Mind and Body

4 foods that are bad for your brain and body

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Watching what you eat can have a profound impact on health, but knowing which foods to cut out first can be a challenge.

Here are 4 of the worst foods for your body and your brain.

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4. Salt

Eating too much salt can increase blood pressure and lead to heart disease and stroke — no matter how good your seasoning technique may be.

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A 2019 global report found that high salt consumption was linked to 3 million deaths in 2017 — half of all diet-related deaths.

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In East Asian countries, where typical dishes can include of salty sauces, sodium is the top diet-related risk factor for health.

3. Poor quality carbohydrates

Eating carbs with a high glycemic index (those that raise blood sugar the most) can increase risk of heart attack and stroke.

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Researchers from MacMaster University in Canada found that high glycemic-index foods like white bread, rice, and potatoes can raise heart attack and stroke risk by 20–50 percent.

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Carbs from low glycemic-index foods like fruits, veggies, and beans don't carry the same risks, and can be beneficial for health.

2. Sugar

It should be no surprise that sugar is one of the worst foods for your health, linked to heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and depression.

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Researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center found sugar can also harm the gut microbiome, raising the risk of bowel diseases.

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Fructose, a common added sugar, can cause immune-system inflammation, according to researchers from Swansea University.

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There's even evidence that sugar affects the brain similarly to addictive drugs, like cocaine.

1. Ultra-processed foods

Highly processed foods — made with a long list of additives — combine the risks of salt, sugar, bad carbs, and more.

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Foods like soft drinks, pastries, and frozen meals can raise the risk of death by 26 percent and double cardiovascular risk, according to the Moli-sani Study research group.

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Researchers from the National Institute of Health found that people tend to eat more than 500 additional calories per meal when eating processed foods.

Read more stories on food here.

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