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.
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.
Does blowing that bubble boost or bust your brainpower? Here, the research is mixed. A recent British study published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology found that chewing gum during a memorization exercise impaired participants’ short-term memories. The researchers believe the act of chewing may get in the way of concentrating on memory tasks.
Because of mixed study results, you don’t necessarily have to give up that gum habit. Just be sure to include other brain-boosting habits in your daily routine, such as drinking water, getting plenty of sleep, and playing brain games.
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…