It is common knowledge that consuming many high-calorie or high-sugar snacks and junk foods is not good for your health. But now, an extensive literature review of dozens of mouse studies by scientists at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles shows that these delicious foods can likely lead to neurological and cognitive impairments later in life as well.
Such a diet is known in research circles as the “Western diet”. It has been linked to increased anxiety-like behavior, decreased memory, and other cognitive problems early in life. All of these Western diet problems are in addition to their well-documented metabolic, weight, and overall health effects.
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The new research suggests that Western diets may have a far greater impact on neurological health and development than previously thought. They also found that it led to increases in addiction-like behavior in mice as the animals craved high-fat and sugary foods, along with a decrease in social behavior.
The UCLA researchers wrote in the paper:
Western diet (WD) consumption is not only a predictor of obesity and metabolic disorders, but is also linked to poorer lifespan cognitive performance. In particular, the consumption of WD in the critical early stages of development has negative effects on various cognitive abilities in later adulthood.
In particular, a large study by a research team at Yale University and the University of Leeds found a link between a diet high in processed meats (like bacon and hot dogs) and an increased risk of developing dementia later in life. This study checked the dietary habits, health outcomes, genetics, and other information of approximately 494,000 volunteers to arrive at its conclusion.
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Another study by researchers at Oregon State University suggests that Western diets adversely affect “cognitive flexibility,” or the ability to adapt and adapt to changing situations. In experiments with mice, the physical and mental performance of the animals on the western diet began to drop significantly after about a month. They suggested that fat and sugar alter the healthy bacterial systems in your gut, which then negatively affects your brain.
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So if you want to avoid common mistakes, poor judgment, and forgetfulness, cut out junk food and stick to a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables. The best way to cut down on the amount of foods high in fat and sugar is to replace them with delicious, nutritious whole foods that are good for your brain.
Good choices are walnuts, salmon, mackerel, hemp and chia seeds, apricots, berries, figs, avocados, eggs, dark chocolate, spinach, turmeric, green tea, and lean meats. These are just a few of the many great foods you can eat. Just try to avoid packaged items with a long list of ingredients that contain oils and sugars, or syrups like high fructose corn syrup. It may be very difficult at first, but after a while you won’t even crave these foods and you will feel so much better that you will never want to eat them again!