It’s a common scenario – you walk into a room and can’t remember why you went in there!
This kind of occasional forgetfulness is normal and can often be a result of hormonal changes, stress, medication, lack of sleep. So rest assured, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re developing dementia.
However, it’s a fact that we are an ever-ageing population. So ways to help us retain our cognitive function should definitely be a priority!
Did you know:
- 900,000 people are currently suffering from dementia in the UK. 1https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-us/news-and-media/
- 1.6 million people are predicted to have dementia by 2040.
- It is estimated that over 57 million people are living with dementia around the world.
- Dementia is one of the main causes of disability later in life and a leading cause of death in the UK. 2https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/…/latest
Symptoms of dementia include:
- Memory loss
- Confusion and disorientation
- Problems with language and understanding
- Changes in behaviour
Although there is no known cure for dementia, progress is being made, not only in pharmaceutical drugs but in demonstrating links between diet, lifestyle and brain function outcomes. Emerging research finds that obesity, lack of physical activity and poor sleep may all contribute to cognitive impairment. 3https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2021.679837/full
Here at Chuckling Goat, we’re all about improving health via natural means. If we can help reduce the risks and minimise the need for treatment, then all the better! 🙂
So let’s look at one potential cause of dementia: inflammation. 4https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2021.679837/full
Triggers of inflammation:
- Pollution and other environmental toxins
- Trauma to the body, in particular, the brain
- Allergies and food sensitivities
- Endotoxins, produced by gut dysbiosis
Research shows that improving the levels of a diverse range of beneficial bacteria can lower inflammation and have a neuro-protective effect. 5https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2020.00025/full
How do beneficial gut bacteria dampen down inflammation?
Short-chain fatty acids (SFCAs), the heroes of the gut microbiome, are produced by beneficial bacteria in the gut. SCFAs like butyrate have wide-ranging benefits – they are neuroprotective, cardiovascular protective, and positively affect metabolism such as glucose regulation and insulin function 6https://www.wageningenacademic.com/doi/10.3920/BM2020.0057. Their anti-inflammatory effects are present not only in the gut but are also distributed around the body via the blood. SFCAs are also helpful in the brain, where they have been shown to reduce amyloid plaques 7https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33074224/.
How to boost levels of short-chain fatty acids like butyrate:
Butyrate, also known as butyric acid, is created when commensal bacteria in your gut break down microbiome-accessible carbohydrates 8https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(14)00311-8, including dietary fibre. Diversity in your diet drives the growth of beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacterium, Faecalibacterium, and Roseburia. These microbes contribute to the production of anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acids like butyrate and help reduce circulating levels of toxins which may lead to neurodegeneration.
- Fill your plate with prebiotic fibres (pulses and legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, fruit and vegetables). Remember, diversity is key!
- Eat the rainbow. Colourful plant foods such as berries, apples, green tea, coffee, chocolate, red wine contain helpful polyphenols. These beneficial plant compounds have antioxidant properties that help to neutralise free radicals, which are produced by immune cells during an inflammatory episode.
- Eat small amounts of a variety of fermented foods every day – kefir, kimchi, kombucha, probiotic yoghurt, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, sourdough.
- Our kefir is a great source of butyric acid. The tartness that you taste in the kefir is due to butyric acid. 9https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34829716/
Other dietary ways to reduce inflammation:
- Adopt a Mediterranean-style diet which is high in fruits, vegetables, pulses, wholegrains, oily fish, olive oil and nuts and seeds. It’s also low in sugar, ultra-processed foods and red meat.
- Swap vegetable oils for extra-virgin olive oil.
- Reduce intake of meat and ultra-processed foods.
- Reduce sugar and refined carbohydrate intake.
- Some anti-inflammatory recipes to try: Gut-brain Health Smoothie, Gut Health Super Salad, Prebiotic Pancakes, Creamy Probiotic Soup
The two kilograms of bacteria in your gut are there for very good reasons – they’re like nature’s backup, providing the body with biologically important substances to keep the human race going 🙂
Take care of your gut microbes and they will perform wonders for you in return!
If you’d like to find out more about how to nurture and protect your gut-brain connection, read this article by Shann Jones and Dr Miguel.