The responsibility of collecting and removing pathogens and debris from our brain falls to the microglia, the innate immune cells in our brains. They do this by initiating a temporary inflammatory response to attack "invaders," consuming the foreign substance, and then returning to their normal resting state when the danger has been removed.
However, when the body has suffered too many assaults (for example, through infection, physical or mental trauma, chronic stress, poor dietary habits, exposure to toxins, and so on), the microglia are unable to downregulate and they remain in attack mode. The result of this is a chronic, wildfire-like inflammation in the brain. Furthermore, as we get older, and the microglia have a longer history of activation, they move into a more inflammatory state as their resting state. This heightened inflammatory state, over time, eventually damages neurons and can affect cognitive functioning and memory.
But there is good news! Our brains are resilient, and when given the opportunity, the degenerative effects of chronic inflammation can be reduced—or even reversed—with certain lifestyle changes.
So, what can you do to reduce inflammation and help improve memory and cognitive performance? Here are three habits I recommend to maintain a better brain: