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Delicious poison: a nutritionist from Harvard told which foods slowly kill the brain

'21.05.2024'

Nurgul Sultanova-Chetin

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No matter how old you are, it's never too late to eat a dementia-preventive diet and stay alert and focused every day. And in this an important role is played by the rejection of some very harmful products, writes CNBC.

Harvard Medical School nutritionist and author of This Is Your Brain on Food Uma Naidu studies how gut bacteria can trigger metabolic processes that cause brain inflammation and affect memory. Existing research indicates that we can reduce the likelihood of developing dementia, but this requires avoiding products, compromising our gut bacteria and also impairing our memory and attention.

Here Products, which should be avoided or reduced to help fight inflammation and promote brain health and mental acuity.

Added sugar

The brain uses energy in the form of glucose to fuel cellular activity. However, a diet high in sugar can lead to excess glucose in the brain. According to research, this leads to memory impairment and a decrease in the plasticity of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory.

Baked goods and soda often contain refined and added sugar - often in the form of high fructose corn syrup. These foods flood the brain with too much glucose.

Although every body has different needs, the American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day, while men consume a maximum of 36 grams. (To find out if and how much of a packaged product contains added sugar, check the "Added Sugar" line in the Nutrition Facts table.)

fried food

French fries, tempura, samosa, fish and chips and chicken steak. Are you salivating? We understand you.

However, when it comes to brain health, it's worth cutting down on the amount of fried foods you eat. For example, one study of 18 people found that a diet high in fried foods was associated with lower learning and memory scores. Likely cause: These pleasures cause inflammation, which can damage the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain.

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In another study of 715 people, researchers measured their levels of depression and resilience, and documented their levels of fried food consumption. They found that those who ate more fried foods were much more likely to develop depression during their lifetime.

If you eat fried foods every day, then first of all try to reduce your consumption to once a week, or even better - a month.

High glycemic carbohydrates

Even if high-carb foods (like bread, pasta, and anything else made with refined flour) don't taste sweet, your body still processes them the same way it does sugar.

That is, they can also increase the risk of depression. But there's no need to panic - you don't have to completely eliminate carbohydrates from your diet, but you should control the ones you eat.

In 2018, researchers tried to determine which carbohydrates, if any, were linked to depression. They surveyed 15 participants and defined it as the “Carbohydrate Quality Index.”

The “best quality” carbohydrates were defined as whole grains, high fiber foods, and low glycemic index (GI) foods. GI is a measure of how quickly food is converted into glucose when broken down during digestion. The faster food is converted into glucose in the body, the higher its GI.

The researchers found that people who had the highest Carbohydrate Quality Index scores, meaning they ate higher-quality carbohydrates, were 30% less likely to develop depression than those who ate high-GI carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates with a high glycemic index include potatoes, white bread and white rice. Honey, orange juice and whole grain bread are medium GI foods. Low GI foods include green vegetables, most fruits, raw carrots, beans, chickpeas and lentils.

Alcohol

Many people live busy lives. The “work hard, play hard” mentality often leads them to drink on weekends as a way to relieve stress. Although drinking is relaxing at the moment of consumption, this relaxation comes at a cost the next morning.

Archana Singh-Manu, research professor and director of the French Institute of Health and Medical Research, and her colleagues followed 9087 people for 23 years to find out how alcohol affects the incidence of dementia. In 2018, the British Medical Journal wrote that scientists came to an ambiguous conclusion: drinking a lot is harmful, as is not drinking at all. The healthiest thing is to drink a little.

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In general, men who drink more than 14 drinks a week or more than four drinks a day at least once a month are considered alcoholics, as are women who drink at least seven drinks a week or more than three drinks a day. But different people (and their brains) react differently to alcohol abuse.

Nitrates

Nitrates, used as a preservative and to improve the color of cheese, as well as bacon, salami and sausages, can also cause depression.

One recent study even suggests that nitrates can alter gut bacteria in a way that puts the body at increased risk of developing bipolar disorder.

If you just can't live without salami and sausages, look for those that contain buckwheat flour, which is used as a filler. Buckwheat flour contains important antioxidants that can counteract the negative health effects of this meat.

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