By Tina Paymaster, PHASE IV Functional Nutrition & Health Specialist
Last week we talked about the impact sugar has on the brain. This week we’re continuing our discussion of foods and ingredients that scientists and health professionals are urging people to limit or avoid if they want to keep their brain and body healthy.
As of June 18 of this year, trans fats have been officially banned from all manufactured foods. Research in the 1990s found a strong link between trans fats, also known as “partially hydrogenated oil,” and heart disease. In addition, more and more studies are finding that trans fats cause cellular destruction in the brain and can adversely impact hormone production, memory and increase inflammation by suppressing the production of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Now, our brains do need fat to function. In fact, the brain relies on natural, healthy fats to maintain cell membranes, keep brain inflammation at bay and transport fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K. Focus on getting your daily doses of fat from olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds and avocado.
A study of almost 3000 people in 2017 reported a link between artificial sugar consumption and an increased risk of stroke and dementia. In the study, those participants that reported having just one diet beverage a day were three times more likely to develop dementia or suffer from a stroke. Although more research is needed, the findings are alarming.
Aspartame, one of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners in foods and beverages, has also been shown to cause neurodegeneration, mood imbalances and potentially cause brain cells to kill themselves. Instead of artificial sweeteners, use small amounts of natural sugar, such as raw honey, pure maple syrup or dates.
A study of 550 men and women over 30 years published in The BMJ found that even moderate drinking, which they defined as about 6-9 drinks a week, can damage the brain, including hippocampal atrophy.
Anyone that has had a few drinks knows that alcohol can impair judgement, balance, speech and even memory. Many studies have shown that long term heavy drinking can create serious and persistent changes in brain function that include mental confusion, eye nerve paralysis and difficulty with muscle coordination.
While you don’t need to completely abstain from alcohol to lead a healthy life, it’s important to consider overall alcohol consumption in relation to your health goals, short term and long term.
Looking for personalized nutrition guidance to reach our health and wellness goals? Schedule a complimentary consultation with a PHASE IV Nutrition Specialist today. Call 310-582-8212 to book your appointment.