Chronic inflammation is the enemy of your body and your brain.
Scientists have come to see inflammation as the common factor behind some of the worst diseases plaguing mankind, including Alzheimer’s.i
But now a study shows that certain foods fight brain inflammation and the age-related memory problems that come with it.ii
Research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has found that high-fiber foods help slow brain aging.
There’s are important immune cells in the brain called microglia. They often become chronically inflamed as we get older. It’s one of the primary causes of the memory and cognitive decline linked with old age.
Fiber Fights Brain Inflammation
When we eat fiber, it is fermented in the gut by bacteria. This prompts production in the colon of a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate. Butyrate has anti-inflammatory effects.
Scientists tested fiber’s effect on butyrate levels by feeding mice a diet either high or low in fiber.
The researchers then measured blood levels of butyrate. They also gauged levels of pro-inflammatory substances.
Dr. Rodney Johnson was an author of the study. He said the high-fiber diet “elevated butyrate…in the blood both for young and old mice.”iii
He pointed out that inflammation was seen more among older mice on the low-fiber diet than younger mice. “It clearly highlights the vulnerability of being of old,” he said.
But eating a high-fiber diet reduced inflammation in old mice to the point that it matched levels in young mice. This specifically benefited the animal’s microglia, and therefore their brains.
The researchers found that fiber had another brain benefit…
It reduced a pro-inflammatory chemical called interleukin-1β. It is linked to Alzheimer’s.
7 Brain-Boosting High-Fiber Foods
Almost all fruits, vegetables, and nuts have significant amounts of fiber. Here are seven that are particularly high in fiber:
- Raspberries – 8 grams of fiber per cup.
- Split peas (boiled) – 16.3 grams per cup.
- Lentils (boiled) – 15.6 grams per cup.
- Artichoke (boiled, medium sized) – 10.3 grams.
- Almonds – 3.5 grams per ounce.
- Green peas (boiled) – 8.8 grams per cup.
- Pear (medium sized, with skin) – 5.5 grams.
Fiber Helps Digestion…and More
Dietary fiber is usually associated with digestive health. It adds bulk to the digestive tract. This can relieve constipation.
Eating fiber also slows digestion. It makes you feel fuller for longer. This can reduce appetite and help with weight loss.
Fiber has other benefits, too:
Reduces cholesterol. Fiber’s presence in the digestive tract can help reduce the body’s cholesterol absorption.iv
Promotes blood sugar control. It takes your body longer to break down high fiber foods. This helps you maintain more consistent blood sugar levels.
Reduces colon cancer risk. Eating enough fiber can have protective effects against certain cancer types, including colon cancer. There are many reasons for this, including that some types of fiber, such as the pectin in apples, may have antioxidant-like properties.
Getting more fiber into your diet can help improve your memory…and your overall health.
Editor’s Note: Discover the simple, at-home test that can help your doctor determine if you have Alzheimer’s disease. All it takes is a few minutes. Get all the details in our monthly journal Independent Healing HERE.