The hidden harm of ultra processed foods

by Andy Welch
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The Hidden Harm: Unveiling How Ultra-Processed Foods Assault Our Mind and Body

SRSLYs insights and reflections on a groundbreaking Zoe Podcast.

Hey there, SRSLY Family!

I recently tuned into an episode of the Zoe Podcast that really resonated with me, and I think it will with you too. The host, Jonathan Wolf, had a heartwarming chat with Felice Jacka, a pioneer in nutritional psychiatry. They delved into something we care deeply about here at SRSLY – the profound connection between what we eat and how we feel, both mentally and physically.

The talk was a real validation about the impact of ultra-processed foods on our health. It's not just about weight or blood sugars or even heart health; it's also about our brain and mood. The discussion highlighted how these foods, often high in artificial stuff and low in nutrients, can mess with our gut health and, in turn, our brain function. But here's the hopeful part – our bodies are incredibly adaptable. Changing what we eat today can actually help reverse some of the negative effects of a not-so-great diet. This conversation left me thinking about how we, as a community, can make better food choices, not just for our physical health but for our mental well-being too.

Picture: Profile image of Andy Welch Founder and CEO of SRSLY Ltd. Writer of this blog

The Personal Impact of Ultra-Processed Foods on Mental Health

In our busy lives, it's easy to reach for ultra-processed foods. They're quick, convenient, and let's face it, often delicious. But have you ever stopped to think about how these foods might be affecting not just your body, but your mind too? Recent discussions, like those from the Zoe Podcast with Felice Jacka, are opening our eyes to the deeper impacts these foods have on our mental well-being.

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Think about your brain for a moment, particularly a small part called the hippocampus. It's like the control center for learning, memory, and managing our emotions. Surprisingly, what we eat can change its size and function. Diets high in ultra-processed foods can shrink this vital area, leading to memory troubles and even affecting our mood and emotions. But here's the hopeful part – our diet can also help this area grow and heal. It's never too late to start making changes.

Feeling Tired All the Time? Your Diet Could Be a Culprit

Do you often feel mentally exhausted, even when you haven't done much? It could be down to those quick food choices. Foods high in sugars and simple carbs can mess with your blood sugar levels, leading to mood swings and that frustrating feeling of tiredness that just won't go away. It's like riding a rollercoaster, except it's not fun at all.

Your Gut Feeling is Real

There's a fascinating conversation happening between your gut and your brain. When your diet is full of ultra-processed foods, it's like this conversation gets disrupted. These foods don't support the good bacteria in your gut, which are essential for creating mood-regulating neurotransmitters. It's like cutting off a vital chat line between your gut and brain, leading to feelings of depression or anxiety

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From Cradle to Golden Years

This isn't just about us adults. The food choices we make impact everyone, from little ones to the elderly. Kids' diets rich in processed foods can lead to attention and learning difficulties. For expectant mothers, your diet can even influence your baby's future mental health. And as we age, a good diet can be a shield against cognitive decline and dementia.

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A Message of Hope

Here's the good news – our brains are incredibly adaptable. By choosing whole, unprocessed foods, you can start to see improvements in your mood and mental clarity in just a few weeks. It's like giving your brain a breath of fresh air.In wrapping up, while we all love the convenience of processed foods, it's clear they come with a cost to our mental health. But remember, it's never too late to make a change. Each meal is a new opportunity to nourish not just your body, but also your mind. Let's make choices that keep both happy and healthy.

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By choosing high-quality proteins and healthy fats over processed sugars and unhealthy fats, we're not just filling our stomachs; we're feeding our brains. We're here to help you make choices that support a healthier gut microbiome, crucial for overall well-being.

Enjoy the full and rewarding podcast at Zoe: Science and Nutrition, The shocking way ultra-processed foods damage your brain 

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