Your brain is the most important organ in your body, it is your body’s control center and has a hand in performing almost all functions. Some foods are very healthy for the brain, while some are just bad news!
Sometimes the food we eat can be detrimental to our brain health by causing issues such as memory problems, brain fog, and even dementia!
All hope is not lost, besties, we can improve our brain health substantially by cutting down on these food items which do a number on our brain health.
Sugary drinks are a real problem!
Do you gulp down bottles of coke, pepsi or any other beverage loaded with sugar? Then it’s high time you cut back. It does not only make your waist-line expand or cause diabetes, it can also damage your brain cells
Studies have found that consuming sugary drinks in excess is a problem and can lead to type-2 diabetes which increases your risk of developing Alzhimer’s disease. Studies also show that even people who have high blood sugar without diabetes have a higher chance of developing dementia
Most sugary drinks contain something called High Fructose Corn Syrup or HFCS which is worse than sugar and causes several problems. Studies show that it can cause high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and arterial dysfunction. This increases the risk of developing long term dementia.
These substances can cause more harm than sugar to the body, so it is best to find alternative drinks to meet your cravings and cut back on both sugar and HFCS asap.
Try having unsweetened drinks like iced tea, vegetable juice, or plain water the next time you feel thirsty.
Stay away from processed foods
Processed foods are loaded with fats, sugars and salt. These foods are high in calories and have almost no nutrients. These foods make you gain weight, and also negatively affect your brain.
Consuming them regularly can cause metabolic syndrome and damage brain tissue. Also, they can increase visceral fat around the organs, which is detrimental to brain health.
Ingredients used in processed foods are unhealthy, these ingredients can damage the brain and impair cognitive functions, decrease sugar metabolism which leads to a decrease in brain tissue which increases your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Processed foods can reduce the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (or BDNF), a chemical that is found in the hippocampus. This chemical is associated with learning, long-term memory, and growth of new brain cells. The reduction of this chemical is definitely bad for the brain.
Try switching to whole foods like vegetables, fruits, unprocessed meats, and fish. Also, eating a mediterranean diet is useful for restoring brian health.
Foods high in trans fats are bad
Trans fats are unsaturated fats which are bad for brain health and the overall health of the body. Trans fats occur both naturally and industrially, natural trans fats are not harmful, but industrial trans fat can have a detrimental effect on brain health.
Artificial trans fats are found in a variety of foods like margarine, snacks and ready to eat foods. These foods would typically contain hydrogenated vegetable oils which are industrially made trans fats.
These fats contribute to cognitive decline, memory issues, depression, and it increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in people.
So the next time you feel hungry, try to satisfy your craving with healthy fats like Omega-3. These fats will help keep your body and brain healthy.
Moderate your alcohol consumption
Alcohol in moderate levels is a wonderful addition to food and even has health benefits. However, alcohol is an addictive substance that is very prone to abuse if one is not careful.
Alcohol affects your inhibitory neurons called GABA, it changes how your body functions by altering its metabolism, and how neurons in your brain interact with each other.
Alcohol affects your brain even without chronic abuse, the occasional binge drinking can be equally harmful for the human brain. Binge drinking basically means drinking alcohol in excessive amounts over a single sitting. Binge drinking is bad as it changes the way in which we perceive things like emotional cues.
Consuming alcohol along with energy drinks can increase binge drinking which can progress into chronic alcohol dependence quickly. Apart from this it can have immediate ramifications such as an increase in risky behavior like drunk driving.
Teenagers who drink are at risk of brain damage as alcohol will impair the structure of their developing brain and prevent normal development.
Consume alcohol in moderation to enjoy its various benefits like improvement in heart health and reduction in the risk of developing diabetes, and try not to binge or abuse alcohol periodically to keep your body healthy.
Artificial sugars are very bad for the brain
Artificial sugars like aspartame are made to replicate the taste of natural sugar and are dietary alternatives. It is mainly used by people who either have diabetes or by people who want to replace sugar with the hopes of losing weight.
Studies suggest that aspartame may increase the level of oxidative stress on the brain. When aspartame is consumed in excess it can even lead to problems with learning and emotions.
As per studies, aspartame when consumed in high amounts over a period of time made the consumers more depressed and irritable than people who did not. Artificially sweetened drinks can also cause other ailments such as stroke and dementia in humans.
Regardless of all these studies, aspartame is still considered a safe sweetener when consumed in moderation. So the best thing consumers can do is to reduce their level of consumption or try to avoid it altogether.
Cut back on refined carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates are processed carbohydrates high on the glycemic index, which means your body would digest them quickly and convert them into glucose.
Studies show that food with a high glycemic index can impair memory in both adults and children, people who had a high intake of fat and sugar had poorer memory compared to people who did not.
People who found more than half their daily caloric needs from processed carbohydrates ran the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and dementia.
Consuming too much processed carbohydrates can have very detrimental effects on the brain, so try consuming whole unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables and legumes to improve your brain health.
Soy sauce can be a villain, sometimes
Soy sauce is a condiment we use regularly, a dash of soy sauce never hurts anyone. But soy sauce, unless it is the low salt variety, is generally loaded with salt. Even as little as a teaspoon can contain large amounts.
Eating too much salt can cause hypertension which restricts blood flow to the brain. This can lead to an impairment in cognitive function, confusion, and can even dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in some cases.
Consuming too much salt can lead to an electrolyte imbalance which can impair with the normal functioning of our brains
Try switching to the low sodium variety while cooking with soy sauce or using it as a food additive. This can greatly reduce the amount of salt you consume and improve your brain function.
Vegetable Oils can impair your memory
Vegetable oils like sunflower, canola and corn oil are considered healthy by many. These vegetable oils, however, are loaded with Omega-6 fatty acids which are toxic to our bodies in high amounts.
Omega-6 fatty acids can even negate the positive effects that Omega-3 has on the body. Having a high level of Omega-6 can contribute to causing Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. High levels of Omega-6 can cause brain inflammation which can cause depression and other cognitive impairments.
Choose a healthier oil like walnut which can help restore your Omega-3 levels which is proven to improve your brain health.
Mercury is a silent killer
Mercury is a heavy metal that is extremely bad to humans even when it is present in small amounts. The worst part is mercury is stored for a long time in your body if it somehow manages to get in.
Ingested mercury quickly gets into the system and spreads to various parts of the body like the liver, kidneys and the brain.
Mercury toxicity disrupts the central nervous system and its neurotransmitters. It stimulates neurotoxins which damages the brain. In young children and fetuses, mercury damages the brain causing developmental issues like cerebral palsy and other disorders.
However, all fish do not contain dangerous levels of mercury and it is easy to stay off it by just being a little mindful of the amount and type of fish you consume. Don’t skip out on these rich sources of protein and other vital nutrients. But be a little careful about where you get your fish from.
It’s best to quit on processed meats
Processed meats have been transformed to enhance their flavor or improve their preservation. These meats have been either salted, smoked, fermented or processed in any other way and can be from many different sources.
Studies suggest that eating processed meats can lead to an increased risk of dementia in adults. People who ate a lot of processed meat were more prone to dementia than people who did not.
One of the primary reasons for this could be the fact that processed meats are high in saturated fats, and diets rich in saturated fats are detrimental to brain health as suggested by studies.
Next time, instead of opting for an option made with processed meat like a burger, go on ahead and try something that has been made with healthy fats, or lean meats to improve your cerebral health.
Keeping our brains healthy is important. If you are eating these food items, we highly recommend that you switch to healthier alternatives. Keep your brain healthy and happy.