Columbus, Ohio — There are many waistline-related reasons to avoid highly processed foods, but new research is adding yet another to the list. Scientists at Ohio State University report that ultra-processed foods are actively damaging memory function in old brains.
Researchers fed a group of older rats a highly processed food diet for a month, causing a strong inflammatory response in the brain. Many behavioral signs of memory loss also followed. Importantly, young rats fed the same highly processed diet did not experience a similar loss of memory.
More positively, the authors of the study also found that providing DHA (omega-3 fatty acid) supplements to rodents prevented the development of memory problems and almost completely eliminated the effects of inflammation. ..
Which food do you need to worry about eating?
The team used a specially crafted diet to recreate ready-to-eat human foods such as potato chips, frozen foods, and deli meats with preservatives.
Ruth Varientos, a researcher at the Institute of Behavioral Medicine at Ohio State University and an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral health, said: University release..
“These findings show that eating processed foods can cause serious and sudden memory loss – And in the aging populationA rapid loss of memory is more likely to progress to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. By being aware of this, you can limit processed foods in your diet. Rich in omega 3 fatty acids DHA either prevents or slows the progression, “she continues.
Switching to fish can reduce inflammation
In previous studies related to highly processed dietary obesity, study authors should do their best to avoid these products and choose foods with high DHA, such as salmon, for all older people. It states. DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid and is often combined with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in a variety of fish and other seafood. DHA helps perform multiple functions in the brain, but perhaps most important is its role in combating inflammation. Nonetheless, this study is noteworthy as it is the first study to specifically focus on DHA’s ability to offset brain inflammation caused by processed foods.
The authors of the study found that a collection of 3-24 month old male rats was “normal” (32% calories from protein, 54% from wheat-based complex carbohydrates, 14% from fat) and highly processed (19.6). ) Assigned to one of the three diets. % Calories from protein, 63.3% from refined carbohydrates (cornstarch, maltodextrin, sucrose), 17.1% from fat), and highly processed plus DHA supplements.
Old rat assigned to Highly processed meal It showed gene activity associated with a potent pro-inflammatory protein. In addition, these rats showed other signs of inflammation in the hippocampus and amygdala. At a more practical level, older rats feeding on processed foods also perform poorly, Signs of memory loss During a series of tests. For example, older mice seemed to forget where they had just spent a while and were unable to show anticipatory fear behavior for dangerous cues. Both of these observations suggest abnormal activity and problems in the amygdala and hippocampus.
“The human amygdala is involved in emotional-creating fear and anxiety-event-related memory. When this area of the brain is dysfunctional, clues to predict danger are overlooked and make bad decisions. It can be connected, “adds Professor Varientos.
However, adding some DHA supplements seems to have a great effect on blocking processed supplements. Inflammation caused by food Stop potential memory loss.
Are there any processed foods that can lead to weight gain?
Worth mentioning by all rats Eat processed foods Especially old rodents have gained a lot of weight. Even those who were also given DHA supplements made no difference in this regard. The research team emphasizes that this study should not suggest that highly processed foods are OK as long as you are also taking DHA supplements. The best option is simply to avoid such foods.
“These are the types of diets that are advertised as low-fat, but they are highly processed. They are fiber-free and contain refined carbohydrates, also known as low-quality carbohydrates. “Professor Varientos concludes. “People who are accustomed to viewing nutritional information need to pay attention to the fiber and quality of carbohydrates. This study really shows that they are important.”
NS study Published in the journal Brain, behavior, and immunity.
Eating highly processed foods for a month can lead to memory loss
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