Excessive Sugar on the Brain?

Too Much of Anything Is Not Good for Your Health

Chocolate Truffles

While a healthy diet contains a significant amount of naturally occurring sugar (in fruits and vegetables, for example), the problem is that we’re chronically consuming much more added sugar in processed foods.

Excess sugar consumption has long been linked to weight gain and the development of obesity and lifestyle diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Studies of long-term diabetics also confirm progressive brain damage leading to deficits in learning, memory, motor speed, and other cognitive functions.

Brain cells require two times the energy needed by all the other cells in the body. This energy is derived from glucose (blood sugar). Sugar is not the brain’s enemy, added sugar is.

A 2013 study found that frequent exposure to high glucose levels diminishes mental capacity, as higher HbA1c levels have been associated with a greater degree of brain shrinkage and decreased cognitive performance. Even in those without diabetes, higher sugar consumption is associated with lower scores on tests of cognitive function. And, when it comes to Alzheimer’s, researchers found that higher brain glucose levels may mean an increase in the severity of the disease.

Any sugar added in your food is detrimental. You may avoid the consequences by satisfying your sweet tooth with fresh fruit and vegetables. Some of the best choices are:

  • Citrus fruits — reduces inflammation and has high vitamin C
  • Dark leafy greens — spinach, kale, and swiss chard are packed with folate, iron, and even protein
  • Berries — acai, blackberries, and blueberries provide rich antioxidants and vitamins that fight off infections
  • Garlic and ginger — adding garlic to your meals will help protect your immune system when cold and flu season hits. It’s one of the most natural antivirals. Ginger also reduces inflammation in the body and it great for digestion.

 

So, next time you’re tempted to reach for a cookie or that last doughnut on the tray, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables instead. Natural sugars still taste sweet and provide the fuel you need to maintain optimal brain health.

Spinach Salad

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