What junk food does to your brain?

by Sheraz Imtiaz
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What junk food does to your brain?

Our brain is always active. It constantly works 24/7, even when you’re asleep. It takes care of our thoughts, feelings, heartbeat, movement, and senses. That’s why the brain requires a constant supply of fuel, which it receives from food. So a healthy diet is imperative as it intensely affects the structure, function, and health of the brain. Like a car, your brain works well when it gets a premium fuel. Poor diet greatly affects our brain mechanism. Junk food creates a negative impact on your brain.

Eating too much fat and sweet makes you fat. Everyone knows it. What is less clear, however, is the effect that junk food can have on our brain. But today, researchers from Yale University (USA) tell us that a diet rich in fats and carbohydrates causes inflammation of the hypothalamus in just three days.

Remember that the hypothalamus controls some vital functions such as thirst and hunger. The most surprising remains that this region of the brain reacts as quickly to junk food.

The effects of junk food on the brain

The University of New South Wales study found that Fast food does have harmful and detrimental effects on the brain. To verify this, they experimented with two groups of rats.

One group received food calories but low in nutrients. Especially many foods are rich in sugar and saturated fat. The other group was offered a healthy diet but were allowed to drink sugar water sporadically. This simulated a regular soft drink.

The scientists astonished after seeing the result of the experiment. The first group of mice showed significant deterioration in the brain area linked to memory just after one week. What is disconcerting is that the second group also showed a more severe decline than the first group.

Another illuminating study of Junk food

The evidence for the harmful effects of junk food on the brain doesn’t end there. Another research proves the same conclusion but, in a different way, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, conducted by a group of American scientists.

These researchers assumed that the cells of the brain’s immune system, also known as microglia or Hortega cells, ignite with the consumption of foods high in calories and deficient in nutrients. Through their research, they have detected that when this happens, the feeling of hunger rises.

To reach this conclusion, they also used a group of mice. They asked the latter for an artificial inflammation of the microglia. So they ate a third more than before and gained an average of four times their weight. This proves the effects of junk food on the brain, which ultimately affects the whole organism.

Junk food attacks children’s brains

The prefrontal cortex plays a major role in controlling our impulses. And this only matures around the age of 20. However, experiments conducted on rats shown, excessively consume sugar can alter the development of the prefrontal cortex. Adults who drank a lot of sodas in their childhood and adolescence could thus have difficulty following the rules.

Dangerous deficiencies

First explanation: it does not provide us with the nutrients our brains need. These deficiencies could modify our behavior. The body, in fact, does not know how to manufacture certain elements essential for good brain functioning and finds them in food. In rodents, the findings are revealing. For example, a rat that lacks Omega 3 develops anxious behavior when its congener fed in a balanced way is more adventurous.

To fight against the effects of junk food

The good news is that the trend can be reversed. By eating more fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, we fight inflammation initiated by junk food. Fatty fish and avocados, in turn, boost the production rate of new neurons. And physical exercise has a positive effect on the neuroplasticity of the brain.

Bluefish, blueberries, oats, yogurt, chocolate, avocado, and green foods are also great. If you don’t like them very much, take a small portion every day. Your brain will appreciate it.

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