There has been a lot of talk lately about the gut-brain barrier, but what does it all mean and how is it affecting your health? Basically, what you eat affects how you feel, function and even think—the old, “You are what you eat,” scenario.
The Standard American Diet (SAD) contains high amounts of processed foods, sugars, low nutrient foods and even lower amounts of fresh foods. If you haven’t been living under a rock then you know this is affecting your body and overall health, but did you know it’s actually affecting your brain too?
1. Eating a diet high in refined sugars impairs brain function.
According to Harvard Health, studies have shown a link between diets high in sugars and impaired brain function. Eating the wrong foods can actually increase issues with mental health, including depression, mood disorders, brain tissue injury, anxiety, stress, mental outlook,
2. Are you drinking your water? You should be.
Although drinking 8 glasses of water a day has been drummed into most of us until we are blue in the face, we still aren’t doing it. Even slight dehydration can have an effect on your brain. Not enough water can cause mood changes and difficulty concentrating. So if you are feeling in a fog and can’t stay focused, you might need another glass of water.
3. Increased levels of inflammation in the body have been linked to increases in depression.
Foods high in fat, fried foods, sugars and red meat can cause inflammation in the body. Researchers suggest a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods, such as fatty fish, nuts, olive oil, avocados, fresh vegetables, and fruits.
4. The word Alzheimer’s usually scares the crap out of everyone; if it doesn’t, it should!
Alzheimer’s is a horribly debilitating disease and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diet and Alzheimer’s have been conclusively linked in studies. The new recommendation is a modified version of the Mediterranean and DASH diet, called the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet. With the inclusion of other traditional healthy diet suggestions, the MIND diet emphasizes more leafy greens and suggests significantly limiting your consumption of cheese, butter, margarine and red meat.
5. A glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away — or at least we hope so!
According to research on degenerative mental health and Alzheimer’s, it is recommended to drink one glass of wine a day, specifically at dinner. So, enjoy your glass of Pinot Gris with your baked salmon and mixed greens and blueberry salad! Your brain will thank you for it.
Your brain runs on the fuel you put in your body. If you fill it with junk, the brain is going to have nothing but junk to feed on. So it really does make a difference what you choose to eat. If you provide your body and brain with high nutrient dense foods you will be getting the best fuel for both your body and brain. Even small changes in the quality and types of foods you eat can have significant short and long-term effects on your mental health.