January is Alzheimer’s awareness month. There are currently over 747,00 people in Canada who are suffering from this disease, and the number is only expected to grow. Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that often develops very slowly over multiple decades. During the pre-clinical stage of this disease, there are very few to no noticeable symptoms which makes early diagnosis difficult. Unfortunately, people often learn they have it until it’s too late.
We know that chronic inflammation of the brain is one of the primary causes of Alzheimer’s. But what is chronic inflammation? It’s when your body keeps sending defence cells to certain areas even if there is no outside danger. Chronic inflammation can lead to fatigue, muscle and joint pain, insulin resistance, eye problems, skin issues, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and cancer.
Inflammation of the brain doesn’t have to be extreme either. Common symptoms of chronic inflammation include:
- Brain fog
- Memory loss
Now you might wonder, how do you combat or prevent chronic inflammation? The answers might bore you, but they demand repetition both in theory and practice.
Eat Better Foods
I know, I sound like a broken record! Turning healthy eating habits from conscious decisions to automatic actions is the ultimate way to boost every area of your health.
Less of These
- Red meat
- Potato chips, granola bars, popcorn, pastries, soda, crackers and all other processed snack food and prepared meals
More of These
- Sweet potato
- Brown long-grain rice
- Olive oil
- Green tea
- Dark chocolate (75% and up)
- Pecans and almonds
- Fatty fish
- Cinnamon, cumin, and other ground spices (but not the spicy ones)
Super easy breakfast you can prep the night before. Use 1 tbsp of maple syrup instead of 2 and swap 1/4 cup almond milk for another 1/4 cup greek yogurt. If this is too thick for you, dilute with water.
Salmon & Brussel Sprouts
The healthiest dinner for the least amount of work. All the ingredients come together on one baking sheet and finish cooking at the same time! Make sure you get wild, organic salmon. Yes, it’s more expensive – it’s also free of hormones, antibiotics, and artificial colour.
Move a Little
As little as 20 minutes of exercise can have anti-inflammatory effects by stimulating cells that regulate inflammation all over the body. If you want all the benefits, make sure to work out 4-5 times per week for at least 30 minutes per day at moderate intensity.
I find it best to get this “out of the way” first thing in the morning, but if you find the least resistance before dinner, then listen to your body.
This habit not only guarantees I get in the minimum amount of exercise before getting too busy or too tired, but I feel more energized for the rest of the day! Pair this yoga routine with a couple rounds of grip strength exercise and you’ll be on your way to lowered inflammation in your brain and the rest of your body.
Alzheimer’s is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors that affect the brain over time. You might not have much control over your genetics, but altering your lifestyle to improve your brain health is something you can definitely do! If you suspect that you might be suffering from inflammation of the brain, try implementing changes to your lifestyle one step at a time to identify what works for you and what doesn’t.
With that being said, inflammation must be treated on a case-by-case basis because everyone’s body reacts differently to certain triggers. If you feel a distinct lack of cool, calm, and collected, brain inflammation may be why. For more clarity on your symptoms, we’re only a call, email, or booking away.
Yours in good health,
Dr. Elena Krasnov, N.D.
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