What Your Brain Doesn’t Want You to Eat
Studies have shown what you eat has a direct effect on your brain (and body). It’s likely that you’ve heard “make sure to eat your vegetables” before. However, have you been told about the food you shouldn’t be eating? Some everyday food items we consume might not be healthy for our bodies, specifically our brains. We’ve compiled a list of what food you should be cautious of and some healthy alternatives.
6 Types of Unhealthy Brain Food
- Fatty food. Your brain is mostly fat and needs fat to survive. However, there are several different types of fat, some fats benefit your brain, and others don’t. The types of fat that are unhealthy for our brains are called trans fat and saturated fat. Foods that have a lot of saturated fat include frozen pizza, margarine, baked goods, and microwave popcorn. Tip to reduce your intake of fatty food: try using coconut oil as a healthy alternative to margarine and eat lots of nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.
- Fried food. Fried food is high in saturated fat and calories. It is also often cooked in hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Hydrogenated oils contain high levels of trans fat and can also be found in baked goods and processed foods.
- Processed food. Processed food is not just bad for the waistline; it also contains a preservative that can affect cognitive function called “sodium benzoate.” Suggested processed foods to avoid include cheese, breakfast cereals, cold cuts, and cured meat products.
- Sugary food. Many of us eat way too much sugar. Research has shown too much sugar can have a negative effect on brain health. There are several high-sugar foods that you might be eating every day. These include flavored yogurt, canned soup, salad dressing, store-bought tomato sauce, and granola bars.
- Salty food. While sodium is important for cell function in the body, too much of it (or too little) is not good for your brain nerves and body. Suggested everyday salty foods to avoid include deli meats, vegetable juice, canned pasta sauce, fast food sandwiches, mixed nuts, condiments and frozen meals. Tip: instead of canned pasta sauce, make your own by using vine-ripened tomatoes and a blender. You can also make your own mixed nuts by using a variety of unsalted nuts.
- Carbohydrates. Not all carbs are created equal. Just like with fat, there are good carbs and bad carbs. Skip simple carbohydrates like white bread and dessert, and opt for complex carbs like legumes and whole grains.