Some of the Worst Foods for Brain Health
When it comes to unhealthy eating we relate a bad diet to obesity and heart health. We forget that it also has a major impact on our brains. What we choose to eat and how we balance our lifestyles has a huge effect on the health and longevity of our brains.
While our body ages and we might not have control over our physical ailments we can take steps for brain health, potentially limiting our change of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Added Sugar
- Most added sugar is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), but can still be in the form of granulated sugar found in our favorite sweet treats. Too much sugar in any form is not good for the brain. Large amounts of sugar can cause inflammation in our hippocampus, which is the center for our short-term and long-term memory. This is typically the first area of the brain to suffer at the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Partially Hydrogenated Oils
- These oils are trans fats, a fake fat created by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oil making them more solid. Like HFCS, trans fats are hiding in so many foods: margarine, baked goods, fried foods, and many unnatural processed foods. Diets high in trans fats increase beta-amyloid, the plaque that builds up and leads to Alzheimer’s.
- Saturated Fats
- Similar to trans fats, consuming too much saturated fat can aid the plaque build-up that leads to Alzheimer’s. Saturated fats can also get in the way of your brain's ability to form new memory. Those with a high fat diet are also prone to damaging their hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that controls eating habits and body-weight regulation.
- Processed foods
- Not only are the foods we find convenient full of trans fats and sugar, they are also high in sodium. Processed foods are more or less developed in laboratories. A lot of salt is added to them to enhance flavor and preserve them (along with other harmful preservatives). While we need salt to survive we do not need it in large quantities. Sodium raises blood pressure, which is associated with cognitive decline. Developing Type II Diabetes, caused by high blood pressure and high glucose levels, is a huge risk for also developing Alzheimer’s.
- Fish high in mercury
- Mercury is a poison and it can do a lot of damage to our whole body, including the brain. Mercury does affect cognition, but more so its damage is neurological, meaning it affects the part of the brain that controls balance, coordination and vision. Your brain begins to lose its ability to communicate with other functions. Follow this link to learn more about which fish you should avoid.
In conclusion, if you would like to do everything you can to limit cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s Disease then consider altering your lifestyle to exclude these foods (in abundance). Instead of foods like red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food, incorporate more foods like leafy green vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, poultry, olive oil, and wine. Change isn’t easy and there are professionals to help. Get started taking care of your brain today!