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Brain Fog and Food Allergies

By Diane Marks

Brain fog is a mental state of lack of clarity caused by various elements. The proteins found in various foods cause inflammation in the sinus cavity, leading to nasal congestion and brain fog, according to The most common foods that cause an allergy include fish, shellfish, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, milk and eggs. Brain fog can make you feel like you are mentally unclear, according to Talk with your doctor if you suspect that you’re allergic to wheat gluten.

Congestion and Brain Fog

When your sinuses become inflamed, they swell, placing excessive pressure on the surrounding areas of the head. Sinus pressure can make you feel tired and lethargic. Pressure may be felt behind the eyes, in the forehead or in the cheeks; these areas may be sensitive to touch, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Attempt eliminating all wheat gluten from your diet for a few weeks to see if your condition improves. Talk with your doctor before modifying your diet.

Allergic Reaction

When you eat a food you're allergic to, your body overreacts to the proteins, which causes increased levels of histamine in soft tissue throughout the body. Your body reacts as if it is under attack and produces antibodies. Antibodies attempt to fight off the proteins, which triggers mast cells throughout the body to produce histamine. Histamine keeps the body protected against infection, but during an allergic reaction, it causes inflammation in the sinuses, the skin and the lungs.

Other Symptoms

Other symptoms that will develop if you’re allergic to food include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, cramping, skin rashes, hives, eczema, tingling in the mouth, facial swelling, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness and coughing. Sinus congestion that causes brain fog will also cause sinus headaches and postnasal drip. Postnasal drip is a condition where excess mucus drips down the back of your throat, which can lead to coughing and a sore throat. If you develop a fever, the UMMC recommends you call your doctor -- you may have a sinus infection.


If you are clinically diagnosed with a food allergy, your doctor will recommend that you avoid all foods and beverages that contain that protein. Brain fog from sinus congestion may be treated with various over-the-counter drugs, such as decongestants, antihistamines and pain relievers. Discuss any medications you want to take with your physician before using them.

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