- Foods and habits play a huge role on the brain, one of the most important organs in the human body.
- While some impact this organ positively and aid its development, others can actually ruin the brain.
- Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa takes a look at five foods and habits that are capable of damaging the brain.
For the brain to operate properly, it needs the right foods and habits. This is why you need to avoid the following:
Scientists have linked high consumption of sugary drinks like soda, sports and energy drinks to Alzheimer's disease (AD) - a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions.
It can also increase the risk of dementia (cognitive decline), Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, gout, weight gain, obesity and early death.
New research has shown that a diet of junk food (anything high in saturated fat and sugar) for just one week is enough to damage a certain part of the brain called the hippocampus.
The affected part is what lets us know when we are full and need to stop eating.
According to the Lead author Professor Richard Stevenson of Macquarie University in Australia, "When we are full the hippocampus normally suppresses these memories, reducing our desire to eat.
"We found lean healthy young people exposed to one week of a junk food diet developed impaired hippocampal function and relatively greater desire to eat junk food when full."
Eating junk food can also result in dementia, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and colorectal cancer.
"The current study suggests something similar occurs in humans, in that one week's exposure causes a reduction in memory and learning performance, in addition to alterations in appetitive control, as measured by the wanting and liking test," the Lead author Professor Stevenson added.
On the other hand, a healthy diet of whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables can preserve brain function and reduce mental decline.
Alcoholic drinks can negatively affect your sleep pattern, result in memory loss, and damage the serotonin level in the brain.
This particular chemical regulates mood, social behaviour, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory, and even sexual desire.
Drinking alcoholic drinks daily can also speed up the ageing process of the human brain.
Lack of adequate sleep increases the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and other neurological disorders. It can also harm your memory, and result in the loss of brain cells.
Scientists recommend getting at least 7 hours of undisturbed sleep every night as sleep is important for the health of the brain and overall well being.
One study found that "a single 90-minute reduction in sleep decreased performance and alertness by a whopping 32%."
Another one showed that consistent lack of sleep resulted in a significant decrease in brain volume and memory.
According to The Washington Post, "moving muscles pump fresh blood and oxygen through the brain and trigger the release of all sorts of brain- and mood-enhancing chemicals. When we are sedentary for a long time, everything slows, including brain function."
Sitting all day has also been linked to at least seven damaging health consequences including early death.
You can adopt these seven great habits for a healthier brain and long life.