How an Unhealthy Diet Harms Your Brain Health

Hey Angels and Alphas,

We all know that eating foods that are made with additives like sugar, artificial colors, and preservatives can take a toll on your health. Ultra-processed foods have not only been linked to a range of health issues, but they’re a common choice for people who are looking for a quick snack.

At any age, consuming ultra-processed foods may harm your brain.

The latest research has shown that eating highly processed foods such as deli meats, cookies, soda, and cereal may negatively impact your cognitive health.

A new study has found that eating ultra-processed foods may impact cognitive health. The study, which was published in the journal Nature Medicine, looked at over 4,000 adults over the course of six years.

The participants were asked to fill out dietary surveys and undergo tests that measured their memory and thinking skills. The findings showed that those who ate the most ultra-processed foods had a lower score on the thinking and memory tests. The researchers believe that the processed foods may contain certain additives that can damage the brain.

This is the first study to link processed foods with cognitive decline, and more research is needed to confirm the findings. In the meantime, it may be best to limit your intake of processed foods.

Later on, a 2019 study published in the Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology journal discovered that unhealthy eating was associated with a decline in brain function.

Study researcher Nicolas Cherbuin explains this is because eating highly processed foods makes our bodies age faster. The brain is no exception. Our thinking abilities decline faster and we become less capable of coping with the brain changes that accumulate and lead to brain disorders. Consuming as little as two grams of trans-fat every day could double your risk of certain brain conditions.

Researcher Bernard Srour, PhD, MPH, researcher in nutritional epidemiology at the University of Paris 13, discoveredthat with a 10% increase in the calories a person consumed from processed foods, they got an increased risk of cardiovascular, coronary and cerebrovascular diseases by approximately 12%. He believes the this is because of the additives found in these foods.

The Role of Inflammation

Scientists have long known that inflammation plays a role in a wide range of health problems, from heart disease to arthritis. Now, new research suggests that inflammation may also be a major contributing factor to cognitive decline. In a recent study, scientists found that inflammatory molecules can damage the brain’s ability to form new memories.

The study’s authors believe that this damage may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. While more research is needed to confirm these findings, the study’s results suggest that inflammation may be a major factor in cognitive decline. As such, treatments that target inflammation could potentially help to slow down or even prevent the onset of dementia.

Inflammation has been dubbed the “central mechanism” of cognitive decline. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have concluded that increased inflammation in midlife was associated with more abnormalities in white matter, the part of the brain that carries information between nerve cells, leading to cognitive deficits. Researchers believe that both the quality of the foods you eat as well as the quantity play a role in the impact on brain health.

The Bottom Line

Eating a varied, healthy diet and reducing your consumption of highly processed foods is essential to the health of the brain. Consuming more nutrient-dense foods will also have a protective effect.

The brain of those who ate a serving of leafy greens were on average 11 years younger than the brains of people who ate only 0.1 servings of leafy greens every day. Ultimately, changing our diet has limited capacity to repair the damage already done but it will guarantee that less damage is done in the future.