Have you been suffering from frequent brain fog or struggling to focus while at work, particularly during these stressful times?
Many of us are unable to pay attention for over 15 seconds to a friend’s conversation. Often, our thoughts begin to drift in under two minutes of doing something important, like writing that email, responding to an important text to your boss or doing some research on a new topic, says Rashi Chowdhary, nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop. Our brain, she says, needs a constant supply of energy. It occupies such little space in our body but demands 20 per cent of our body’s energy. It is constantly at work.
When we eat foods that are nutritionally draining for our body – junk, high-sugar foods, foods we are sensitive to like gluten, dairy – our natural detox pathways, that is the liver and kidneys, become dominant. These organs send out a signal demanding more energy or sugar to metabolise the toxins from food. So these organs start to compete with our brain for energy.
The issue worsens when we are faced with day-to-day “normal” triggers like the phone ringing or your messenger beeping. Our highly evolved brain knows the difference but our nervous system will look at all of these as threats, triggering the flight or fight mode. This is exacerbated if you’ve had a traumatic experience in the past and have had to deal with anxiety. All this cause a lot of stress in the brain and releases cortisol and adrenaline that over a period of time cause insulin resistance. Sugar starts to build up in your blood stream due to this and your cells have difficulty using that as energy for the brain.
This unstable energy from sugar keeps you shifting from the fight or flight mode, making your brain get easily distracted no matter how hard you try. The solution is simple: Start eating clean, stay hydrated and take regular breaks from work to do some deep breathing. It’s a great way to stay grounded, says Rashi.