NOTE: Information in this very article is provided as an information resource only.
The brain is arguably the most important organ in your body as the brain controls all other parts of your body and it is the repository of everything that makes you, I mean you. With this in mind, there is no gainsaying that the brain needs to be kept healthy. Proper nutrition can mean the difference between a clear head with a sense of purpose and a foggy head with a sense of desperation. As a lifelong habit, healthy eating also slows the rate of ageing-related cognitive decline and reduces the risk of developing dementia (disease characterized by loss of memory).
However, below are some of the items you need to remove from your diet to protect the health of your brain.
REFINED CARBOHYDRATES: These are products made with processed grains and they are bad for your brain because they break down into sugar in your body very quickly even though they may not necessarily taste sweet.
A meal rich in refined carbohydrates represents a high glycemic load that spikes your blood sugar and causes all the same issues as if you had eaten straight sugar, including memory impairment, inflammation and a higher risk of developing dementia. Studies have shown that children who consume diets high in refined carbohydrates score lower on nonverbal intelligence tests while elderly people who take in more than 58% of their daily calories in refined carbs have twice the risk of mental impairment and dementia than those who eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
TRANS FAT: What are trans fats? Trans fats are simply a form of unsaturated fat associated with a number of negative health effects. Trans fats are found naturally in animal products including meat and dairy, margarine, store-bought baked goods, chips and crackers, frozen and canned meals and creamy beverages.
Otherwise known as hydrogenated oil, those who eat trans fat are at a greater risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia. Studies have shown that high consumption of trans fats also leads to earlier cognitive decline, lower brain volume and poorer memory. It is noteworthy that not all fats are bad for you but trans fat has a detrimental effect on your brain.
PROCESSED AND PACKAGED FOODS: I know you might have heard of it severally in health journals, blogs and maybe from your healthcare provider. Actually that is the simple truth. Processed and packaged foods although providing convenience and fast food cannot be compared to slow-cooked homemade meals.
Relying on a processed and packaged diet is notorious for causing an accumulation of fat around the vital organs which in turn is associated with damage to the brain tissue and a reduction in the brain’s volume. It may also cause disruptions to the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), the membrane that is responsible for protecting the brain from harmful substances.
SUGARY DRINKS: Many sugary drinks contain fructose (a mega-concentrated sweetener) which has been shown to reduce learning ability, memory, overall brain function and the formation of new neurons in the brain. It may also lead to increased inflammation in the brain, which negatively affects all types of brain function.
Regular intake of sugary drinks can lead to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Cut down on your intake of sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks, energy drinks and even some fruit juice have little to no nutritional value.
ALCOHOL: Yes ALKO, you really know about it right? Alcohol affects the brain negatively. A drink every now and then won’t cause permanent damage to the brain but alcoholism and bouts of binge drinking absolutely can. Heavy drinking shrinks the brain and disrupt the neurotransmitters that your brain uses to communicate.
Alcoholics also often experience a vitamin B1 deficiency, which can lead to the development of Korsakoff’s syndrome. That syndrome is responsible for severe brain damage that causes memory loss, confusion, unsteadiness and intermittent loss of eyesight.