There are many reasons to eat besides the obvious fuel for our body. Food can help us in many ways. But what we eat really can have an impact on our bodies.
Generally, we eat food to make us better, but did you know that some foods can make us feel worse? It’s true. In fact, there are some foods that can actually impair our brain health.
So if you want to hold on to your smarts for years to come, then you may want to avoid these foods that can affect your intelligence.
How food affects our brain
What we eat doesn’t just impact our digestion or even our heart, it can impact our intelligence. This is why it’s so important to eat healthy foods that can promote and boost brain health. But how exactly does food affect your brain? Well, there are a few things to consider.
There are some foods that act quickly in affecting our brain health. These are common stimulants such as caffeine and sugar. Foods that contain stimulants work quickly on our brain. When we drink a cup of coffee, for example, we immediately begin to feel more alert because the chemicals in caffeine react with the brain.
Carbohydrates, on the other hand, tend to contain amino acids such as tryptophan or lysine. These amino acids work more slowly on the brain and some studies show when we consume too little of these foods we may become sad or depressed.
Lastly, we have foods rich in healthy fats and antioxidants. These foods have lasting power and don’t burn out quickly. Foods in this category work to protect the brain when consumed over time. We require oxygen to live, but that very oxygen that keeps us going also ages us. When we consume foods high in antioxidants they protect the brain, and body, from damage associated with oxygen. This is why brain-boosting diets typically are rich in foods that contain antioxidants and healthy fats.
List of foods to avoid for a smart brain
Now that you have a better understanding of how different foods affect the brain you’ll want to know which foods to avoid for the best brain health. The list below consists of food that can make you dumb.
Salt: Not just bad for your blood pressure, salt can also be bad for your brain as well. A 2011 study found that a diet high in salt and low in exercise had a negative impact on cognitive function. Participants of the study who consumed processed foods saw an increased risk of dementia – these foods tend to be high in sodium.
Processed foods: Processed foods are linked with bad brain health. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found consuming processed foods led to damage of the hypothalamus – a part of the brain that regulates thirst and the body’s rhythms and cycles.
Sugar: Sugar works on the brain the same way as many illicit drugs do. It targets the part of the brain that triggers pleasure. When we consume it we feel happy, but if we consume too much it can result in withdrawal symptoms when we try to cut back. A study published in The Journal of Physiology showed consuming fructose – a type of sugar – slowed down the brain function of rats. Fructose is a common ingredient in the American diet so we should be aware of our consumption and try to limit it as much as possible.
Tofu: Typically regarded as a health food, tofu is high in soy and much research has come out against the over-consumption of soy as it mimics human hormones. A study published in Dementias and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders found a link between a high consumption of tofu with memory decline.
Trans-fats: Although the recent FDA ban on trans-fat may not make them a threat to our health much longer, it’s still important to know that trans-fats are bad for your brain. Trans-fats have already been recognized for being bad for our cholesterol but according to a study published in Neurology, trans-fat consumption has been linked with brain shrinkage as well. Brain shrinkage was seen in participants who consumed trans-fats, similar to people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Food should be a tool to make us better, not worse. This is why it’s important to eat well and avoid processed, sugary food options. To keep your brain healthy and smart, avoid consuming these foods that are bad for brain health.
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