How over-processed foods cause significant brain damage in older people, resulting in significant memory and cognition impairment, scientists note in a new study.
Four weeks of dieting with excessively processed foods led to a strong inflammatory response in the brains of mice, which was accompanied by behavioral signs of memory loss, according to a new study published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity.
The researchers also found that taking DHA omega-3 fatty acid supplements along with processed foods prevented memory problems and reduced inflammatory effects almost completely in older mice. It is observed that in the younger adult mice that consumed processed foods, no neuroinflammations or cognitive problems were detected.
Older Adults Should Avoid These Foods
The study included foods such as: French fries and other snacks, frozen spaghetti and pizza, and other foods that contain preservatives. Eating over-processed foods is also linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes. This suggests that older consumers should limit these light meals and increase DHA-rich foods in their diet, as the study found significant damage to the aging brain was evident in just four weeks.
Damage to memory and cognition is faster in older people who consume fast food
The fact that we are seeing these effects so rapidly is somewhat concerning. Findings suggest eating processed foods can lead to significant and abrupt memory deficits. And in the aging population, rapid memory decline is more likely to develop into neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Knowing this, we can limit processed foods in our diet and increase consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids DHA, either to prevent or delay the progression, said Dr. Ruth Barrientos.
The results also showed that dietary DHA supplementation of processed foods consumed by older mice effectively prevented increased inflammatory response in the brain, as well as behavioral signs of memory loss.
In addition to DHA supplements, an optimal diet is important
In the context of this finding, Dr. Barrientos cautions that these effects should not be interpreted as a panacea for consumers to consume processed foods while taking DHA supplements. According to the expert, the best way to prevent multiple negative effects of over-processed foods is to focus on an improved diet in general.