Have you ever heard the phrase “we are what we eat”? Well, this saying can be very true. If in our article “The 5 foods that help improve intelligence” we talk about the benefits that certain foods have in our cognitive functioning, in today’s article we will talk about the opposite: foods that negatively affect our brain .
Foods that are harmful to our brain
Everything we eat influences the way our body tries to maintain a balance so that all vital functions, tissues and organs are healthy, so Don’t miss this list of 15 harmful foods for your brain to function. Let’s get started!
Fructose is the main sugar naturally present in honey and fruits (And in some vegetables, like carrot), but other, less healthy sources are the common or table sugar, sucrose, which contains half the fructose and another half the glucose; and glucose-fructose syrups, which are made from corn and wheat and are used as sweeteners in various foods.
Fructose has a higher glycemic index (GI) than glucose, which causes hyperglycemia. A study published in The Journal of Physiology found that fructose has a negative effect on our brains because affects the functioning of brain cells and how these store the energy needed to process both learning and thinking.
2. Salty foods
Salty foods such as bagged French fries pose serious health risks (eg high blood pressure). It is also not recommended to consume it for weight loss, as excess salt is responsible for water retention.
Recent studies further indicate that salt affects our intelligence and interferes with our ability to think. This is explained by research published in the journal Neurobiology, since high sodium diets are associated with heart problems and lead to more cognitive impairment.
3. Artificial sweeteners
Many people substitute table sugar for other sweeteners to make coffee, believing it to be healthy. The truth is that their prolonged use can be just as negative as the product they intend to replaceAs sweeteners can cause brain damage and cognitive ability problems.
And although these people think they are doing their bodies a favor by consuming fewer calories than sugar, in the long run, the consequences are just as bad for their bodies, as these substitutes contain preservatives, dyes and other ingredients that they can eat. ‘They provide. Taste or texture, and at the same time, harmful consequences for our health.
4. Monosodium glutamate
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is an additive widely used by the food industry, especially in Asian cuisine, and is considered a flavor enhancer because it brings out the nuance of other flavors. however, its components negatively affect our brain by overexciting neurons to the point of brain damage.
Although the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) listed it as a safe food in 1958, some laboratory animal studies have shown that consumption of this substance causes damage to nerve cells in the brain. Additionally, excessive consumption of MSG can cause headaches, fatigue, or disorientation.
5. French fries
Fried foods can taste great, but for the health of our brains, consuming them should not be part of our daily diet. These, in addition to being high fat products, also they cause cholesterol to affect the arteries. In the long run, fried foods destroy our neurons and interfere with our ability to learn and remember.
6. Added sugar
Excess Sugar Is Linked To Serious Health ProblemsFor example, it suppresses the immune system, weakens eyesight, or contributes to obesity. Not only that, but its prolonged consumption affects our brain: it causes neurological problems and difficulties in learning and memory. This is the conclusion of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
In addition, the researchers concluded that participants in their experiment who consumed between 17% and 21% of calories in sugar had a higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
7. Soft drinks
Soft drinks have a very high sugar content. For example, Coca-Cola contains for every 330 milliliters can, about 39 grams of sugar, which is equivalent to almost 10 lumps of sugar. Although sporadic consumption of these drinks does not harm our health, prolonged and excessive consumption can be fatal.
In addition to the negative effects on our brain caused by sugar and discussed in the previous point, carbonated drinks are prepared compounds that contain aspartic acid and feminamine, substances which damage brain cells, cause brain tumors and which increase the acidity of urine creating susceptibility to urinary tract infections. On the other hand, different studies have shown that light carbonated drinks, with high levels of sugar substitutes, increase the risk of suffering from brain damage, memory loss and mental confusion over the years.
8. Eat garbage
The various media alert us to the danger of incorporating these foods into our diet, but the truth is that there is more and more access to this type of product. Research has shown that its prolonged consumption affects our brain and causes chemical changes, With symptoms similar to abstinence and leading to anxiety and depression.
Junk food becomes a drug, and the abuse of these foods has an effect on the strengthening zone and therefore on the production of dopamine. This neurotransmitter is actively involved in learning ability, motivation or memory.
9. Saturated fat
The consumption of foods high in saturated fat has increased in recent decades, leading to an increase in cases of obesity and problems associated with this condition. However, research conducted by Núria de l’Olmo and Mariano Ruiz-Gayo at CEU University in San Pablo and presented at the Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society (San Francisco), concluded that Diets high in saturated fat are not only a problem for physical health, but cause eating disorders, Metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and a risk of cognitive development, in particular linked to memory.
10. Hydrogenated oils
While saturated fats are harmful, the trans fats found in hydrogenated oils are even worse. Experts warn that diets high in trans fats increase beta-amyloid in the brain, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Additionally, the journal Neurology published research that showed that a high intake of trans fats is associated with brain contraction and an increased risk of stroke.
11. Processed and precooked foods
Processed foods meet most of the negative characteristics that we have discussed in the previous points. They contain high levels of sugar, fructose, sodium, hydrogenated oils and therefore these foods can adversely affect brain health. In fact, processed or precooked foods affect the central nervous system and increase the risk of developing a neurodegenerative disorder like Alzheimer’s disease.
Alcohol is known as a food that does not provide nutrients but additional calories in our diet. Along with tobacco, it is undoubtedly one of the most consumed substances and at the same time harmful to our body. The harms of excessive alcohol consumption are well-known, but recently a group of researchers from the University of the Basque Country (UPV / EHU) and the University of Nottingham (UK) identified damage to the brain.
Alcohol causes alterations in the prefrontal cortex region, A region that controls executive functions such as planning and strategy design, working memory, selective attention or behavioral control, and other areas related to different behavioral disorders or motor function .
Having coffee in the morning at the office is not a bad thing, as it can help us to be a little more alert and to complete tasks with more concentration. however, if this substance is abused, it has a downside.
The United States Food and Drug Administration says 600 milligrams of caffeine per day can cause headaches, increase anxiety, and induce various sleep disturbances. Too much caffeine can lead to various consequences such as confusion and longer term cardiovascular problems and even stroke.
It is true that tuna is an excellent food because it provides a high amount of protein, as well as fatty acids like omega-3s, which is why the American Heart Society recommends consuming it at least twice a week. . However, Bigeye tuna or albacore tuna are rich in mercuryThus, its excessive consumption can cause an acceleration of cognitive disorders.
15. Dried products
Savory products such as Serrano ham, bacon or sausage loin, despite their good taste, are high in fat and salt. When consuming salty products, the body retains more fluid and needs more water. According to a military medicine study, this can lead to dehydration and therefore decreased cognitive function.