Memory loss and learning problems
Poor diet, especially when consuming high-fat, high-sugar food can cause inflammation in the hippocampus which is a part of the brain responsible for memory, learning, emotion, and motivation. Damage to the hippocampus can trigger learning problems and impaired memory. If not given attention immediately, this might increase your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
A paper from Manchester Metropolitan’s Centre for Bioscience found that consumption of food which is high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and carbohydrate increases your risk of depression by 40%, as these foods cause inflammation in the brain.
Negative effects on growth and development
Junk food lacks all the essential nutrients the body needs to function and develop. When diet is comprised of discretionary choices, this might hinder growth and development. Children are at most risk of this negative effect as their bodies and organs are still growing and developing.
In the Philippines, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), one out of three Filipino children under the age of five is stunted or have not grown based on their age. The other 7% percent are too thin for their height, and a tenth of Filipino adolescents are overweight. These are due to nutrient deficiency and other factors.
Healthier alternatives to junk food
Being aware of how eating too much junk food can cause health problems will urge you to gear towards healthier food choices or alternatives. Some of the healthier alternatives you can much on instead of junk food are as follow:
- Baked or air fried veggies instead of french fries. Bake or air fry carrots or sweet potatoes, and other healthier veggies when you are craving for french fries. You can get a better variety of nutrients from these veggies rather than frying a potato.
- Try sparkling water or other healthier drink in place of sweet carbonated drinks. Cold carbonated soda quenches your thirst, especially on a hot day. However, the sugar content of these drinks isn’t the healthiest. That is why, it is best to grab some sparkling water, infused with some fresh fruits, instead of gulping a can of soda. On the other, you can also have some freshly squeezed fruit juice or make a smoothie, if you are looking for something sweet.
- If you want a pizza, try making one at home. When you make your pizza at home, you can control whatever ingredients you want to put in. Instead of just having a slice of cheese pizza, you can make a healthier alternative at home. One sample recipe is using fresh tomato sauce, basil, baby tomatoes, a little bit of cheese, and a dash of olive oil. If you are concerned about the dough, you can purchase a ready-made one at the grocery.
- Use other lean meats or mushrooms when making a hamburger. As a substitute for buying a double cheeseburger, which is rich in saturated fat and cholesterol, build your burger at home using lean proteins such as chicken or turkey. You can also take it up a notch by using mushrooms as your patty, they sure taste like meat, but nutritious.
- Munch on some healthier chips or nuts rather than your regular potato chips. There are a lot of potato chip alternatives in the market. You can find kale chips, malunggay (moringa) chips, banana chips, and a lot more. Nuts are also a great substitute for potato chips if you’re just looking for something to snack on.
- Go for fresh fruits rather than sweet treats. If you have a sweet tooth, your day won’t be complete without sweet treats. Rather than eating candies, cakes, and other sugary sweets, start getting used to having fresh fruits, which are rich in nutritional benefits, to satisfy your cravings.
There are a lot of healthier food choices you can choose from, instead of just settling for something that will eventually give you a heart attack. All you need to do is research or experiment at home, so you can find your new favorites and completely eradicate junk food from your diet.
Eating junk food gives us pleasure, especially when times get rough, all you need to have is a cheeseburger. However, you cannot immediately feel the effects of the food you just ate, so you keep on eating it. When you do so, your body will slowly suffer from the consequences of your poor diet.
To prevent this from happening, always prioritize healthy food choices when you go shop for food. As much as possible, try making your food at home to make sure that you only put the freshest and healthiest ingredients in your meal. Start small, and be adventurous with your food options as you go along.
Learn more about Healthy Eating here.
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