Feeling the Brain Fog? Better Check Your Diet for This
Researchers at UCLA found that a common ingredient in food, even in seemingly healthy choices such as instant oatmeal, applesauce and some yogurts might be damaging your brain function.
What is this brain drainer? The offender is a preservative and sweetener known as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is present not only in obviously unhealthy foods, such as sugary drinks, desserts and fast food, but is also hiding in processed foods that many think are nutritious.
While previous studies have associated HFCS with obesity and diabetes, the new research, published in the Journal of Physiology, finds it is also detrimental to brain function. Senior author, Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, PhD, summarizes the results succinctly by declaring that the food we eat affects our ability to think clearly. He asserts that prolonged consumption of a high-fructose diet hinders your brain’s capacity to learn and remember information.
As disturbing as this finding is, not all of the discoveries of the study were negative. The good news is that consuming a diet high in onega-3 fatty acids seems to be partially protective against the destructive effects of HFCS on the brain.
In the study, researchers began by teaching rats how to navigate a maze. They then divided the animals into two groups, feeding one group HFCS in water and the other group HFCS together with omega-3 fatty acids. At the end of six weeks, both groups were given the maze test. The rats that did not receive the omega-3s were slower, manifesting difficulty with brain signaling, which interfered with thinking and remembering the route they learned at the onset of the investigation.
Gomez-Pinilla emphasizes that omega-3s exert their protective effect on the brain in the present, as well as in the future. He compares it to saving money in the bank, building a reserve of extra fuel for the mind.
Here’s 4 ways to avoid the brain-damaging effects of HFCS.
1. Avoid processed foods as much as possible.
2. Choose fresh fruit over sugary sweets.
3. Look for foods with an organic label, as HFCS is banned in these products.
4. Eat plenty of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as tuna and salmon, in addition to flaxseeds, eggs and walnuts.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.
Article updated on: May 23rd, 2012