Put out the flames to beef up your brain
As we age, we spend a lot of time hoping that certain things don't "shrink" too much.
Believe it or not, some people actually get SHORTER as they get older!
But that's not the worst of it.
Because of all the things that can shrink over time -- from your height to your savings -- none is as important as your BRAIN.
You want to keep that as BIG as possible!
You see, if your brain shrinks a lot in certain areas, you could wind up with memory loss, cognitive decline, or WORSE.
Unfortunately, there's not a pill in the world that you can pop to halt this process. But according to a new study, you CAN put the brakes on it -- because reducing inflammation in your body now may protect your brain from wasting away later.
In the study out of Johns Hopkins University, researchers measured blood-based markers of inflammation in a group of about 1,600 patients in their 40s and 50s.
Then, 25 years later, they re-tested the participants' inflammatory markers... measured their brain volume with MRI scans... and gave them a word recall test that measured "episodic" memory, which is the ability to remember past personal experiences.
It turned out that those with the HIGHEST levels of inflammation at the beginning of the study had the GREATEST loss of brain volume by the end of the study.
That means that the level of inflammation in their bodies at middle age predicted how much brain shrinkage they would have in their golden years!
What's more, the brain shrinkage linked to inflammation occurred in key parts of the brain -- including the hippocampus and the occipital lobe -- known to be involved in Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
So, it's no surprise that those with the highest inflammation scores performed WORSE on the test of episodic memory than those with the lowest.
Translation: To protect your noggin, you want to do everything you can to tamp down inflammation.
Now, you may recall that inflammation is your body's response to injury and infection -- and it's supposed to be the first step in any healing process.
But sometimes, that "fire" in your body goes haywire, becomes chronic, and never shuts down.
Here are some natural ways to rein it in:
- Turn to nature: Nature's most powerful anti-inflammatories include omega-3 fatty acids (found in oily fish like salmon and mackerel, as well as fish oil supplements) and curcumin, a compound found in turmeric.
- Detox: Pollutants and toxic chemicals can keep those fires raging, so limit your exposure as much as possible and use natural detoxifiers like glutathione (the "master antioxidant") or the potent amino acid NAC (a well-known glutathione producer).
- Go Paleo: The Paleo diet eliminates the sugars, grains, and processed foods that are known to kick up inflammatory processes in your body.
- Beef up your immunity: Probiotics and vitamin D can help fortify your immune system and ease inflammation from your gut to your joints.
And since most every health complaint can be traced back to having too much inflammation, the rest of your body will benefit along with your brain!