We all know the dangers of eating too many processed foods; from obesity, to heart disease and everything in between. Scientists now believe it can also be responsible for abrupt memory loss.
The brain suffers too
For those who can't keep their hands off foods of the greasier variety, a new study conducted by Ohio State University's Institute for Behavioural Medicine Research has found that the brain suffers much more than expected when eating a surplus of processed foods.
Not only has research shown that one's memory is greatly impacted (and more so in those of an older age group) but the amygdala—the part of the brain which regulates fear—is also impacted. Dr. Ruth Barrientos, who participated in the research, said:
The amygdala in humans has been implicated in memories associated with emotional – fear and anxiety-producing – events. If this region of the brain is dysfunctional, cues that predict danger may be missed and could lead to bad decisions.
What diet should be prioritised?
These findings indicate that consumption of a processed diet can produce significant and abrupt memory deficits – and in the ageing population, rapid memory decline has a greater likelihood of progressing into neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
By being aware of this, maybe we can limit processed foods in our diets and increase consumption of foods that are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid DHA to either prevent or slow that progression. Folks who are used to looking at nutritional information need to pay attention to the fiber and quality of carbohydrates.