In our fast-paced world, there’s an overabundance of foods that are harmful to our health. While most people realize that eating a steady diet of hamburgers, French fries, and soft drinks isn’t beneficial for our health, the convenience of junk or fast food is a dangerous trap that many in our society fall into on a consistent basis.
The Diet Downfall
The standard American diet (SAD), or Western pattern diet (WPD), is filled with pro-inflammatory and allergenic foods, many of which are laced with artificial chemicals. This diet can damage and prematurely age your brain and increase your risk for many physical and mental issues.
The SAD diet is largely composed of unhealthy foods that Dr. Daniel Amen refers to as weapons of mass destruction. These foods are:
- Highly processed- essential nutrients lost
- Pro-inflammatory- injurious to muscles, joints, and organs
- Artificially colored and sweetened- toxic to the liver and other organs
- High glycemic index- overworks the body’s sugar processing system
- Low in fiber- robs probiotics of the food they need
- Laden with hormones- can adversely affect the body’s delicate hormone balance
- Pesticide sprayed- toxic to humans
- Tainted with antibiotics- harmful to probiotics
This diet typically is high in sodium, refined sugars, omega-6 fatty acids, trans fats, and excess calories. It’s also low in the vitally important long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. People who maintain a diet loaded with simple carbohydrates (such as bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, fruit juices, and sugar) have an increased risk for problems with their digestive system, liver, pancreas, heart, circulation, and overall brain health.
A SAD Study
According to a recent study, published by the Royal Society, consuming the SAD diet for just one week may decrease learning and increase desire to munch on junk food. For this trial, volunteers spent one week splurging on high-fat foods and sweet treats with high amounts of added sugar. The SAD diet led to worse performance on memory tests and an increased desire to overeat junk food after they had finished consuming a meal.
The researchers suggest that the typical Western diet – think high-glycemic foods like waffles and high-fat fare like milkshakes – can rapidly impair function in the region of the brain called the hippocampus. One of the brain’s major memory centers, the hippocampus is also involved in appetite regulation. Dysfunction in this area is associated with memory issues and troubles with appetite control.
This study is just the latest to confirm the strong relationship between what you put in your mouth and the moment-by-moment functioning of your brain. Its finding suggests a vicious cycle where eating junk food impairs hippocampal function and appetite control, which leads to craving more junk food, and so on. It helps explain why the SAD diet is contributing to widespread weight problems in America where approximately 70% of the population is overweight, and 40% fall into the obese category.
Fast Food, Low Mood
A fascinating recent study revealed a new twist in the food/mood connection. Researchers went to two remote islands in Australia – one with plentiful fast food and lower fish consumption, the other without fast food, and higher fish consumption.
On the island with fast food, 16% of the people had moderate-to-severe mood issues, compared to only 3% on the island without fast food. That’s a 500% increased risk of low mood, based on diet. This study doesn’t prove fast food causes mood challenges, but it does suggest a suspicious connection.
Good Mood Foods
Making healthier choices in your diet can benefit your waistline, help lift your mood, and provide a long-lasting increase in energy and focus. Your brain requires foods that are high in vitamins, essential minerals, and other nutrients to help meet its huge energy requirements throughout the day.
Consider adding these good mood foods to your grocery list: fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, berries, beans, free-range poultry, grass-fed meats, and wild-caught, cold-water fish. This diet tends to be higher in omega-3 fatty acids, folate, fiber, and many essential vitamins and minerals.
Brain Healthy Supplements
Due to the poor nutritional quality of the SAD diet, many people aren’t receiving proper nutrition from the foods they eat. Even those who eat a relatively healthy diet may find it challenging to get all the nutrients they need daily. By only eating foods, there will always be a gap in nutrition.
To help fill that gap, it’s essential to get energy-enhancing, stress-reducing nutrients. That’s where supplements come in. The reason they’re called supplements is because they supplement your diet with the nutrients you might be missing by fueling your body with food alone.
In a society where eating fast or processed food, consuming massive amounts of sugar, skimping on sleep, drinking too much caffeine and/or alcohol and not enough water, and consistently passing up on exercise has become the norm, supplements aren’t just a good idea, they’re critical to supporting and optimizing your health.
BrainMD has developed several products that are essential for everyone’s nutritional needs: our premium multivitamin, NeuroVite Plus, ultra-concentrated EPA and DHA fish oil, Omega-3 Power, and high-purity Vitamin D3 5000.
Our line of over 30 supplement products was designed to support a wide range of individual needs and is the only line of dietary supplements available today that was specifically developed to address the full spectrum of brain health concerns.
Never Too Late
Even if you’ve been eating the SAD diet your whole life, there is hope. Though eating junk food is bad for the brain, it’s never too late to start fueling your brain with healthy foods that boost brain function.
Feeding your brain and body with healthy foods, and high-quality, brain directed supplements, can provide tremendous nutritional health support for you and everyone in your family.
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your energy, focus, mood, stress, immunity, and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.