Brain dysfunction can get categorized as neurodegenerative, neurodevelopmental, neuromuscular, psychological, psychiatric or traumatic brain injury. Despite being divided into different areas of medicine, all of these categories have something in common. That commonality is inflammation.
It doesn’t matter if you have depression, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, Parkinson’s, or Multiple Sclerosis, inflammation will be part of those or any other brain conditions.
How Inflammation Impacts the Brain
Inflammation can be triggered from a variety of sources, such as environmental toxins, infection or the food we eat. Regardless of the trigger, the mechanism behind inflammation is similar.
The immune system views toxins, infections and certain foods as something dangerous to your body, and it will react to anything it views as dangerous. When the immune system is activated, it stimulates the production of chemical mediators, such as cytokines, that can access the brain (cross the Blood Brain Barrier) and trigger the brain’s immune cells to release more chemical mediators. Many of these mediators are inflammatory.
The inflammatory mediators impact brains cells in a variety of ways and can impact the function of neurotransmitters, and neuropeptides, as well as lead to significant changes in brain activity, function, and plasticity.
Inflammation & Therapy
If you are currently doing any type of therapy or rehabilitation as part of your wellness approach, then it becomes doubly important to manage inflammation. Inflammation inhibits brain plasticity. Plasticity is the brain’s ability to change and learn. For your therapy to work well you want your brain to be as plastic as possible, which means reducing inflammation as much as possible.
How to Bring Down Neuro-Inflammation
The good news is that diet has a profound impact on inflammation in the body and brain.
Some foods contribute to inflammation, and others are anti-inflammatory. By replacing inflammatory foods with healthier options, and by adding anti-inflammatory foods, you have a great strategy to manage inflammation.
Foods to Replace
Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Enjoy in Abundance
Make a curry with turmeric, ginger and garlic, and serve it over broccoli and cauliflower. Add onions and garlic to stir fries, soups and stews - they add great flavour to any dish! Visit a tea shop to find a green tea that you enjoy. Snack on nuts and fruit, or veggie sticks and guacamole.
Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and anchovies
Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts
Turmeric and ginger
Onions and garlic
It’s also important to work with a doctor or practitioner who can help you identify contributing factors to your inflammation.
Anti-Inflammatory Berry Smoothie
Serves 1 | Prep Time: 5 min
1 cup mixed berries (frozen or fresh)
¼ cup of chopped cucumbers
½ an avocado
1 cup of leafy greens
1 cup of water or coconut milk
Blend all ingredients and enjoy!
Diet is the first step you can take to manage your neuro-inflammation. It is an effective strategy that you can use on your own to start taking control of your own health. What will you add to dinner tonight?
CONTRIBUTED BY: Tracey Reed - Holistic Nutritional Consultant B.Ed, C.H.N.C.