- Without a strong memory, we forgot a simple thing.
- Our memory largely depends on our diet and lifestyle.
- A recent study has shown that processed food may reduce memory.
Our brain’s storage capacity is virtually unlimited. 
With age, our memory will lose its capacity. 
Evidence shows that our lifestyle and diet plays an important role in how much we lose our memory with age. 
A recent study has shown that processed food may reduce memory.
Let’s dig deep into it. 🧐
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Table of Contents
- Key Highlights
- The Study Process
- The Result of this Study
- How Processed Food May Reduce Memory?
- The Final Word
The Study Process
For this study, researchers selected male rats between three and twenty-four months of age. 🐀
Researchers divided them into three groups according to the diet provided.
First group: normal chow (32 percent calories from protein, 54 per cent from wheat-based complex carbs and 14 percent from fat).
Second group: highly-processed diet (19.6 percent of calories from protein, 63.3 percent from refined carbs — cornstarch, maltodextrin, and sucrose — and 17.1 percent from fat).
Third group: the same processed diet but supplemented with DHA, which is an Omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil, shellfish, and some seaweed.
The study diet mimicked ready-to-eat human foods that are often packaged for long shelf lives, such as potato chips and other snacks, like pasta dishes and pizzas and containing preservatives. 🍔🌭🍟🍕🥓
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The Result of this Study
After four weeks of analyzing the rats, researchers found that the ultra-processed diet activated more genes associated with a pro-inflammatory protein and other markers of inflammation in the hippocampus and amygdala in older rats.
But in young rats who consumed processed foods with DHA supplement, shown negligible effect of memory loss.
Older rats forgot having spent time in an unfamiliar space within a few days, which is a sign of problems with contextual memory in the hippocampus. 😮
They also did not display anticipatory fear behavior to a danger cue, which suggested there were abnormalities in the amygdala.
The results also showed that DHA supplementation of the processed-food diets consumed by the older rats effectively prevented the elevated inflammatory response in the brain, as well as behavioral signs of memory loss.
However, researchers don’t know the exact dosage of DHA to counteract this inflammatory effect of ultra-processed diets. 🤔
Both age groups gained a significant amount of weight on the processed diet. Weight gain is more in older rats compared to the younger ones.
DHA supplementation had no preventive effect on weight gain associated with eating highly processed foods.
“The fact we’re seeing these effects so quickly is a little bit alarming,” said senior study author Ruth Barrientos, an investigator in The Ohio State University Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioural health.
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How Processed Food May Reduce Memory?
According to the researchers, processed foods may affect the amygdala, which is responsible for memories associated with emotion.
Also, processed foods or junk foods may reduce neuroplasticity — which is essential for us to form new memories and learn new things rapidly. 
The Final Word
Although DHS supplementation prevents memory loss with a processed diet, we should avoid these foods as much as possible.
Researchers warned that don’t see these findings from one side. 🤔
So, eat a healthy and balanced diet and avoid processed foods as much as you can for your good health. 🥗
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Is processed food bad for memory?
Yes. Processed foods are bad for overall health, including memory. Several studies support this.
How processed foods affect our memory?
Evidence shows that processed foods may inflame the hippocampus and amygdala in the brain. These are responsible for learning and processing of memories.
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This article is written by a certified nutritionist and verified by scientific evidence. ☑️
We rely on reputed and specialized media sites, academic research institutions, peer-reviewed studies, government agencies, and medical associations to source information. 📰
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Following are the references of this article.
- Northwestern Medicine (NM): 11 Fun Facts About Your Brain. Accessed 16 November 2021.
- National Institute on Aging: Do Memory Problems Always Mean Alzheimer’s Disease? Accessed 16 November 2021.
- Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School): Boost your memory by eating right. Accessed 16 November 2021.
- Brain, Behavior, and Immunity: Dietary DHA prevents cognitive impairment and inflammatory gene expression in aged male rats fed a diet enriched with refined carbohydrates. Accessed 16 November 2021.
- Ohio State News (OSU): How highly processed foods harm memory in the aging brain. Accessed 16 November 2021.
- Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology: Hippocampus in health and disease: An overview. Accessed 16 November 2021.
- SimplyPsychology: Amygdala Function and Location. Accessed 16 November 2021.
- RMIT University: Five ways junk food changes your brain. Accessed 16 November 2021.
- Cell Metabolism: Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake. Accessed 16 November 2021.
- TheBMJ: Ultra-processed food intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: prospective cohort study (NutriNet-Santé). Accessed 16 November 2021.
- PubMed: Ultra-processed food consumption and type 2 diabetes incidence: A prospective cohort study. Accessed 16 November 2021.