Medical Experts Caution on Cognitive Impact of Processed Foods

Excessive refined treats and processed foods harm the brain. (Photo via

In the contemporary era, an array of tempting processed food options has proliferated, necessitating vigilant consumption to avert potential harm to brain function, which can detrimentally influence intelligence, reflexes, and emotional stability.

Taipei, Taiwan (WS News Publisher) – The brain, responsible for overseeing thoughts, emotions, memories, and actions, is of great importance to people. Proper exercise, a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep can all help maintain a healthy brain. However, life is filled with many delicious processed foods, such as refined starches, sugary drinks, fried foods, and alcohol, which may damage our brains and affect our intelligence, reaction time, and ability to regulate emotions. Therefore, doctors recommend eating less processed foods, maintaining a balanced diet, and drinking more water to keep the brain healthy.

Doctors recommend that everyone reduce their intake of “sugary” and “alcoholic” drinks. Sodas, juices, milk teas, and various energy drinks with added sugar and artificial sweeteners can increase blood sugar, cause blood vessel blockage, and affect the nutrient absorption of the body and hormone secretion. At the same time, it can also damage brain nerve cells and slow down the rate of neuron regeneration, so memory and learning ability will decrease accordingly.

We should also drink as little alcoholic beverages as possible to avoid excessive drinking, and people should also get rid of long-term alcoholism. Because alcohol is a neurotoxin, it can damage brain cells and affect the balance of brain neurotransmitters. Excessive drinking may cause brain damage, and lead to unstable moods, memory loss, and nutrient deficiencies. This also increases the chance of developing dementia and stroke in the future.

“Trans fat” is also one of the risk factors in the diet. It is a synthetic unsaturated fat that is usually used in making cookies, cakes, potato chips, margarine, salad dressings, and canned foods. Excessive consumption will not only increase weight and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, but will also affect the development of brain nerves, cause cognitive decline and memory decline, and increase the risk of dementia.

Processed carbohydrates, also known as “refined starches”, such as noodles, white rice, white toast, cakes, etc., have lost their nutritional value due to the loss of fiber and nutrients needed by the brain during the production process. When they are digested, it is quickly converted into sugar, causing blood sugar to rise rapidly. Excessive consumption can also cause problems with concentration or mood regulation, and increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, colorectal cancer, brain degeneration, and dementia.

“Ultra-processed foods” have also attracted considerable attention in recent years, because these foods have undergone multiple levels of processing, such as slicing, ripening, and seasoning, and the original flavor and nutrition of the food will be lost. Moreover, many additives are added during the processing, such as sugar, salt, grease, pigments, flavors, or preservatives. Therefore, if you overeat processed foods such as instant noodles, canned food, and hot dogs, it will cause excess fat to accumulate in the body, and you will also eat many artificial additives, harming your brain and cardiovascular health.

Studies have found that if more than ten percent of the daily diet is ultra-processed food, the risk of developing dementia is 25% higher than other people. A research team from the Universidade de São Paulo School of Medicine in Brazil recruited more than 10,000 subjects over the age of 35 in Brazil and divided them into four groups according to their intake of processed foods. After collecting data for 9 years, it was found that the group that consumed ultra-processed foods for a long time had a 28% higher rate of cognitive decline than the two groups that did not eat processed foods and consumed the least proportion of processed foods. The rate of decline in execution ability is 25% higher than them, and the consequences are quite alarming.

Research published in JAMA Neurology also confirmed that consuming too much ultra-processed food can impair cognitive function. Research from Deakin University in Victoria, Australia, also found that the food you eat every day affects brain health. Too many ultra-processed foods, such as beverages, frozen foods, and microwave foods, can increase the chance of diabetes and heart disease, and can also affect mental health. , causing depression and anxiety.

Therefore, convenient and fast processed foods or delicious refined foods in daily life not only affect our physical health but also invade our brains. They would damage brain nerves, destroy the blood-brain barrier and brain cells, produce oxidative and inflammatory reactions, and damage normal brain functions. This in turn affects our cognitive abilities, intelligence, and reflexes.

Therefore, you should avoid the above-mentioned foods in your daily diet, pay attention to the ingredient labels of foods, and reduce sugar, salt, fried foods, and processed foods. Eat more whole foods, drink more water, and supplement your daily needs with fruits and vegetables, high-quality protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and whole-grain foods. Starting with a healthy diet every day, maintaining health, and nourishing the brain can reduce the risk of dementia caused by bad eating habits and lay a solid foundation for health.

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