There is no doubt that food is the most important source of energy. It keeps our heart beating, lungs breathing and all the systems in our body functioning. But, will it affect how you feel?!
You might have felt a sudden rush of energy when you have a sweet snack like a candy bar or a sugar donut. This high energy is immediately followed by a booming low as well. This is one of many instances where food directly affects the way we feel.
Have you ever thought of what other delicacies are affecting your memory and mood? This article reveals seven such foods that will affect the brain adversely and causes a harmful impact on your mood.
1. Sugary Drinks
This category of food includes soda, fruit juice, energy drinks, sports drinks, and all your other favorite soft drinks. An overdose consumption of these not only expands your waist but also boosts your risk of getting addicted to two types of diabetes along with heart diseases. This will, in turn, affect your brain in a negative way.
HFCS or high fructose corn syrup is the primary component in most of these sugary drinks. It contains about 55% fructose and 45% glucose. High HFCS is considered harmful as it is responsible for brain inflammation which will, in turn, spoil memory and learning ✅ Trusted Source Choi, H. K., & Curhan, G. (2008). Soft drinks, fructose consumption, and the risk of gout in men: prospective cohort study. Bmj, 336(7639), 309-312. .
A high quantity intake of fructose can cause obesity, increased blood pressure and fat content in the body. It can also be a reason for arterial dysfunction and diabetes. This metabolic syndrome leads to a greater risk of developing dementia ✅ Trusted Source Shi, Z., Taylor, A. W., Wittert, G., Goldney, R., & Gill, T. K. (2010). Soft drink consumption and mental health problems among adults in Australia. Public health nutrition, 13(7), 1073-1079. .
Instead of sugary drinks, go for alternatives like water, unsweetened iced tea, vegetable juice or unsweetened dairy products.
2. High Trans Fat Foods
Trans fat is naturally found in animal products like meat and dairy products. However, when it comes to altering your moods, they are not the real trouble makers. Man-made trans-fat or hydrogenated vegetable oils can lead to poor memory, lower brain volume and cognitive decline in many people.
These artificial, industrially-produced trans fat can be found in frostings, snack foods, ready-made cakes, and pre-packaged cookies.
Research points towards the fact that the higher the amount of trans fats consumed, the higher is the risk of getting diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Cutting off trans fat completely from your diet and by increasing unsaturated fats in your daily intake can cultivate lasting effects on your mental health.
3. Highly Processed Foods
There is a reason why processed food items are considered junk food. Highly processed foods like chips, sweets, instant noodles, microwave popcorns, store-bought sauces, or any readymade meals contain a high amount of sugar, salt, and added fats. They are also high on calories and lack other essential nutrients. These junk foods cause a negative effect on our thoughts and can easily lead to obesity.
Processed food increases the fat around organs. The tissues of the brain will decrease. Along with that, a western-style diet will increase chances for brain inflammation and affect memory, learning, brain plasticity and blood-brain barrier in a negative way ✅ Trusted Source Stuckler, D., & Nestle, M. (2012). Big food, food systems, and global health. PLoS medicine, 9(6). .
Aspartame is the artificial sweetener used in many sugarless products. Phenylalanine, methanol and aspartic acid are the main components of these sweeteners. Studies show that the components of Phenylalanine are capable of disrupting the blood-brain barrier and affecting the productions of neurotransmitters. Aspartame can also increase the brain’s vulnerability to oxidative stress as it is a chemical stressor.
However, if you think that only diabetic patients are affected by this artificial sweetener, then you are wrong. Aspartame is found abundantly in most commercial food items and many use it voluntarily to lose weight or to avoid sugar in their diet.
5. Refined Carbs
Refined carbohydrates contain sugars. Since it has a high glycemic index (GI), these foods are easily digestible. Therefore, having such food can cause a sudden spike in your sugar and insulin levels.
A daily intake of these in larger quantities results in a high glycemic load. GL or glycemic load refers to the rate to which your blood sugar level is raised by food based on the serving size. Foods with high GI and GL values has the capability to impair brain function.
Moderate consumption of alcohol can be a pleasurable action or an enjoyable addition to a nice meal. But excessive consumption can result in many harmful brain disorders. Chronic alcohol consumption leads to a decrease in brain volume, metabolic changes, and troubles the neurotransmitters which help the brain to communicate to other parts of the body.
Alcohol addicts often have a deficiency in vitamin B1 which leads to a brain disorder called Wernicke’s encephalopathy. This, in turn, results in the development of another disorder called Korsakoff’s syndrome- a condition that causes severe damage to the brain functions which can cause memory loss, eyesight issues, a sense of confusion and unsteadiness.
7. Fish High in Mercury
Regarded as one of the heavy metal contaminants and neurological poison, mercury can be stored for a long time in the tissues of animals and fishes. Predatory fish that have a long life span are mainly vulnerable to accumulating this poison and carrying it with them. While they carry it the concentration of mercury inside them increases to over one million times the concentration of the water that surrounds them.
Wild seafood varieties are the primary source of mercury in a human’s diet. It is advised to Pregnant women and kids to avoid or reduce the fish with high mercury content. This includes fishes like shark, swordfish, tuna, orange roughy, king mackerel, and tilefish. However, two to three servings of low mercury fish a week is still considered safe.
Depending on the variety of fish that you get in your area the recommendations may differ from region to region, hence it is always better to contact a nearby food safety agency.
Van Spronsen, F. J., Hoeksma, M., & Reijngoud, D. J. (2009). Brain dysfunction in phenylketonuria: is phenylalanine toxicity the only possible cause?. Journal of inherited metabolic disease, 32(1), 46.