Everyone is aware of the reduction in mental functionality as people age, but studies are starting to highlight that processed foods could be speeding up the process. Processed foods tend to be high in calories, fat, salt, and sugars. Studies currently show that these foods can speed up the cognitive decline of people who already have problems, such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on a study conducted at the University of Sao Paulo Medical School, researchers reviewed the dietary habits of 10,775 people who were 50 years old on average at the start of the study. All of the patients lived in Brazil, and they were monitored for up to a decade. Those who regularly ate highly processed foods (more than 20% was junk food) had a more noticeable cognitive decline compared to those who ate healthier foods. The participants with diets that were high in processed foods also saw a decline in their ability to learn, focus, and remember things that they did learn or experience.
This is the latest in a series of studies that have demonstrated a correlation between highly-processed foods and more rapid cognitive decline. Foods considered a part of the typical Mediterranean diet, including more vegetables, olive oil, and omega 3s, have a positive effect on the brain, helping protect the brain from the kind of cognitive decline caused by ailments that affect the brain. It is still too early to definitively say that there is a direct connection, particularly as there are other differences in lifestyle that could affect cognitive decline. However, the director did say that anyone working on the understanding that there likely is a connection really doesn’t have anything to lose. After all, it definitely does help the heart and generally physical health.
As tempting and convenient as processed food is, it’s best to understand how it could be adversely affecting you. You can read the full story at Processed Foods (Like Ice Cream) Hurts Brain Function, Study Finds.