Maybe you’ve switched to a “healthy” diet to achieve an ideal weight. Maybe something in your body wasn’t functioning as well as it should, so you made some nutritional changes.
Did you know you could be eating foods that are harmful to your brain without even realizing it? In fact, there are seven dangerous ingredients commonly found in a large variety of foods… and most people have no idea.
Even more disturbing, some of these ingredients are also found in vitamins and supplements – yes, the very things you purchase and consume with the intent of being healthy!
The Big Seven
Seven major neurotoxins commonly found in food (as well as many supplements!):
- Artificial Sweeteners. These include aspartame (often considered the worst offender), saccharine and sucralose.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup. A low-cost sweetener used by a variety of industries, HFCS is found in everything from ketchup to crackers.
- Trans Fats & Hydrogenated Oil. The most unhealthy of the fats, trans fats should always be avoided.
- Artificial Flavorings. Look for natural flavorings or seasonings instead.
- MSG (monosodium glutamate). Frequently found in Asian cuisine and prepackaged food. This product is used to enhance the flavors in savory dishes.
- Artificial Colors. Similar to artificial flavorings, artificial colors can be found in seemingly innocuous places, including children’s vitamins.
- Preservatives. Used to extend the shelf life of processed foods, preservatives such as BHT and BHA are found not only food, but also in other products like dry cleaning solution!
Where are the Big Seven found?
Here are just a few of the foods in which you may find preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and more…
- Breakfast cereals
- Frozen dinners
- Packaged foods
- Processed foods
- Soft drinks
Even supposedly “healthy” foods can have some (even all) of the Big Seven Neurotoxins. You’ll find these toxins in some types of…
- Energy and sports drinks
- Nutrition bars, including energy bars and meal replacements
- Sauces and condiments (e.g. salad dressings, ketchup, barbecue sauce and remoulade)
- Canned fruits
- Multivitamins, vitamins, children’s vitamins, supplements and other pills and chewables used for improving health
What are the effects of the Big Seven?
Avoiding neurotoxins commonly found in your food can help your protect brain against short- and long-term issues.
A higher risk of stroke and dementia has been associated with artificial sweeteners.
High fructose corn syrup impairs the brain’s ability to learn and remember.
Trans fats may lead to inflammation in the brain, agitated mood, aggressive behavior, and decreased memory.
Artificial flavoring and color seems to exacerbate behavioral issues, especially in children with ADHD, autism, and hyperactivity.
People have varying levels of sensitivity to MSG, but those with MSG sensitivities may experience brain swelling and injury, resulting in headaches, muscle tightening, tingling, numbness and asthma.
Scary! How do I avoid the Big Seven?
It is absolutely frightening (and appalling) how prevalent these neurotoxins are. And, yes, they are permitted! So how can you avoid them? It’s not quite as hard as you might think.
- Read the labels. If you are buying something premade, prepackaged, preprocessed, in a box or a bottle… READ. THE. LABEL. Some products contain all seven of the neurotoxins! When you are seeking health-improvement products, make sure the vitamins and supplements are free of these big seven. (All BIPRI supplements are free of the Big Seven.)
- Shop the perimeter. Most grocery stores are laid out similarly. By choosing fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh seafood and meats, and fresh dairy, you are reducing the likelihood of the neurotoxins. Ask questions though! Ask the butcher or dairy manager. They may be able to provide the nutritional information you seek that you cannot see on a piece of fish.
- Shop local. Farmer’s markets and local vendors are less prone to using preservatives and artificial flavoring, coloring, or seasoning. But again…ask questions!
Take Charge of Your Brain Health
As frightening as it is to find out what is put into the food, drink and supplements we consume and feed our kids, there is good news. You are in control! You have the power to take charge of what you consume. And nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels! For more information on the Big Seven, how to avoid them, and the healthy alternatives you can choose, feel free to contact us at 888-549-5519 or open an online chat.