We spend hours caring for our skin, hair, hands, and even feet, but how much do we care about our brain? Sitting at the pinnacle of the most important organs in our body, our brain is associated with all our sensory and motor functions. But everyday chemicals can have toxic effects on the brain and affect its normal function. Such neurotoxins form a part of our day-to-day life without us realizing it.

While the blood-brain barrier is able to filter out most chemicals and prevent their entry in the brain, these five offenders are powerful enough to cross it. The biggest danger is the damage they can cause to your brain, although the good news is that you can avoid them. Here’s what you need to look out for.

1. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
This concentrated salt makes its way into our system through a wide variety of foodstuff. Mostly added to enhance the flavor of protein-containing foods, MSG easily escapes the blood brain barrier and enters the brain. Excessive consumption of MSG is associated with severe headaches, tightness in the chest and a burning sensation in the forearms and neck.
Tips To Deal With It: Avoid all food products containing MSG, present in some sauces, instant soups and noodles. Make it a habit to read the food label before making a purchase in order to be informed.

2. Nitrite & Nitrate
These crystalline water-soluble salts are mainly used to preserve meat. Once inside the body, they can react with other substances to form nitrosamines, which are powerful cancer-causing compounds. They can cause cognition defects and make you slow and lethargic.
Tips To Deal With It: Avoid processed or preserved meat. Instead, go for nitrite-free meat. Don’t forget to read the food labels before buying processed meat.

3. Artificial Sweeteners
They are liberally added to diet sodas, chewing gums, yogurt, sauces, cereals and the entire range of sugar-free products. The most common offender amongst the artificial sweeteners is aspartame, which is not only carcinogenic but also can result in anxiety attacks, migraines and mental retardation in children. (Related Article: Pros & Cons: Artificial Sweeteners)
Tips To Deal With It: Avoid products containing artificial sweeteners by going through their labels.

4. Toluene
A common industrial solvent, toluene forms an integral part of various household products like paint, glue, printing ink, disinfectants, and even nail polish remover. Toluene can cause developmental problems with speech and motor function in fetuses. High doses can also result in nervous and kidney problems.
Tips To Deal With It: The most common way to prevent and reduce exposure is taking extra precautions when using anything with fumes. If you must use these chemicals, do it in well ventilated areas.

5. Fluoride
While low levels of fluoride are already present in drinking water, most public systems add it to the local drinking supply to prevent tooth decay. A meta review of about 27 studies showed that fluoride can result in lower IQs. It can also cause damage to fetal brain and lead to memory and learning impairment. (Related Article: Green Living Q&A: How Dangerous Is Fluoride For Your Health?)
Tips To Deal With It: The added fluoride can be easily removed from your water. Install a good water filtration system that can rid your water of any residual or added fluoride.

Read More:
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