A poor diet harms the brain

Written By Mark

A first-of-its-kind study on brain chemistry, structure and diet quality has shown that a poor-quality diet may lead to changes in the brain linked to depression and anxiety.

Brain scans of 30 people showed changes in neurotransmitters and the volume of gray matter in the brain, among those who followed a poor diet, compared to those who adhered to the Mediterranean diet, which is considered very healthy.

A poor-quality diet means one that does not contain the required nutrients, such as healthy proteins such as legumes and fish, and healthy carbohydrates such as brown bread, and includes a lot of fast food, sweets, and processed foods.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Reading, the University of Roehampton, and King’s College London.

When someone eats a poor-quality diet, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) decreases and the level of glutamate, both neurotransmitters, increases, along with a decrease in the volume of gray matter in the frontal region of the brain.

Dr Beryl Hypsomally, from the University of Reading, said: “We see that people who follow an unhealthy diet, high in sugar and saturated fat, suffer from neurological imbalance, as well as a reduced volume of gray matter in the front part of the brain, which plays a role in mental health issues. Such as depression and anxiety.

The exact reason why diet affects the brain in this way is still under investigation.

The results found a relationship between eating well and healthy, having a healthier brain and better mental health.