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The Vegan Menopause Podcast -- Ep 3 -- Brain Fog and Supporting Brain Health

Updated: Apr 5

Brain fog is a feeling of being a bit spacey, less mentally sharp, forgetfulness, distraction or slower thinking.




The brain is affected by hormonal changes during perimenopause. We have estrogen receptors in our brains and with the decrease in estrogen, some of the structures of the brain are affected, involving memory, learning, planning, reasoning, and attention. Estrogen is also tied to memory and language.

Estrogen has neuroprotective effects, so it can help protect our brain cells. Both estrogen and progesterone have anti-inflammatory effects in the brain (inflammation can cause things like Alzheimer's), help with brain cell production, and maintain the blood-brain barrier.


When hormone levels fluctuate, that can affect our cognition and mood. It can also affect our sleep, which can have even more of a negative effect.


All brains change with age but not everyone will have problems with memory or thinking. For me, even though my short term memory is sometimes not as sharp as it was, I feel like I make up for that in my wisdom and life experiences and have way more knowledge now that has accumulated over the years.


What can help with cognitive changes:

-some exercise - a short walk

-making lists or reminders

-mindfulness

-putting your attention in different parts of your body and meditation uses your brain in different ways

-push yourself out of your comfort zone

-if you do crossword puzzles every day it’s probably not very challenging anymore -- try different word games

-if you always go for the same walk, try taking that walk in reverse for a different perspective, or take a different walk

-learn some dance moves

-learn a new language

-sleep is very important

-nutritionally, we should be looking at decreasing inflammation and giving the brain the nutrients it needs

-less processed foods, fruits and veggies, protein


A Harvard study in 2022 found that for every 5% of calories that came from plant protein instead of carbohydrates, there was a 26% lower risk for developing dementia.

"Beans and legumes had the strongest protective association. Peas and lima beans in particular were associated with a 28% lower risk of cognitive decline for every additional three servings per week”.


Healthy fats are also super important because your brain is made of fatty tissue. We need omega 3s (flax, hemp, or walnuts, chia seed). Seeds, nuts, olives, and of course avocados are great too.


If you are really feeling more than just a bit forgetful I encourage you to get a health assessment in case it is an issue of more than just a perimenopausal brain fog.

For example, you are experiencing general confusion, forget the way to a place you go all the time, can’t remember things like how to button your shirt or how to do everyday tasks.




If you enjoyed this episode, and are interested in one-on-one coaching, please feel free to book a 30-minute Menopause Empowerment Call with me and I would love it if you would leave a review or share this with someone who could benefit from it. I’m also open to suggestions for future episodes, you can always email me suggestion or send a dm on Instagram.

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