Why Health Weight Loss is Important for Brain Health

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Health Weight Loss is Important for Brain Health

Healthy body, healthy mind. There’s no denying an intimate link between feeling great and feeling great, between treating your body well and reaping the rewards for a calmer, more serene, and simply better mental life.

Did you know that according to the World Health Organization, nearly 1 billion people globally suffer from a mental disorder in any given year [Mental Health]? Taking care of both your physical and mental health is crucial for your overall well-being.

But how do you get there?

When it comes to losing weight, the world is awash with fad diets that promise to transform your bodily and mental experience. However, these fad diets often lack essential nutrients and can even lead to eating disorders.

Maybe you think you should be boosting your metabolism with a sirtfood diet ladened with red wine, dark chocolate, and citrus fruits? Or jumping on the keto train of low-carb, high-fat wonder foods that burn fat, not fuel? Or even opt for a potato-only diet (yes, really) to pack your diet with fiber and potassium?

It might be no surprise that many of the trendiest fad diets have already been widely debunked.

Whatever the latest craze you’ve heard about might be, if you really want to feel the difference, you need to really understand the impact your diet can have on your brain and opt for an expert-backed-diet that will really make an impact as well as understand the potential risks of any diet.

Dieticians recommend following evidence-based diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, such as the Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet.

Weight loss can improve your cognitive functions

Being overweight is bad for pretty much every organ in your body and your brain is no different.

While weight loss can be a benefit, creating healthy habits for long-term well-being is even more important. Eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and managing stress are all crucial for maintaining a healthy weight and improving cognitive function.

When you are overweight your brain metabolizes sugars more quickly, and this can limit your cognitive function. One recent study found that after bariatric surgery to help with weight loss, subjects performed higher in executive function and other areas.

This means losing weight could make you better at organizing your day – and even your life – and help you to chart a course to a more peaceful existence.

These days, bariatric surgery isn’t the only option. There are now several prescription weight loss medication programs that can have similar impacts on weight loss without needing to go under the knife.

Weight loss can protect you from brain disease

If you ever needed evidence of the link between bodily health and brain health, look no further. Obese men and women are 35% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared to those of average weight.

It has been suggested that body fat increases the number of proteins in the brain, triggering a chain of events that can prime an individual for the disease.

Other studies have suggested that a substance released by fat cells – interleukin 1 – can cause severe inflammation and block up essential pathways in the brain.

Sticking to a weight loss plan backed by an expert can help keep your brain working as it should for longer.

Taking care of your mental health goes beyond weight loss. Stress-management techniques like meditation or yoga, getting enough sleep, and building strong social connections can all significantly improve your mental well-being and contribute to a healthier lifestyle.

Managing your weight can fend off depression

Putting on weight can lead to insulin resistance, and it has been suggested that this leads to inflammation and oxidative stress due to how it increases the fatty acids in the body.

While the causes of depression are myriad, and much work is still to be done to understand this insidious disease, inflammation is increasingly being pointed to as a cause.

Belly fat specifically has been linked to the production of hormones that cause stress and have an adverse effect on brain functions.

The connection goes both ways

While your proactive approach to weight loss will inevitably positively impact your brain, taking care of what goes on between your ears will also help your body.

Studies have shown good mental health can help weight loss. So, working to ensure you have a healthy mental life can be a vital first step in starting your journey to a healthier physical life.

In an age where both psychiatric and physiological understanding has advanced so significantly, the idea that bodily and mental health are somehow separated is no longer feasible.

Addressing issues with one inevitably means addressing issues with the other. Ideally, we can take action before any problems need addressing and instead work towards a healthy physical and mental life for the sake of our bodies and our minds.

If you’re looking for personalized guidance on diet and overall health, consult a doctor or registered dietitian. They can help you create a sustainable plan that nourishes both your body and mind.

Trusted Sources:

  1. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-disorders
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5192537/