Do the holidays stress you out? While the holidays may be joyful, they can also generate a lot of stress. When we are stressed we cannot think clearly. One way to calm the mind is to take a deep breath. However, sometimes this is easier said than done. When we are stressed our body’s natural “fight or flight” mechanism kicks in and we tend to have very shallow and rapid breathing. Ever notice how when a baby breathes their tummies rise and fall? This is our natural “non-stressed” breathing. Guided breathing exercises re-teach our bodies how to breathe naturally. Want to give it a try? This video will guide you through focused breathing.
Having difficulty with your thinking? Eat some nuts and berries. Nuts are an excellent source of omega omega-3 fatty acids and berries are loaded with antioxidants. These nutrients are good for the brain and help us think better. All nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, and peanuts) and berries (blackberries, black raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, red raspberries, and strawberries), as well as grapes are beneficial. Therefore, you can eat your favorite. Just a handful of nuts and is all you need. As for the berries, stick with fresh or frozen. Dried berries tend to have added sugar. So, take care of your brain and add more nuts and berries into your daily diet!
A recent study by Columbia University showed that flavanols, which is a component in cacao, can reverse memory loss. So, what is cacao? Well, cacao is a bean and the main ingredient in chocolate. But, don’t rush out and load up on candy bars for brain power. Due to the processing of the cacao beans, candy bars contain very little flavanol and are loaded with sugar and fat. Instead try raw cacao beans, nibs and powder which are unprocessed, therefore retain a high amount of flavanols, and taste delicious. You can find these products in most grocery stores, health food stores, or online.
If you are experiencing cognitive changes you do not have to suffer alone. Talk to your healthcare provider. Together you can come up with a plan to improve your brain health and cognition.
Things to talk to your health care provider about:
forgetting things, unable to concentrate, foggy headed, difficulty at work
Lack of Sleep
less then 7 hours of sleep a night or disturbed sleep
feeling blue, down in the dumps, difficulty getting out of bed
prescriptions, over the counter, vitamins, supplements, herbs
testing of your attention, memory, and speed of thinking
brain exercises to improve your brain health and cognition
Find out how you can participate in an ongoing “Brain Training” research study
“Chemobrain”, or mental fogginess, can happen before, during, or after treatment for cancer. While the cause isn’t always known exactly, many people blame chemotherapy for this problem. While that may be the case, many other factors can play a role as well. Continue reading What is “ChemoBrain”?