Unhealthy eating actually harms the brain
As early as 2011, scientists from the University of New York published a study that could lead to unhealthy eating in the brain. At that time, however, the focus was on the highly interesting influences of eating on the centers of reward and appetite in the brain of overweight people.
It had been shown that overweight – due to unhealthy diet – already had measurable damage in the brain. These were intensified inflammatory processes that led to steadily growing structural damage in the brain. The so-called Orbitofrontalkortex (OFC) – which was markedly reduced in size – and the so-called Amygdala.
As both regions of the brain also control taste, the researchers assumed that damage to these areas can cause you to eat things that do not really taste so well or that you eat too much. Both are often observed with overweight people – and even with teenagers. They showed in similar investigations that the described brain damage was always found when the young people concerned showed particularly unbridled dietary habits.
Unhealthy eating leads to loss of self-control
Both brain regions – OFC and amygdala – are also necessary for decision-making processes and help identify things that could be unhealthy and dangerous for the individual. If there are damages, this affects the self-control capability extremely negatively. You can not keep yourself from things (such as unhealthy food, too much food) that harm you, even though you know that they do harm.
However, it is still unclear what was first there – the damage in the brain or the overweight – and who is responsible for whom. What is clear, however, is that it is the diet that contributes to the brain-damaging inflammation processes – whether the person is now overweight or not.
Unhealthy eating robs intelligence
That sugar and fat in particular can harm the brain – as researchers at Oregon State University found in 2015 – we have already described here: sugar and fat rob your intelligence. In these studies, it was found that sugar and fat (even before an overweight) are first harmed by the intestinal flora, and these intestinal flora damage the cognitive abilities. This in turn led to the fact that those concerned were no longer able to adapt to new situations, their learning ability was reduced, and their long-term and short-term memory seemed to be impaired – problems that could be regarded as the first symptoms of dementia.
Unhealthy eating diminishes thought
Terry Davidson from the Purdue University in West Lafayette, Illinois also showed that the typical Western diet with lots of sugar and fat can lead to diminished thought. He also found the cause of chronic inflammatory processes.
According to Davidson, the unfavorable diet could lead to an increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier, which in turn leads to further impairment of the brain structure. The hippocampus is the first to be damaged – an area in the brain, which is considered a memory center. The hippocampus can sort memories and store only those things that are important and healthy. In order to protect people from over-eating, the hippocampus can NOT store an exceptionally tasty taste.
If the hippocampus is damaged, however, memories of the most delicious (but mostly unhealthy) food are so vivid that occasionally you can not think of anything else but how to get the best and fastest meals.
Unhealthy eating increases the likelihood of dementia
In addition, a damage or reduction of the hippocampus is a risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, since in the case of a disturbed hippocampus, information from short-term to long-term memory can get less and less.
At first, one does not notice these changes in the brain very clearly. In older age, however, they can no longer be concealed, and there are clear changes in the behavior, which point to the corresponding brain damage.
Unhealthy eating makes brain shrink
In September 2015 further research findings on this topic were published and published in the international specialist journal BMC Medicine. Researchers from Deakin University and the Australian National University (ANU) were also able to show how the diet affected certain brain regions (including the hippocampus).
The size of the hippocampus was measured by means of magnetic resonance tomography in the study participants (between 60 and 64 years). Those who consumed unhealthy, liked to eat sweetened drinks and salty snacks as well as processed meat products showed a smaller hippocampus in this study than those who preferred foods rich in vital substances such as vegetables, fruits and fish. Other factors that can affect the size and function of the hippocampus (eg smoking, depression, insufficient exercise, etc.) have been taken into account.
Healthy eating is crucial for a powerful brain
Professor Felice Jacka, head of the study, explains that unhealthy food is no longer just on the hips, but also clearly damages the brain. “It is becoming increasingly apparent that nutrition is crucial – both physical and mental. Other studies have recently shown that diet is an important risk factor for depression, anxiety, and dementia – but we did not know yet Exactly how specifically the diet affects the brain, which has now clarified. ”
A healthy diet is therefore a simple method with which one can improve the mental health, increase the brain performance by hand and prevent dementia – of course only if there is still a certain amount of self-control available 😉