We talk a lot about inflammation at Zestt – as you know, Darcy’s favourite saying is: “Inflammation is the smoking gun at the scene of every crime.”
When we speak of inflammation, we are usually talking about low-grade chronic inflammation which often comes with age (read more here).
There is growing evidence that the Western diet - highly processed foods, with low fibre - drives gut dysbiosis and chronic inflammation. This can cause negative effects on the immune system and problematic brain/neuroinflammation as well.
Chronic neuroinflammation puts excessive strain on neurons in the brain (which are responsible for sending signals across our brain and throughout our bodies) and can eventually result in neuronal death. As such, neuroinflammation is implicated in a variety of neurologic and behavioural illnesses including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and depression.
Inflammation in the brain slows down the firing between neurons – which is why we get symptoms like brain fog. Ideally, we would recognise the signs of neuroinflammation before we damage neurons or reach a diseased state, so that we could do something about it, potentially reversing the path.
Here are some signs of poor brain health to look out for here:
- Brain fog;
- Poor brain endurance and concentration;
- Slow and varied mental speeds;
- Loss of brain function after trauma;
- Brain fatigue and poor mental focus after meals;
- Brain fatigue promoted by chemicals, scents, and pollutants;
- Anxiety, irritability, anger and mood swings, memory loss;
- Clumsiness and/or poor balance
Please also have a listen to our brain health podcast with Allison Liu, Episode 14.
If you are worried about neuroinflammation, it’s a good idea to keep a diary of when you experience symptoms and add your thoughts on what might be contributing factors ie. too many late nights or too much gluten, or a stressful day. This will help you to see patterns so you can make behavioural and/or lifestyle changes to improve your brain health.
We don’t want to be alarmist in sharing what can go wrong in our bodies, but at the same time forearmed is forewarned and the more we know, the more we can make changes to avert long-term damage.
Sadly, Western lifestyles are not inducive to good brain health, so even though at times it can feels like you are swimming against the tide with diet, sleep and stress factors - making small changes over time can make big differences to your health span and your life span.
If you would like to discuss any of this further, please contact Darcy or Anna (who you can contact at 027 599 2255 or 027 4861418 respectively) or via email@example.com.