Teens should heed some nutritional advice and swap out the junk food for healthy fats instead—or else risk some permanent brain effects later on, according to research. Now it looks like omega-3s are particularly important during adolescence when the structure and function of the brain continues to change, according to the new research. The results come from a study in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Researchers fed mice a balanced diet until the rodents reached early adolescence. Then they switched some of the mice to a diet lacking omega-3s. Mice who got the junk food diet during adolescence had much lower levels of omega-3s in crucial centers of the brain when they reached adulthood compared to the mice eating the healthy diet. Worse, the male mice who missed out on omega-3s had increased anxiety-like behaviors and worse performance on a memory tasks.
Let’s be honest, getting a teen to completely cut out junk food is impossible. But you can help give their brain a boost by ensuring they get enough omega-3 foods.