5 TYPES OF FOOD THAT CAN HARM YOUR BRAIN
Food nourishes us, but it can harm us too, sometimes invisibly.
You consume too much spice and you’re stomach’s upset – that’s easy to see. But we don’t immediately relate our daily food consumption with the way our brain functions.
Your brain is the most important part of your body. It controls everything that goes on inside it, and it needs proper fuel to keep things running smoothly. What we eat everyday provides that fuel.
But are there foods that can in fact harm or impair these functions? Turns out there are, and we are consuming too much of them already.
Let’s take a look at some of the foods that can cause long-lasting and often deadly damage to our memory and cognitive functions
1. Refined Grains
White four, white rice, refined oats – basically anything other than whole grain carbs can be severely injurious to your brain functions.
These type of foods generally have a high glycemic index (GI), which means your body digests them quickly and causes a sudden spike in insulin and blood sugar levels. This can contribute to brain impairment, including temporary memory loss and poor memory in the long run.
Sticking to complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain food would be kinder to your brain.
2. Sugar/Sugary products
Sugar, especially refined sugar is bad for you in many ways. It increases risks of heart diseases, type-2 Diabetes and of course obesity. But it also a significant contributor in the development of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Additionally, high sugar intake can cause reduction in memory and cognitive functions, build insulin resistance in the brain, and hinder the development of brain neurons; all of which contribute in an overall slower and foggier brain.
Most of the energy drinks, fruit juices and cola-based drinks we are so fond of consuming contain dangerous amount of sugar. It is recommended to avoid or moderate the consumption of sugar, corn syrup, pre-baked sweets and foods high on fructose.
3. Highly Processed Food
Chips, fries, instant noodles, instant soups, bottled sauces – in short, what we call junk foods are increasingly an integral part of our daily diet, simply because they’re easily available and takes less time and skill to prepare. But of these have added sugar, oil and salt – all of which are bad for your brain.
Excessive consumption of these foods cause weight gain and fat build-up around your organs, the most significant of them being the brain. Excessive fat build-up around the brain can cause damage and degeneration in brain tissues. These factors affect learning, memory and a faster decline in reasoning capabilities.
Similarly, smoked and processed meat like sausage, ham, bacon, salami etc. contain nitrosamines, a kind of carcinogenic which has been linked to Alzheimer’s.
Prolonged alcohol use is not just bad for your liver, but for your brain too.
Chronic alcoholism can cause reduction and brain volume and disrupt the function of neurotransmitters, which can wreck havoc on your entire body as these are chemicals that the brain uses to communicate between cells; and also a condition of confusion and disorientation commonly referred to as ‘brain fog’.
Excessive alcohol use can also result in vitamin B1 deficiency which can lead to severe brain damage and permanent memory loss.
5. Food High in Trans Fat
This is a type of unsaturated fat that can be harmful for your brain.
While animal products like meat and dairy contain natural Trans fats, these are not really dangerous, if not consumed excessively. But industrially produced trans-fatty foods can seriously harm your brain. This include margarine, readymade cakes and cookies, frosting etc.
Studies have found people who consume high amount of trans-fat tend to have poorer memory, reduced cognitive function, reduced brain volume and even develop a risk of Alzheimer’s.
As the saying goes, we are what we eat.
Lean protein, leafy vegetables, fish and seafood rich in Omega-3, berries, dark-skinned fruits – these are all foods that boost brainpower and help with memory and cognitive functions.
Swapping our unhealthy food habits with these healthy alternatives might be a bit hard at first, but ultimately your brain will thank you, we promise!