Healthy Foods Lead to a Healthy Brain
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The life of a teenager is a constant race: work, school, practice, homework, maybe a few hours of sleep, but where does food fit in this busy schedule. For an average high school student food tends to be on the go, a second thought once they are busy doing something else. Normally junk food, or foods loaded with sugar and processed beyond believe are the number one choice for a busy teen due to the ease and convenience. However, juveniles should make the change to health alternatives for their meals. If students desire to succeed in school and extracurricular activities while maintaining a normal energy level a switch in foods is needed. In recent years many studies have been done showing that organic, healthy, and unprocessed foods lead to a healthier, more developed and smarter brain. Students need to make the change from processed foods to healthy foods in order to thrive in life.
The healthier a person eats the more likely their mood is to be better. Mood is greatly affected by the fuel a person puts into their body. A study done by Harvard Medical School in 2015 gives insight into how the more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants put into the body the better the mood will be “Other studies have compared “traditional” diets, like the Mediterranean diet and the traditional Japanese diet, to a typical “Western” diet and have shown that the risk of depression is 25% to 35% lower in those who eat a traditional diet. Scientists account for this difference because these traditional diets tend to be high in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, and fish and seafood, and to contain only modest amounts of lean meats and dairy. They are also void of processed and refined foods and sugars, which are staples of the “Western” dietary pattern” Selhub 1). Just by altering a diet the mood of the person drastically changes over time. This is because the Mediterranean and traditional Japanese diet contain less sugar and processed items that the body has trouble breaking down. According to Harvard’s Medical School, when the body struggles to break down food items the neurons lining the gastrointestinal tract react negatively resulting in an upset or depressed mood. Therefore, eating organic and natural foods leads to a happier and healthier mood more frequently.
Eating less processed foods also result in a better learning ability. For students with hectic schedules everything they can do towards bettering their education helps. Stuart Wolpert a writer for UCLA newsroom explains throughout his article how healthy foods and the proper supplements contribute to your overall brain and body function. While eating healthy foods the body receives the proper nutrition it needs to nurture the brain “ Folate supplementation, either by itself or in conjunction with other B vitamins, has been shown to be effective in preventing cognitive decline and dementia during aging and enhancing the effects of antidepressants” (Wolpert 1). To better the brain and keep it from deterioration in old age should always be the goal and if by adding a supplement to the everyday diet is what is needed to improve this, that is what needs to be done. By switching out a few processed foods and adding in new nutritious foods filled with vitamins and antioxidants students can further improve their learning abilities “Omega-3 fatty acids — found in salmon, walnuts and kiwi fruit — provide many benefits, including improving learning and memory and helping to fight against such mental disorders…” (Wolpert 1). Students must take care of their bodies in order to take care of their mind and eating delicious tasting superfoods will help them achieve this. The saying “you are what you eat” holds a great amount of truth to it; the foods put into your body will in turn result in the performance of your body “Put simply, what you eat directly affects the structure and function of your brain” (Selhub 1). The better a person eats the better their brain will respond. By eating more nutritious foods the brain is getting the energy it needs to perform better in every way.
However, some people might argue that healthy foods are not worth eating and are overrated. Many people will argue that by eating healthy foods you are depriving yourself of other essential things. Zoë Harcombe a nutritionist believes that eating fruit is overrated. This is due to the fact that fruit is primarily sugar “Most fruit has no essential fats, and none are a complete source of protein. Meat, fish, eggs, seeds, and vegetables beat fruit to a pulp in any nutritional contest” (Harcombe). A person cannot rely solely on one healthy food item to make the switch, instead a whole diet change needs to occur. Therefore, while Ms. Harcombe is technically not incorrect she is not looking at the whole picture.
As a student who cares for your body, make the switch from processed foods to a clean diet for two to three weeks and see if their is an improvement in the body. After the first week all the toxins will have cleared out of the body and changes to the brain and body will begin to occur. As a teenager it is important to nourish your growing body and provide it with the proper supplements it needs to thrive. With such busy schedules it is imperative to get the proper nutrients the brain needs to improve.
Joe. “Today’s Most Overrated Health Foods: 19 Nutrition Experts Weigh In.” DIET vs DISEASE, 25 Nov. 2016, www.dietvsdisease.org/most-overrated-health-foods-19-nutrition-experts-weigh-in/.
Selhub MD, Eva. “Nutritional Psychiatry: Your Brain on Food.” Harvard Health Blog, 17 Nov. 2015, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626.
Munoz, Kissairis. “15 Brain Foods To Boost Focus and Memory.” Dr. Axe, 12 Sept. 2017, draxe.com/15-brain-foods-to-boost-focus-and-memory/.
Wolpert, Stuart. “Scientists Learn How What You Eat Affects Your Brain – and Those of Your Kids.” UCLA Newsroom, 9 July 2008, newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/scientists-learn-how-food-affects-52668.