Do you know that the annual fast food revenue is $110 billion and 50 million Americans eat fast food every day? Since fast food has invaded our lives, we have started relying on the quick bite to save time and indulge in the juicy hamburger, and all those fries are always tempting and irresistible. However, this comes at a massive cost. Fast food not only increases your waistline, but it also creates havoc in your body. Fast food is loaded with carbohydrates and lacks fiber. Our body converts the carbs into glucose, which increases blood sugar and leads to diabetes. Obesity is yet another issue caused by fast food, which creates multiple problems such as heart diseases.
The impact of junk food on the brain
The toxins that we consume every day have a profound effect on our brain health. Research shows that people who have fast food are 51 percent more likely to develop depression than those who don’t. Junk food also shrinks the hippocampus, the part that is responsible for memory. A study conducted by the researchers at the Deakin University and the Australian National University (ANU) shows that older people who consume junk food have a smaller hippocampus. “It is becoming even clearer that diet is critically important to mental as well as physical health throughout life,” Associate Professor Jacka said.
Our brains also get addicted to sugar. Sugar activates the chemical receptors in our brain that lead to addiction. Scans show that neural activity while eating sugar is like that of an addict. Sugar activates dopamine, the hormone that gives feelings of reward and pleasure. Sugar also causes ‘brain fog,’ a term that is used to describe episodes of mental confusion. It creates free radicals that stop the neurons from communicating properly.
What is a detox diet?
The reason behind showing you the horrors of consuming fast food is so that it is easier to convince you to choose otherwise. We know it is easy to give in to cravings, but in the end, you are what you eat. Doctors and athletes have long tried to persuade us of the benefits of having a well-balanced diet. A proper food not only keeps us healthy and active physically but mentally as well; there is a direct link between mental and physical health.
Recently, many celebrities have been promoting and endorsing the idea of consuming detox diet, which has increased its fan following. The idea behind detox diet is that every day we consume so many toxins in the form of junk food, smoking, pollution, alcohol, and caffeine. A detox diet supports our body in getting rid of them. People also adopt detox diet as a quick fix for weight loss.
There are different forms of detox diets; some involve the consumption of healthy liquids, while others focus more on fruits and vegetables. However, the underlying principles behind all of them are the same: you have to cut down on junk food and focus on organic foods that provide vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients. The food should have a high content of water and fiber.
How detox diet helps your mind?
While detox diet has some apparent advantages regarding promoting a healthy weight, it also has numerous benefits for your mind.
Your brain essentially communicates with your body through neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are made from amino acids that are produced by the liver. The food we intake does not provide these amino acids directly. The liver is responsible for clearing our body of all the toxins. When the body cannot get rid of these toxins, out livers suffers greatly. Hence, we must ensure that our liver is functioning at an optimum level to produce these amino acids.
A detox diet is also healthy for the heart, and whatever is right for your heart is also beneficial for your brain. A robust cardiovascular system reduces the chances of having a stroke. Stroke is one of the factors behind vascular dementia. Vascular dementia symptoms include confusion, memory loss, and difficulty in thinking. The symptoms vary depending upon the intensity of the stroke.
Our brain is 60 percent fat. Yes, that is true and hence fueling your mind with fats is a healthy practice. However, the issue is that you need to feed your brain with good fats that are unfortunately not found in fast food. Healthy fats ketosis, a process that encourages a brain’s healthy development, provides energy and protects against mental diseases. A diet rich with monosaturated fats also promotes the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for learning and memory.
Research shows that good fats such as Omega 3 decrease the chances of depression. Omega 3 fat DHA is also proven to help in brain functions such as memory and speaking. Our bodies are unable to produce these on their own. Hence it is necessary to include them in our diet. Foods with good fats include avocados. This green superfood is rich in monosaturated fats and increases the blood flow to your brain, keeping it active. Nuts such as almonds and walnuts have vitamin E which protects your brain from cognitive decline. Coconut oil contains Medium Chain Triglycerides that covers up for fat loss and regenerates nerve function.
Some medical professionals believe that there is no such thing as detoxifying your body; only diet and exercise can keep you healthy. According to Edzard Ernst, an emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, “ If our bodies were incapable of detoxifying on its own, we would already be dead. We have our kidneys, lungs, and skin to get rid of the toxins.”
There are various types of detox diets. Some are quite extreme as they only rely on juices and intermittent fasting. There is no conclusive evidence that these diets flush out toxins from your body. Hence, before adopting any extreme form of it, consult your physician about what is best for you. The ideal way is to maintain a well-balanced diet and keep yourself active.