4. Highly Processed Foods
Highly processed food items contain an unhealthy concentration of salt, fats and sugar, and they include all store-bought processed foods, ready-to-eat meals, instant noodles, bakery items, sweets, candies, microwave popcorns, bottled sauces, and chips amongst others. These foods are not only extremely low in nutrients, but they also pack up heaps of waist-thickening calories.
They cause a great deal of negative effects on the brain, along with being one of the primary causes of weight gain. A recent study attempted to study the effects of a diet rich in highly processed food items amongst a sample of 130 individuals, and the results revealed a marked reduction in brain tissues, even during the first stages of metabolic syndrome.
Research reveals that the lack of nutrient density in processed foods, which make up a large proportion of the Western diet, tend to cause effect the brain adversely, along with promoting the development of degenerative diseases.
A recent study attempted to examine the diets of 52 people who consumed excessive amounts of highly processed foods with unhealthy ingredients. The results revealed significantly lower levels of sugar metabolism within the brain, and a marked reduction in brain tissue. All these elements are considered to be the risk factors that lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Another research examine the daily diets of 18,080 individuals who consumed excessive amounts of processed meats and fried foods, and the results revealed significantly low scores in memory and learning. Another large scale study that examined the diets of 5,038 people also revealed similar results.
There is a significant pool of scientific evidence that proves that red meat, baked beans, fried food items, and processed meats are all directly associated with the development of inflammation, and speed up the decline of cognition over 10 years.
Scientists have conducted multiple animal-based studies to examine the effects of a high-sugar, high fat diet, and one research that studied the rats for eight months revealed impairments in the ability to learn, along with adverse changes in brain plasticity. Another research gave rats a high-calorie diet and revealed disturbances within the blood-brain barrier.
The blood-brain barrier is a term that refers to the membrane located between the brain, and the blood supply that travels through the entire body. It aids in shielding the brain, and preventing the permeation of certain substances inside the brain.
Research reveals that processed foods cause damage to the brain by lowering the development of an essential molecule, known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This molecule is present in several areas of the brain, primarily the hippocampus, and it is essential for long-term learning, memory retaining, and the production of new neurons. Therefore, if the development of this molecule reduces, it can cause serious disruptions in these functions of the brain.
Try to avoid all processed foods and create a wholesome diet based on fresh produce, and whole foods, including vegetables, nuts, fruits, fish, legumes, and meat. Moreover, if you want to shield yourself against the risk factors of cognitive decline, consider starting Mediterranean diet.
You can always fix yourself healthy and delicious meals or desserts using lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables. And every time you feel like eating a processed meal, think about all the excess fat it will add around your waist and body organs, along with increasing your risk factors for brain inflammation, brain plasticity and memory impairments amongst others.