The best nutrient to fight inflammation-fueled memory loss

Do you know why your memory starts to slip as you get older?

Because your brain is inflamed.

More specifically, immune cells in the brain known as microglia become inflamed and release chemicals that interfere with cognitive and motor function. This leads to memory loss and cognitive decline.

But there’s a simple way to stop this brain-harming inflammation…

Eat more fiber.

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High-fiber diet fights brain inflammation

Researchers from the University of Illinois recently found that mice who eat a high-fiber diet have less gut and brain inflammation.

In their study, researchers split mice into two groups. One group received a low-fiber diet and the other received a high-fiber diet.

Mice on a high-fiber diet had more short-chain-fatty-acids (SCFAs) in their blood, including one known as butyrate. In previous studies, the drug form of butyrate decreased inflammation in microglia cells and improved memory in mice. And this butyrate from fiber was just as effective.

Researchers also noticed that older mice who ate a low-fiber diet developed intestinal inflammation, but young mice who ate the same diet didn’t. That means, the body becomes more vulnerable to the negative effects of a poor diet with age.

But mice who ate a high-fiber diet were healthy — no intestinal inflammation in sight, whether they were young or old. So, if you want a healthy gut and brain no matter what your age, eat more fiber!

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Getting more fiber for your brain’s sake

Even though this study was performed on mice, the lead researcher, Rodney Johnson, feels confident a high-fiber diet will provide similar benefits to humans.

“What you eat matters. We know that older adults consume 40 percent less dietary fiber than is recommended. Not getting enough fiber could have negative consequences for things you don’t even think about, such as connections to brain health and inflammation in general,” said Johnson.

Johnson’s right. Americans are eating far too little fiber. Most of us only eat 16 grams of fiber per day. The official dietary recommendation for fiber, however, is 34 grams per day for men and 28 grams per day for women. And some cultures eat much more fiber than that. In certain African cultures, people eat up to 50 grams of fiber per day, and as a result, they have a lower risk of colon cancer.

So, increase your fiber intake. As long as you stay below 70 grams per day, you won’t have any side effects, like cramping, bloating and diarrhea.

If you’re struggling to find ways to squeeze in more fiber, try high-fiber diet hacks, like:

  • Switching to whole grains. They have far more fiber than refined grains.
  • Adding beans to your salad or soup. Beans are one of the best sources of fiber. There are six to eight grams of fiber in a half cup.
  • Eating oatmeal for breakfast. Oats are full of fiber. There are two grams of fiber in a half cup.
  • Eating more berries. Berries are one of the most fiber-filled fruits. Raspberries and blueberries both boast four grams of fiber per half cup.
  • Adding fiber-rich veggies to your eggs. Mushrooms and bell pepper are excellent choices for your high-fiber diet.
  • Adding flaxseed to your yogurt, muffins or smoothies. Just one ounce of flaxseeds add an extra eight grams of fiber.

Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.