What we eat on a regular basis is directly correlated to our overall health. There are certain foods that keep our brain healthy but of course, there are also some foods that hurt your brain, even leading to a decline in brain function.
We are supposed to get smarter as we age, aren’t we? However, if you continue to consume foods that hurt your brain that will be discussed in this article, you may be facing future difficulties in terms of learning, acquiring knowledge, and problem-solving.
Our brains are our control center and when we are not providing it with the proper nutrients, it can begin to fail. We may even be damaging our brains further by eating certain things. If we continue to not treat our brains well, we may experience even further decline in our brain function.
So what types of foods should we be avoiding to ensure a healthy brain?
#1. Processed Foods
Time is often an issue when it comes to preparing healthy, wholesome meals and as a result, many of us reach for pre-packaged, processed versions of food. Yes, I refer to processed foods as “versions of food”. They are far from the natural, whole foods that are brains require to function properly. Some examples of processed foods are individual frozen dinners, sandwich meats, and granola bars.
Processed foods are filled with preservatives, sugar, sodium, and artificial sweeteners that are essentially toxins. They are often void of valuable nutrients needed for proper brain health.
Read a food label and see that they are filled with preservatives we can barely even pronounce to extend their shelf life. Think about this – if a “food” can stay good enough to eat for months, should you actually be eating it?
#2. High Sugar Content
If you have ever tried to reduce your sugar intake, you know that your body responds with headaches and even an upset stomach because it is like it is going through withdrawal. This does not occur when you feed your body natural foods. Artificial sweeteners have horrible effects on your system, including your brain.
Foods like cakes, doughnuts, ice cream, and candy are renowned for impairing one’s thinking. It also can affect your cognitive processes as you age. Soda is one of the worst foods that can you ingest for numerous reasons as it not only can cause things like kidney stones and diabetes, it also affects our ability to remember new information.
#3. Fried Foods
I cannot count how many times I have fallen victim to the pure deliciousness of a fried chicken wing. There is something so tempting about fried foods but when you realize how absolutely horrid they are for your body and brain, you will probably be disgusted. Fried foods are definitely one of the top foods that hurt your brain.
Fried foods are extremely high in bad cholesterol and low in good cholesterol. Consuming such foods on a regular basis will inevitably increase the cholesterol levels in your blood. With the increase of cholesterol levels in the bloodstream comes a build-up of beta-amyloid proteins.
In a brain that is healthy, these protein fragments break down and are eliminated. Whereas when these proteins build up, they begin to form hard, insoluble plaques. This is often a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
#4. Saturated Fats
Our brains must have a certain amount of fat from our diets in order to perform efficiently. However, certain fats are definitely better than others. Saturated fats in foods like dairy and fast food like french fries have been shown to negatively affect our ability to process information as retention of information. If you are experiencing difficulty remembering things and want to figure out how to boost your memory, try examining your food choices.
Do not eliminate fats from your diet entirely – your system requires it. Try making better choices like avocados (which can also be used in your beauty regimen), by the way), almonds and oily fish like salmon.
#5. Trans Fats
Trans fats are very popular in many foods we eat like microwave popcorn, margarine, frozen pizza, and cookies, and coffee creamers. They are cheap to make, easy to use, and last a long time but they are absolutely something you should be avoided as they are in foods that hurt your brain. In fact, certain oils are not even considered safe anymore by the FDA.
Trans fats have been linked to coronary heart disease but also negatively impact one’s cognitive function and memory. They also impact the production of hormones and cause inflammation in the brain.
#6. Simple Carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates are those carbs often made from white flour and are used by our bodies very quickly as an energy source as they are composed essentially of sugar. Think of foods like white pasta, white bread, candy, and even fruit juice (which has the equivalent amount of sugar as soda!).
These carbs cause our blood sugar levels to rise dramatically and then crash in the same fashion. This not only causes mood swings and increases feelings of anxiety and consequently, but anxiety can also impact you physically. It can also over time impact the hippocampus which is where learning and memory takes place.
Some of the foods that hurt your brain are irresistible to the human palate but I suppose if they tasted horrible, no one would eat them, right? Having high concentrations of sugar, sodium, fats, and even chemicals known to cause diabetes, various types of cancers, and impede our ability to think clearly should be enough reason to avoid them completely.
However, we are constantly being faced with more and more time restraints and are often looking for ways to eat delicious meals in a rush. I want you to consider this as a challenge though – with the information about these foods that are damaging to your brain and body, begin to make changes in what you eat.
With a little forethought and meal planning, incorporate better choices into your daily diet. Instead of choosing french fries with your burger, choose a salad. Try roasting a chicken in your slow cooker to be used in other chicken dinner ideas. Reach for that piece of fruit as a dessert instead of a piece of cake.
I guarantee you that you will begin to see differences in how you feel overall and slowly but surely, you will not want to eat those harmful foods any longer. Your body will crave wholesome foods that it can actually process.