You already know that a healthy diet can help you to avoid chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and so on. And if you’re following a medical weight loss plan or maintaining your weight after a big loss, you know that the right healthy foods can help you reach your goals. But there’s another compelling reason to follow a healthy diet and to avoid certain foods: Eating well also protects your brain health!
Most of us think of a healthy diet in terms of maintaining our waistlines. But yes, science does support the idea that the right nutrition is good for your brain, too. In fact, a 2019 study shared in the journal Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology points out that certain unhealthy eating habits are associated with a decline in brain function (along with an increased risk of dementia).
So, just what are these unhealthy foods that are linked to poor cognitive health? The good news is that the same foods you should avoid because they undermine your medical weight loss plan are the same ones that negatively impact your brain. Specifically, the researchers focused on packaged snack foods and frozen foods.
You already know that these foods tend to pack a higher calorie count, which can lead to the weight gain that contributes to chronic disease. But the additives in these foods also present a problem. Emulsifiers, like carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80, are thought to play a role in encouraging low-grade inflammation. And of course, we know that inflammation in the body is linked to a variety of poor health outcomes, from autoimmune diseases to diabetes to cancer. But inflammation can also impact the brain over time, leading to cognitive decline.
So, in addition to fitting well into your medical weight loss plan, healthy foods can also protect your brain health. By “healthy”, we mean foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, like fresh produce, lean protein, eggs, nuts, and seeds. And that also means avoiding packaged foods with lots of added ingredients.
For more information on both medical weight loss and preventing age-related diseases, call our office to schedule a consultation. We can help you learn about the nutrition your body needs to stay healthy and function at its best.