Reduce InflammationSo the good news: If you have a severe infection, getting treatment at a hospital can potentially save your life. The not-so-good news: You could leave the hospital physically healthier, but cognitively a little less “sharp.” Fortunately, this drop in cognitive function is not necessarily permanent. The inflammation that lingers post-infection can be minimized. Furthermore, you can also prevent chronic, low-grade inflammation in your body while you’re healthy so that if you do come down with an infection that requires hospitalization, the long-term effects on the brain may be lessened. Some of the top contributors to chronic inflammation are poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, long-term uncontrolled stress, and lack of sleep.
Lifestyle changes to protect your brain
- Quit smoking.
- Find ways to better control the stress in your life—whether it’s delegating tasks that overcomplicate your life, seeking the advice of a counselor or therapist, deep breathing, meditating, or doing yoga.
- Also strive to go to bed the same time every night and get plenty of shut-eye (anywhere between seven and nine hours).
- Most importantly, cut out highly processed foods that are high in inflammatory white flour, sugar, and trans fats. (If you’re not ready to drop them altogether, reduce your intake.) If a food label has a list of ingredients that’s a mile long, avoid that product!
- And finally, take anti-inflammatory supplements like omega-3s and curcumin, the medicinal compound found in the Indian spice turmeric. Curcumin has an amazing centuries-long reputation in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine as a powerhouse anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Both of these compounds fight inflammation at its source, providing protection from a long list of problems associated with inflammation.