Memory to insulin resistance: 6 side effects of fatty foods on your brain health

Awareness about the side effects of fatty foods on brain health can go a long way in helping people to correct their dietary choices.
brain ageing
Avoid fatty foods! Your diet and brain health are connected. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr P.N. Renjen Updated: 23 Oct 2023, 12:03 pm IST
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In current times, dietary habits can affect the brain and its numerous functions. It is important for people to understand and know what to eat and how it can impact the brain, so that people can make necessary and informed changes in their dietary habits. When it comes to the right foods for brain health, the side effects of fatty foods and high-fat diet must also be known to you.

A special organ, the brain executes a number of functions in the body and ensures smooth functioning of different body parts. An important function of the brain is cognitive function which enables one to acquire knowledge, process information and solve problems – simple or complex. But intentionally or unintentionally, people affect this ability of the brain with their unhealthy dietary habits. And, this impacts their academic, social, and professional life. So, eating right foods for brain is important.

For a robust cognitive ability of the brain, people need to provide it with high-quality nutrients. But when they consume fatty foods, it causes subsequent harm to their brain, debilitating its cognitive ability.

fried and fatty foods
Fatty foods are a no-no. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here a 6 side effects of fatty foods on brain health

1. Hippocampus

Hippocampus, a complex brain structure embedded deep into temporal lobe, plays a key role in learning and memory. It plays an important role in learning and memory. With fatty foods, the hippocampus creates a neuro inflammatory response to a mild immune challenge which affects brain cells negatively and results in memory deficit.

2. Insulin resistance

Fatty foods make the brain insulin resistant. Insulin is very important for the brain. It promotes neuronal growth and protects learning ability and memory. Apart from that, it plays a critical role in maintaining energy balance and managing your body weight. Defect in insulin brings abnormal changes in circuits that connect sensory organs which result in cognitive dysfunction. It is important for people to understand that the brain must be healthy in processing and utilising insulin.

3. Oxidative stress

Dietary habits, especially the intake of fat-rich food, causes oxidative stress in the brain. The brain fights with this situation continuously, which badly affect its functions. When it affects neural functions, it causes cognitive impairment, leading to learning disabilities.

Also read: Not all fats are bad! Add these 5 healthy fat foods to your diet

brain health
A poor diet could affect your brain’s cognitive ability and memory power. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Memory

Trans fats, which are unsaturated fat, leave a detrimental impact on the brain. The naturally found trans fat such as from dairy products and meat doesn’t create any problem. But when one consumes industry-based fats, it create problems for the brain. The high intake of trans fat increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease which is a serious disease associated with the brain. In this disease, brain cells die, resulting in cognitive decline and poor performance.

5. Type-2 diabetes

One of the many side effects of fatty foods is also the fact that it increases the chance of developing type-2 diabetes. People may wonder how diabetes affects the brain. Type-2 diabetes harms the brain as it is linked with Alzheimer’s disease.

6. Cerebral vascular changes

A high-fat diet or obesity has a correlation with cerebral vascular changes. It affects the hippocampus and causes dysfunction of brain endothelial cells. This situation causes severe headache, confusion, disorientation or memory loss.

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diet for brain health
Eat foods that are good for your brain health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Importance of diet for brain health

In the current times, it has been observed that fatty foods affects the learning ability and memory power. Hence, it’s important for people to be a little bit more cautious about the food items one is consuming.

Intake of high-fat items even for a short time, can stimulate metabolic changes, disruption of neurotransmitters, and cause brain cell decay. It weakens the brain’s ability which can have a bad impact on your career.

Instead of consuming too much fatty foods, one should focus on eating a balanced diet and providing the brain with all the nutrients in required amount to promote brain functions. Excess or deficiency of specific nutrients can affect your cognitive process, emotions and behaviour.

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About the Author

Dr P.N. Renjen is an experienced neurologist who specialises in Cerebro Vascular Diseases, Stroke (Thrombolytic Therapy), Botox Therapy for Post-Stroke Spasticity, Surgical Epilepsy, DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) and Headache. He is an MBBS, DM in Neurology. He has has over 36 years of experience and is a senior consultant at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals. ...Read More

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