The Worst Foods for Your Brain and What You Can Eat Instead
Did you know that food can actually affect your brain function? Here are the best and worst food that can affect your brain.
It is a commonly known fact that the brain is one of the most – if not the most – important organs in your body. Your brain functioning properly and efficiently is essential to your everyday life.
Without it, you won’t really be able to do anything. It helps you see, feel, process what you see and turn it into knowledge, it helps you talk, and it’s what tells your organs and everything else what to do. The brain is kind of like the motherboard of the body; without it, nothing will be able to function properly. As a child, your brain is still developing and this is the best time to learn the things that you want to stick with you for the rest of your life. As you grow older, your brain develops fully and then that’s where it can start to deteriorate. That can be a little scary to experience, but if you take care of your brain, then you might not need to worry about this at all. Giving your brain the food it needs and staying away from the foods that can damage it can significantly affect how your brain will function right now and how it will function in the future. You want to stay as sharp as possible in your prime so that you can perform at your best whether it’s for work, school, or just in everyday situations.
As you grow older, you’ll also still want to stay sharp and try to protect yourself from illnesses that come from mental deterioration like Alzheimer’s. So, what foods should and shouldn’t you eat for your brain? Here are a few of the worst foods you should stay away from and the best ones you should eat instead:
This may come as a surprise for you because tuna is often regarded as one of the healthiest types of fish that you can eat, however, this may not be the case anymore. Tuna in itself is one of the best foods to eat to get some nutrition for your brain, however, it has already been proven that years and years of industrial pollution has exposed this fish to a high amount of mercury. This heavy metal has been the cause of cognitive decline and heart failure. It’s saddening that one of the healthiest fishes you can eat has been contaminated with something that negates all its benefits, but until there is a long-term solution for the pollution of tuna, it’s probably best if you stay away it for now.
A fact about microwave popcorn is that it’s often packed with a lot of trans fat and flavored with some hydrogenated oils. Unlike other healthier fats, trans fat absolutely does not have any use in your body. It’s empty fat that will just give you high cholesterol, cause inflammation, and damage the lining of your blood vessels which is very bad for your brain. Some brands also contain a chemical called diecetyl that breaks down the layer of cells that protects your vital organs – yes, including the brain! Stay away from microwave popcorn and instead buy yourself a pack that organic and air popped. Alternatively, you can also just pop your own corn in a pan so that you can control the ingredients you put in. Popcorn isn’t actually that bad for you, in fact, it can contain some healthy grains that will be good for your body. However, microwave popcorn is a whole other deal and it’s definitely one food you should stay away from.
Egg whites are often the part of egg someone chooses to eat if they are trying to be healthy or wanting to lose weight. Egg whites aren’t really bad for you, rather, they’re actually very good for your body. However, throwing away the egg yolk will deprive you of some very important brain benefits. Egg whites actually have none of the nutrients your brain needs, these are all hiding out in the yolk. So, next time you eat some eggs, keep the yolk in instead of just eating the whites.
The bad news for ice cream lovers all over the world is that ice cream is actually bad for your brain. Just a cup of regular vanilla ice cream can contain so much sugar and saturated fat that will clog up your arteries. Both too much sugar and saturated fat can be bad for your brain. So, if you love yourself some ice cream on a regular basis, it might be best to cut down on your intake.
You may think that margarine is a lot like butter but it’s really, really not. Margarine can taste, look, and feel like butter but it’s created using a synthetic chemical reaction which makes it artificially made. Much like microwave popcorn, margarine is basically a concentrated version of the hydrogenated oils that are very bad for your brain. It also has high cholesterol (and not the good kind) that can take a toll on your health and brain function. It’s best to stay away from margarine completely and just go for real butter.
Much like tuna, wild salmon is regarded as one of the healthiest fish you can eat, but unlike tuna, you don’t get the risk of exposing your brain to heavy metals like mercury. Salmon contains fatty acids that can significantly improve your brain function and heart health. Studies have shown that people who consume more Omega-3, a fatty acid found in salmon, have improved memory and thought recall. Instead of tuna, which might risk you mercury exposure, opt for some wild salmon as your fatty fish of choice.
Whole eggs have gained sort of a bad reputation in some health circles. However, this is actually a big mistake. Vitamin D, one of the vitamins that egg yolks contain, can actually prevent Alzheimer’s disease and brain deterioration. One of the reasons it’s gained a bad rep is because if its “cholesterol” but it’s been proven that eggs actually have cholesterol that’s essential for your brain function.
Another food that has gained a bad rep because of its fat and cholesterol is butter. However, unlike margarine, butter actually contains cholesterol and fats that are good for your brain. As long as you get the organic, real, grass-fed butter, you’re actually better off than using other alternatives.
The reception of coconut oil has been mixed, at best, because it’s another food that has wrongfully gained a bad reputation because of its fat content. However, coconut actually has the healthiest fats you can consume and it can also regulate your cholesterol. It’s also an anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and antiviral. Coconut oil is actually packed with amazing health benefits, so if you’re looking for a butter or cooking oil alternative, this is the best one you can choose.
Greek Yogurt with Strawberries and Blueberries
A great alternative for your ice cream blues is to replace it with the healthy and brain-friendly alternative of Greek yogurt with strawberries and blueberries. Greek yogurt has some healthy fats that are healthy for your tummy and brain and strawberries and blueberries have been proven to have flavonoids and antioxidants that will benefit your brain health. So, instead of reaching for ice cream, go for some Greek yogurt with strawberries and blueberries instead!
Remember Your Brain
Keep your brain sharp by eating the best foods for it and staying away from the foods that can damage it. It’s important that you get the best brain function you can possibly have so that you can live a quality life and as you age, you will still retain your sharpness. Switch out those foods that will impair your brain function and replace them with something that will nourish your noggin.
Dana Leigh Smith & The Editors of Eat This, Not That! (n.d.). 22 BEST & WORST FOODS FOR YOUR BRAIN. Retrieved from Eat This, Not That!: http://www.eatthis.com/foods-for-brain
Rybak, K. (n.d.). The 5 Worst Foods for Your Brain. Retrieved from Aloha: https://aloha.com/magazine/articles/the-5-worst-foods-for-your-brain