By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 08:28, 26 June 2020
We all know that sugar isn’t good for us, as much as we try to tell ourselves otherwise! However, studies have shown that sugar can actually have a negative impact on the brain, causing issues to your memory, mood and mental capacity.
Nevertheless, we are born with a sweet tooth, which can make avoiding those sugary snacks nearly impossible! The UK’s Leading Nutritionist and author of Natural Alternatives to Dieting, Dr. Marilyn Glenville (www.marilynglenville.com) has some easy and simple alternatives to help you combat those cravings and keep your brain healthy and happy! The M&M’s need some attention, and no – not those kind of M&M’s!
M E M O R Y
Excess sugar is very harmful, and even a slight lift in glucose levels in the bloodstream can be harmful to the brain, which can result in deficits in memory and slow cognitive function. So, it’s time to swap those sugary cherry drops for some naturally sweet dried fruit.
Raisins and dates are great to fight off your sugar fix, and if you are into your cakes and tasty bakes, add raisins or sultanas to make a pie or crumble that little bit sweeter. Spices like cinnamon and vanilla also add lots of sweetness and flavour, allowing you to reduce the amount of other sweeteners in a recipe or remove it altogether.
Research has also found that reducing sugar consumption and supplementing with Omega-3 fatty acids improves working memory.
Try the Natural Health Practice Omega 3 Support, RRP £29.77 available at naturalhealthpractice.com.
M O O D
Sugar massively affects mood. According to a brain imaging study in healthy young people, the ability to process emotion is compromised with elevated blood glucose.
Another study found that people with type-2 diabetes reported increased feelings of sadness and anxiety during periods of elevated blood sugar. So, in order to help boost your mood and keep it stable, make sure that you are aware of what you are eating. You may be shocked to find that so many foods contain sugar, not just the sweet and obvious ones.
There is sugar in soups, tomato sauces, mayonnaise, salad dressings and even baked beans. Instead of relying on pre-made sauces, try making your own – this way you can control the amount of sugar or even swap it out completely. Carrot and beetroot are naturally sweet vegetables; so instead of relying on salad dressings and side dishes like baked beans, use the sweet veggies instead!
M E N T A L C A P A C I T Y
Elevated blood glucose harms blood vessels, and this can be a major cause for vascular complications such as diabetes. According to studies, frequent exposure to high glucose levels diminishes mental capacity, as higher HbA1c levels have been associated with a greater degree of brain shrinkage.
Additional research also shows that a diet high in sugar reduces the production of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), a brain chemical which is essential for new memory formation and learning. It’s time to ditch the sugar and fuel yourself with healthy alternatives.
Use fruits and vegetables in dishes and don’t be afraid of adding lots together. As your taste buds grow accustomed to doing without the very powerful taste of refined sugar, you will come to appreciate the natural sweetness of vegetables and fruits – and even better, your health will thank you for it.