Chronic Inflammation Can Impact Your Brain Health - Part 2
Studies show there are four main causes of chronic inflammation:
- Infection. An outside infection that's hard to kill such as hepatitis C, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or Lyme disease can linger in the body for a long time. When this happens, your body responds with inflammation that also lingers for a long time. Research shows that it is often the chronic inflammation, not the viruses themselves, that causes much of the long-term damage related to these diseases.
- Genetics. Diabetes and cancer are two genetically related diseases that can be triggered by inflammation. In other instances, the gene itself can cause a misfiring of the immune system that causes inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus and other diseases.
- Environment. Pollution, air and water quality, environmental allergies and a host of other environmental factors can trigger and sustain inflammation.
- Lifestyle. If you smoke, drink a lot, carry a lot of extra weight (especially in your belly), never exercise, eat poorly or constantly feel agitated by stress, your chances of having some level of chronic, elevated inflammation are high.
Given the above factors, what can you do to reduce your risk of developing chronic inflammatory disorders that may affect your brain health? Changing your lifestyle is the fastest thing you can change and the one thing you can control. The easy steps are to stay up to date on your vaccinations (e.g., pneumonia, tetanus, and flu) and wash your hands regularly because infections trigger inflammation. Beyond that, eating the right foods, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and relieving stress are the big four.
1. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables and foods high in fiber help mitigate the cellular damage created by inflammation.
2. Just 20 minutes of moderate exercise a day can suppress the body's inflammatory response.
3. Focus on sleep, both the quantity and quality, as it not only lowers your inflammation levels, it also helps you do everything else better.
4. And, finally, lowering your stress level will pave the way for making smart food choices and exercising on a regular basis.