TAG | Sugar Diet
It is no secret that sugar is unhealthy. From high blood sugar to diabetes and heart disease, a diet high in sugar has far-reaching effects. But did you know that sugar is also bad for your brain? A recent study published in the Journal of Physiology found an interesting connection between a diet low in omega-3s and high in the sugar fructose, and poor memory and brain function. The researchers stated, “Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information. But adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimize the damage.”
In the animal study, one group was fed a diet low in omega-3 fatty acids, and another group was fed a diet high in omega-3s from flaxseed and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The omega-3 deficient animals were found to have poor memory function when compared to those fed a diet rich in omega-3s. The negative effects of a low omega-3 diet were exacerbated when high amounts of fructose were added to the diet. In the group receiving sufficient omega-3s, however, a high fructose diet did not have the same negative effects on memory and neuron function, suggesting that omega-3s have a protective effect against the brain dysfunction caused by a high fructose diet.
It is well known that a high sugar diet increases blood sugar and insulin resistance in the bloodstream. This is the hallmark of the metabolic syndrome, an increasingly common condition that precedes type 2 diabetes. This study suggests that not only can a high sugar diet have effects in the bloodstream, but that it can also have similar effects in the brain. The study found disrupted insulin receptor signaling in the hippocampus, an area of the brain associated with memory function. Insulin and fructose are both known to cross the blood-brain barrier, where they can interrupt neuron function.
The findings of this study are not surprising. In fact, Alzheimer’s disease is also known as type 3 diabetes. The fact is, the amount of sugar—and even carbohydrates, for that matter—in the Standard American Diet (SAD) is alarmingly high. ReNew Life founder Brenda Watson will be debuting a new PBS show in the fall on this very topic. The show, called The Heart of Perfect Health will air nationwide in November. Stay tuned to our blog for more information on show times.
Ah, the dreaded vaginal yeast infection. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 75 percent of all women will have one at some point during their lives, and nearly half of those women will have two or more. But what causes this most uncomfortable of conditions? The answer may surprise you.
The majority of all vaginal yeast infections are caused by a microscopic yeast organism called Candida albicans. Although naturally present in a healthy vagina, Candida albicans can cause problems when certain factors—such as stress, antibiotic use, a high-sugar diet, illness and hormonal changes—upset the healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the vagina and allow the opportunistic yeast to grow out of control. When that happens, it can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as itching and irritation, vaginal discharge, painful urination, and more.
Because Candida albicans thrives on sugary, processed foods, preventing vaginal yeast overgrowth begins with following a healthy, low-sugar diet. Increasing your fiber intake through foods and natural fiber supplements is also recommended, as fiber helps to nourish the beneficial vaginal bacteria (called probiotics) that work to crowd out harmful yeast organisms. Finally, taking a daily probiotic supplement with a high Lactobacilli count can help maintain a balanced internal environment, since Lactobacilli are the most prevalent good bacteria in a healthy vagina and urinary tract.
Want to learn more about controlling yeast overgrowth naturally? Get advice from natural health expert Brenda Watson!