• Cheryl C. Silvera

Improve Brain Health by Reducing Inflammation. The Gut-Brain Connection

Updated: Dec 19, 2021

Image: Red onion sliced in quarters on a white background. Image by Wix Media.

Over the years, I became acquainted with some of the benefits of the foods I ate as a conscientious consumer in battling depression and other mood disorders. Inflammation is responsible for a lot of our modern ailments. With research, I found that inflammation is causally linked with moods.[1] To that effect, I’m writing as a consumer of foods and not as a medical professional.

Eating healthy is our first defense in wellness. “Multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function — and even a worsening of symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression.”[2]

In an article published in October 2019 in a scientific magazine, inflammation showed a causal effect on cognition. The report states, “Inflammation was associated with cognitive deficits in general, and there were also some relationships between specific inflammatory markers and types of cognitive processing.”[3] To be fair, they also posit that the role of inflammation and mood deficit needs further study.

Nutritional Psychiatry: Your Brain on Food[4] from Harvard Health Publishing emphasized the role of food on brain health. It states, “Diets high in refined sugars, for example, are harmful to the brain. In addition to worsening your body’s regulation of insulin, they also promote inflammation and oxidative stress.”

According to the dictionary, Oxidative Stress is “physiological stress on the body that is caused by the cumulative damage done by free radicals inadequately neutralized by antioxidants and that is held to be associated with aging.”[5] Seniors and those living alone are at risk of depression.

The issue then is neutralizing the free radicals with antioxidants through nutrition. What are antioxidants? “Antioxidants are chemicals that interact with and neutralize free radicals, thus preventing them from causing damage. Antioxidants are also known as “free radical scavengers.”[6]

References [1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29173175/ [2] https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626 [3] http://bipolarnews.org/?p=4765 [4] https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626 [5] “Oxidative stress.” Merriam-Webster.com Medical Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/oxidative%20stress. Accessed 15 Feb. 2021 [6] https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/antioxidants-fact-sheet

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