You’ve probably been hearing a lot about how too much sugar is harmful to healthy brain functions. But, new research is now proving that sugar isn’t the only type of food that negatively affects your mind.
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New research shows that sugar can hurt your brain, as well as your waistline. In a recent animal study, UCLA researchers found that rats fed a solution of fructose had a harder time navigating a maze, a sign of slowed learning and memory loss, compared to a second group of rats who were given the fructose solution as well as omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to have a brain-boosting effect.
The researchers suspect that the fructose-only diet decreased brain activity because it affected insulin’s ability to help brain cells use sugar to process thoughts and emotions. Certain omega-3 fatty acids may buffer the brain from the harmful effects of fructose.
While this research is still preliminary, it’s just general good health advice to minimize your intake of added sugar and up your consumption of foods rich in omega-3s, including walnuts, salmon, flax seeds and soybeans to your meals.
A diet high in “bad” saturated fat, such as red meat and butter, may hurt brain function, according to new Harvard research published in the Annals of Neurology. When researchers studied the eating habits and tested the brain function of 6,000 women for an average of four years, they found the women who ate the most saturated fat scored lower on tests of brain function and memory. On the other hand, women who ate the most monounsaturated fats (found in foods like olive oil and avocado) had higher scores.