JUST SHARING :-)
In case you missed it:
It's no secret excess sugar isn't exactly sweet where your health is concerned,
but now new research indicates it may take a toll on 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.
Use the news: While this research is
preliminary, it's just general good health advice to minimize your intake of
added sugar (see some shockingly sneaky sources here) and up your consumption of
foods rich in omega-3s, including walnuts, salmon, flax seeds and soybeans to
your meals. You've probably heard of smart foods that boost your IQ, but did you
know that some less-healthy options can actually drain your brain?
Red Meat and Butter
diet high in "bad" saturated fat 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 the women who ate the most saturated fat scored lower on
tests of brain function and memory. On the other hand, women who ate the most
monounsaturated fats (found in foods like olive oil and avocado) had higher
Use the news: You
don't need to shun saturated fat sources entirely, but choose low or non-fat
versions of animal products, such as cheese, yogurt, and milk. Avoid processed
meat, like bacon, and stick to lean cuts. Get more protein from vegetable
sources, like soy and legumes.
pizza, and other junk food
Will junk food rot kids' brains? A
2011 British study of nearly 4,000 children found that those who ate primarily
junk food (lots of processed and fast food) at age three had a small drop in IQ
five years later compared with children who ate healthier diets. (And the link
remained after researchers accounted for confounding variables, such as
socioeconomic status and parents' education.) Early diet choices especially
seemed to affect kids' verbal abilities, according to Time.com. The study
suggests that smart diet choices may be particularly crucial during early years
of rapid brain development.
news: It can be tricky to get young picky eaters to eat healthy
foods, but remember that kids need repeated exposure (sometimes a dozen or more
times) to "like" a new food. So don't give up so easily! And many classic kid
favorites, like string cheese and yogurt, make for healthy snacks instead of
processed cookies and chips.
Ditching carbs can sap brainpower (along with energy and
mood). A small Tufts University study of 19 women between the ages of 22 and 55
found that when dieters eliminated carbohydrates, they showed a gradual dip in
cognitive skills (particularly on memory-related tests) compared to a group who
stayed on a low-calorie diet that included carbs.
Use the news: Carbs aren't evil-your body
needs them for many important functions, including fueling your brain. So avoid
diets that eliminate or severely restrict them, and choose healthy options, like
whole grain pastas and breads, brown rice, and quinoa.
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 (In this case, participants were asked to learn the order of
items in a list) The finding contradicts previous research, which found a
positive association between chewing gum and mental tasks.
Use the news: Because of mixed study
results, you might not want to spit just yet. But be sure to include other
brain-boosting habits in your daily routine, such as drinking water (dehydration
can affect focus and acuity), getting plenty of sleep, and playing brain games.