Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1198, (22 - 28 May 2014)
Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Issue 1198, (22 - 28 May 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Eat yourself clever

Let’s talk about better living! Our new interactive family corner aims to expand our lifestyle horizons with practical little pearls of wisdom from the editor and input from our readers.

Al-Ahram Weekly

There is no shortage of propaganda about the foods that make you smarter. But have you ever thought about foods that make you less smart? Apparently, there are certain foods that diminish all your intelligence-building efforts according to researchers at UCLA and Oxford University. They also revealed that eating poorly affects your alertness, memory, mood and nervous system. In addition, lack of water causes brain shrinkage and affects memory, focus and decision-making.

Stay hydrated and try to avoid the following foods to remain  sharp:

1. Sugar
Try to limit your sugar intake, including high-fructose corn syrup and high-carb foods because a high consumption of sugar affects your memory and your ability to learn, in addition to causing neurological problems. Also, too much sugar in your blood slows down your brain cells’ use of insulin to break down sugar to aid in processing thoughts and emotions, leading to a decrease in brain activity.

2. Salt
Try to consume salt in moderation. Salt affects your cognitive functioning in addition to affecting your heart rate and blood pressure. Adding raw salt to your food impairs your ability to think and causes cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke.

3. Junk food
Consuming high amounts of junk food for long periods of time can lead to memory loss and, in some cases, Alzheimer’s. Junk food is addictive and addiction is a matter of the brain. It turns out that the cessation of eating junk food triggers symptoms similar to withdrawal, depression and anxiety. The fats in junk food impart the creation of dopamine in the brain, which plays a role in giving you an overall feeling of well-being, motivation and alertness, in addition to improving memory and cognitive function.

4. Fried food
Opt for non-fried foods, which sometimes turns a healthy food into an unhealthy one.

5. Artificial sweeteners
Consuming too many artificial sweeteners slows your brain response, effectively making you dumber. Beware that artificial sweeteners are hidden in such seemingly innocent things as mouthwash, toothpaste, cough syrup and chewable vitamins.

6. Precooked and processed foods
Consuming large quantities of processed foods over a lifetime slowly destroys your nerve cells and causes your brain to shrink.  Preservatives, additives, dyes and artificial flavours are some examples of the chemicals in precooked and processed foods that make you dumber and affect your behavior and cognitive functioning.

7. Nicotine
Having nicotine in your bloodstream causes the capillaries between your blood vessels to constrict and this affects the function of neurotransmitters and ultimately brain function. The cessation of nicotine intake causes a brain fog, which causes nicotine users to develop addiction.

8. Alcohol
The consumption of alcohol lowers your ability to think clearly and to recall information. It also causes a mental cloud of confusion. Luckily, these symptoms are reversible if you stop consuming alcohol or limit your consumption.

9. Tofu
Though tofu is generally regarded as a healthy food, new research suggests that it can be harmful if consumed in large quantities. However, it has yet to be proven that consuming a lot of tofu increases the risk of memory loss.

10. Trans fats
Studies show that the consumption of trans fats is linked to brain shrinkage.

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