The amount of information out in the world today about health and wellness can be overwhelming for many of us. It’s tough to know who to trust with so many contradictory reports and opinions. We hear conflicting messages about what matters most for optimal health. Check any social media platform, we find many eager to sell the latest recipe, formula or action plan for success, happiness and health. However, amongst the noise, there are incredible people doing incredible work every single day to connect and share with the world all the most effective ways to live in alignment with one’s best self.
One of those incredible people is world renowned brain researcher at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Rudolph Tanzi. I’ll spare you the entire list of his many accomplishments (you can use google), however a few of his accolades include: Co-director for the Center for Brain Health at Massachusetts General Hospital, author of over 500 Research studies, one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, and the person credited with discovering the first Alzheimer’s Gene. He’s also the staff Neuroscientist for the New England Patriots. This man is not your Tik Tok spiritual guru. The guy is world class.
I was recently listening to a wonderful lecture by Dr. Tanzi, and I’d like to share some takeaways from his presentation. A primary message of the talk was this: Reducing inflammation in the brain and body allows and promotes optimal health. Dr. Tanzi puts it bluntly, “Inflammation is the main killer.” More and more of us experience brain fog, memory impairment, decreased focus and feelings of being less mentally sharp every day. Many of these “symptoms”- dare I say signals- our bodies experience point directly to the complex world of inflammation. Pure and simple, inflammation is bad for our brains, yet many of us take little action to treat our brains with the LOVE and care they deserve.
Luckily for us, Dr. Tanzi has powerful suggestions (with plenty of scientific evidence) for anyone, at any age, to take action now to reduce inflammation in the brain and body. The complexity of the inflammatory process is far beyond the scope of this blog, but let’s just surrender to the idea that negative stress within our internal and external environments equals inflammation in humans. Prolonged inflammation equals all kinds of negative health effects on virtually every system of the body. If we can assume this to be true, we want to create a life that aligns with a state of low levels of systemic inflammation.
Many behaviors promote decreased levels of inflammation, but to continue borrowing from Dr. Tanzi’s work, he has come up with an acronym to help us remember the most powerful ways we can reduce inflammation in the brain, prevent disease, promote mental agility and become as mentally fit as possible. Think S.H.I.E.L.D when you start thinking about brain health. Sleep, Handle Stress, Interaction, Exercise, Learning New Things, Diet.
“The healthier your gut microbiome is, the healthier your brain is. That’s not woo-woo science anymore. There is hardcore evidence.”
“Plant-based fiber is the best thing you can do for your gut and that’s the best thing you can do for your brain.”
Powerful statements. I urge you to read them again, write them down and take action to support your brain and body in a more loving and authentically aligned way. In a world constantly trying to sell you the latest and greatest health product, can you find the wisdom in the simplicity of Dr. Tanzi’s S.H.I.E.L.D approach. Give it a shot. What’s one small step you can take today to inject fresh energy into each category/letter?
If you’re needing help getting your health on track, check out our website to schedule an appointment with an available family practice or mental health provider. https://www.integrativemediowa.com
Dr Justin Janss, DNP, ARNP, PMHNP-BC
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