While many of us will choose to eat a particular food because we’re told it’s ‘good’ for us, there are some foods which have been proven to be not so beneficial for our health, with research showing that certain foodstuffs can actually affect some of the functions of the body, particularly when it comes to your memory and cognitive abilities.
A study published in the journal Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders suggested that eating multiple portions of tofu per week (in excess of 9 servings) was associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment and memory loss. The research team analysed the tofu consumption of over 700 Indonesian men and women, discovering that the people who ate over 9 portions per week didn’t perform as well in memory tests as the people who ate fewer portions. While the study was far from conclusive, it is believed that the phytoestrogens contained in tofu may affect brain function.
While we’re all aware of the effects of sodium on our blood pressure, one study has discovered that a high sodium intake combined with low physical activity has a negative effect on our cognitive ability. The research, which was carried out in Canada and published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, analysed data from 1262 people aged 67 and over. The participants were placed into one of three groups based on sodium intake. The most significant changes were observed in the people who did little activity and consumed larger quantities of sodium. However, this effect is known to be reversible by simply increasing exercise and cutting down sodium consumption.
Research published in the journal PLoS suggested that eating an excess of trans fat was associated with difficulty in remembering words. Based on 1018 participants, the study showed that for each gram of trans fat consumed, the participants remembered an estimated 0.76 fewer words, with the people who ate the highest amount of trans fats recalling 65 words, compared to 86 words for the average participant.
You wouldn’t expect fish to be on the list but, according to a study published in Integrative Medicine, people who consume more than three servings of fish such as tuna, swordfish, shark and bass per week are at a higher risk of cognitive dysfunction. This is down to the high levels of mercury contained in such fish.
Yes, we all know saturated fat is bad for our heart, but researchers at the University of Montreal found that rats who were given a diet high in saturated fat, exhibited impaired functioning of the mesolimbic dopamine system, the part of the brain that controls motivation. This can lead to mood disorders, overeating and has also been shown to play a part in drug addiction.
Looking for a job within the Neurological conditions care industry? See our Careers page for exclusive job opportunities at some of the best care facilities.