We often think that the way we eat is primarily reflected in how our bodies look. But what we eat also influences (brain)mental performance. That’s why a Harvard doctor reveals which five foods should avoids to keep mentally fit and even to prevent dementia.
The US doctor Dr Uma Naidoo is a nutritional psychiatrist, brain expert and faculty member at Harvard Medical School. She explains how important healthy eating can be for mental well-being. According to her, certain foods can help against depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders and much more.
Harmful Foods For The Brain
Added or free sugar is any sugar not found in fruit or vegetables but was artificially produced through further processing steps. So even squeezing fruit into juice creates free sugar.
Our brain loves foods with sugar in any form because it is a readily available energy source. Whether white table sugar, brown cane sugar or honey, they all consist mainly of sucrose. In the body, these carbohydrates are broken down into glucose or fructose. Glucose is considered the most important supplier of energy.
The expert, therefore, advises avoiding foods that contain a lot of free sugar, such as lemonades, sweets and baked goods. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends consuming no more than 25 to a maximum of 50 grams of free sugar per day.
Fried foods – who doesn’t love them? Whether it’s fried chips, chicken or the like: almost everyone probably has a weakness for at least one fried food. But these calorie bombs are not only bad for the figure, but they are also among the wrong foods for the brain.
According to a large study with around 18,000 subjects (all older than 45 years), the frequent consumption of fried foods and processed meat leads to lower learning and memory values. 3 Scientists see a fantastic reason for this: guilt triggers inflammation, which damages the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain.
Foods With A High Glycemic Index
Unfortunately, although many foods such as pasta and bread do not contain any free sugar, they are still bad for the brain because they are white flour. This is broken down like sugar and causes a rapid rise in blood sugar levels. The glycemic index tells how quickly a food is converted into glucose in the body. The faster, the higher the value on a scale from 1 to 100.
After analyzing the data, the researchers found that subjects with a high carbohydrate quality index were up to 30 per cent less likely to develop depression. High GI foods include potatoes, white bread, and white rice. Even if they are popular foods on the menu, it is better to prefer whole grain products and brown rice.
Alcohol is not only a widely used legal drug, but it is also problematic in several respects. If you drink a lot, you mess up your metabolism. As alcohol is a toxin, it is broken down in the liver and thereby inhibits other metabolic processes, leading to obesity.
The astonishing result: People who drank a lot of alcohol and those who completely abstained from alcohol had an increased risk of dementia. Thus, moderate drinking behavior, in which one consumes alcohol only occasionally and in small amounts, does not appear to hurt the risk of dementia.
Cured salt-containing nitrites and nitrates as a preservative are used to prepare foods such as raw ham, smoked products, sausage, and bacon. In small amounts and only enjoyed now and then, the fares are not necessarily bad for the brain. However, it can become problematic if you eat too many cured foods in everyday life.