax the mind and get rid of stimuli to the brain so you can get the good sleep you need. Sleep deprivation can actually cause depression, weight gain and many other health issues so get in your zzzz’s.
The Most Inflammatory Foods You Can Put in Your Body
Food can be a source of inflammation through allergens, bacteria or other toxins. The body can also see foods that “don’t agree” with its biochemistry which causes your whole body to start attacking these “foreign invaders,” thus causing more inflammation in the bloodstream, Sadie Wells, RD, LDN, CPT, says.
Similarly, she adds, eating unhealthy food is like having a chronic infection that triggers an immune response which then causes inflammation.
Generally speaking, a diet high in trans-fatty acids, saturated fats, sugar and refined carbohydrates contributes to chronic inflammation, Nicole Simonin, a health and fitness expert at Shape it Up, says.
Any food that your body is intolerant or allergic to can also be a significant source of inflammation, and low-grade inflammation is a factor in most health issues
Ask any nutritionists and the answer will be the same: Sugar is the worst offender. “Excess sugar intake raises our pro-inflammatory cytokine levels while suppressing our germ-killing white blood cells, weakening the immune system,” Wells says.
Even natural sugar (in excess)
Although less of a concern, too much sugar, even the natural sugar from fruit, could be too much (usually if combined with other sugar-laden foods) and can cause inflammation, Wells says. “Some research suggests avoiding nightshade vegetables—tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant—due to the compound called solanine, to help reduce arthritis symptoms,” she adds
Trans fat which are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils or shortening are still top of the list for inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and arthritis, Simonin says. “In our American diets, the main source of trans fats is in shortening.” Manufacturers typically use this in fast foods as well as fried foods, sweets, and baked goods, she adds.
Omega-6 oils such as corn, safflower, and sunflower are not bad if used in moderation, but a typical American diet ingests too many omega-6 oils which can cause inflammatory responses in the body, Simonin says
Most meats/animals are fed an unnatural, grain-based diet which makes them gain weight faster and contain higher amounts of saturated fats and Omega-6’s, Wells says. “Various processing technologies, cooking techniques, such as grilling, can further promote inflammation by increased hormone levels, antibiotic resistance, and other carcinogens (AGE’s=advanced glycation end products),” she adds.
Highly processed oils
The worst types of oils are the highly processed oils such as hydrogenated and partial hydrogenated oils such as soybean, corn and canola oils, Simonin says. Because these oils have become processed by hydrogenation this oil can convert to trans fat.
Albeit from vegetables, vegetable oils are unnatural in large amounts and are processed/made by pressing, heating, and uses various industrial chemicals and highly toxic solvents, Wells says. “Additionally, vegetable oils are high in Omega-6 fatty acids and can cause inflammation when we consume too many of them.”
Additives such as artificial colors, BHT and nitrates are among many that are a cause for concern, Simonin says. “Many of these additives have been banned in other countries, but the FDA continues to consider them ‘acceptable’ for U.S. consumption.”
Processed bread are stripped of their nutrients so aiming for whole grain breads with fiber will help decrease the inflammatory response, Simonin says.
Depending on the person, Simonin says, dairy could be a large contributor of inflammation. “But it depends on to what degree they react to dairy.” Furthermore, Wells adds, dairy can also be inflammatory due to high amounts of saturated fats and most commercially produced dairy products lack significant amounts of beneficial bacteria.
While some artificial sweeteners are derived from natural substances, they are still synthetically made sugars, Simonin says. “Our body does not know what to do with the chemicals.” The long-term health of using these substances is still undetermined as to whether they cause inflammation, illness or diseases, she adds. According to Wells, artificial sweeteners are known to disrupt the gut microbiome, causing a reduction in good gut bacteria, which in turn allows the bad gut bacteria to proliferate
They are chemically enhanced. Soda is slowly killing you. The body is actually worse off after consuming soda because it is depleted of important macronutrients. A Harvard study found that people who drink even one can of soda a day significantly increase their risk of chronic heart disease (CHD). “Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with increased risk of CHD and some adverse changes in lipids, inflammatory factors, and leptin,” researchers found.
Research suggests that they promote an inflammatory microbiota, and may be the primary dietary cause of leptin resistance and obesity
They are still made with flour and have processed carbs that will increase your blood sugar levels. White or wheat flours are basically the same as far as diabetics are concerned. Most bakeries cook with hydrogenated oil, a kind of trans fat, instead of butter.
You would think yogurt would be healthy for you, but depending on the brand, you might be ingesting artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, dairy and fake fruit in that one little cup, Simonin says. Flavored yogurts are the ones with too much sugar and artificial ingredients.
Processed meats such as deli meats are your worst offenders, Simonin says. Look for non-processed meats with minimal ingredients and grass-fed beef. “If we eat healthier animals, we, in turn, may be able to decrease inflammation response.” Eating grass-fed beef also increases your omega-3 fats (as opposed to grain-fed cows), she adds. “Cattle were never meant to eat corn and soy which is what most grain-fed cattle are given.”
“Processed foods generally contain elevated levels of refined sugars and grains/flours, are high in trans fats from hydrogenated vegetable oils, contain artificial ingredients and emulsifiers, and lack fiber and other important nutrients that actually help to fight inflammation,” Wells says.
Refined flours lack fiber which contributes to slowing the digestion and absorption of glucose, Wells says. “A slower release of glucose into the bloodstream also reduces the release of insulin, a hormone associated with a pro-inflammatory response in the body.”
The culprits are the sugar and artificial sweeteners. This is not the best breakfast option. Cereals with marshmallows and chocolate puffs are obviously high in sugar, but just how much sugar may surprise you. The Environmental Working Group examined the sugar content of 84 bowls of cereal and found 54 of them contained more than 24 to 26 percent sugar by weight. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, at 55.6 percent sugar, was the worst.
Candy falls in what Wells calls the “chemical storms” category. Candy is not a staple food and should never be perceived as anything more than a treat. Even when consumed occasionally and in small portions, they can cause a lot of harm. The sugar, artificial additives, trans fats…nothing in these treats us healthy.
They are also on Wells’ “chemical storm” list. Fancy coffee beverages have loads of sugar coming from the added milk or creamer, and too many calories. For example, one grande Caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks contains 66g of sugar.
Too much alcohol
Chronic inflammation is often associated with alcohol-related medical conditions. Heavy alcohol consumption contributes to systemic inflammation by interfering with the body’s natural defenses against the influx of gut microbiota and its products, research shows. The Most Inflammatory Foods You Can Put in Your Body Food can be a source of inflammation through allergens, bacteria or other toxins. The body can also see foods that “don’t agree” with its biochemistry which causes your whole body to start attacking these “foreign invaders,” thus causing more inflammation in the bloodstream, Sadie Wells, RD, LDN, CPT, says. Similarly, she adds, eating unhealthy food is like having a chronic infection that triggers an immune response which then causes inflammation. Generally speaking, a diet high in trans-fatty acids, saturated fats, sugar, and refined carbohydrates contributes to chronic inflammation, Nicole Simonin, a health and fitness expert at Shape it Up, says.