You’re driving home after a long day at work. The weather is pleasantly cool, the wind is in your hair and your favorite band is playing on the radio. You’re looking forward to getting home and having dinner with your family.

Out of nowhere, the careless driver in the SUV next to you side swipes you—sending your car somersaulting into the ditch beside the road. Amazingly, you survive the incident. But the consequences are life-altering. In addition to the broken bones and damage to your spine, you’ve also suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Damage to the brain—your most valuable organ—is a frightening prospect. And while no one can control road conditions or the attentiveness of their fellow drivers, there are some steps you can take to minimize permanent damage to the brain in the event of catastrophe.

New research suggests that your diet plays a key role in your brain’s ability to bounce back following catastrophic injury. If you eat a diet high in fat and sugar, your brain’s ability to repair itself becomes more sluggish. Should you suffer brain damage, your brain will regenerate more slowly and less completely overall, which could leave you with more serious cerebral damage or permanent disability. The same effects are seen in individuals who do not engage in regular exercise.

Conversely, individuals who eat low-fat, low-sugar diets and regularly exercise their bodies also have fitter brains—enabling them to recuperate more efficiently and effectively if they experience brain trauma.

A car accident resulting in any injury—no matter how big or small—can be traumatic. If you’ve suffered due to another driver’s negligence, it’s worth consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney to understand your recourse.