Eating these foods can lead to anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline, as per scientists

Not only is processed food bad for the body, but it can have profound negative consequences on your mood and mental health.

ultra processed food, anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline
© Karolina Grabowska
ultra processed food, anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline

The effect of food and nutrition on one's mental health is increasingly being discussed. On one hand, scientists have informed us about the gut-mind connection, while on the other researchers have found surprising link between your groceries and dementia.

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Eating ultra-processed foods like chips and soda have already been proven to be terrible for your body. And now, as reported by National Geographic, many studies has turned up evidence that these foods might also be terrible for your brain, and mental health.

Ultra-processed foods linked to brain health

National Geographic reports that several studies have independently proven how highly-processed foods are bad for the brain. In one study, scientists found that diets that consisted of these foods led to 44% greater risk of depression and a 48% higher risk of anxiety.

A different study conducted in the UK, that tracked half a million people, found that every 10% increase in the intake of ultra-processed food can increase the risk of having dementia by 25%.

A lot still remains to be explored on the connection between diet and mental health Igor Ovsyannykov

While the exact connection between diet and brain health has not been determined, the evidence of the connection between ultra-processed food and the brain is too conspicuous to ignore.

Melissa M. Lane, post-doctoral research fellow at Deakin University’s School of Medicine, in Geelong, Australia, who works on the subject told National Geographic,

While the exact cause-and-effect relationship is still unknown, the strongest observational evidence from prospective studies leans towards the idea that eating high amounts of ultra-processed foods increases the risk of depression onset in the future

How ultra-processed food impacts emotions

Food categorised as ultra-processed are high in fat, sugar and salt, often with enhanced flavouring, additives and artificial sweeteners. Popular ultra-processed foods include soda, candy, cookies, cake, energy bars, packaged breads and cereals, frozen meals etc.

As the report states, eating too much salt, sugar, and/or saturated fat has been linked to chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. But they also increase the risk for vascular dementia.

Along with this, artificial additives to food have been found to affect how the body releases chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which determine our emotions and mental well-being.

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Sources used:

National Geographic: ' Ultra-processed food isn't just bad for your health—it messes with your mind'

This sinister symptom of anxiety can destroy your body This sinister symptom of anxiety can destroy your body