Do you want to improve focus, memory, and overall cognition as you age? In order to do that, it’s time to stop robbing your brain of the nutrients it needs. You can think sharp and boost brain function by eating leafy greens, whole grains, berries, nuts, seeds, beans, and olive oil. Instead of eating foods that nourish the brain, a high percentage of American adults tend to consume more unhealthy foods that sap their smarts.
Some foods negatively impact the brain, increasing the risk of mood swings, impairing memories, and accelerating dementia. Experts estimate that about 65 million people worldwide will be affected by dementia by the year 2030. That’s only nine years away, people, but it doesn’t have to be the reality. There are many foods that can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. You can click here to learn more about foods that boost brain health, but continue reading to learn about the foods negatively affect the brain.
Despite how trendy it is, fake meat is one of the worst foods for your brain, according to several dietitians. There isn’t a lot of data to support this claim, but the reason it’s in this article is because plant-based meats encourage the consumption of highly-processed foods. Fake meats undergo serious manufacturing and contain numerous processed ingredients. Even fast-food restaurants serve these options, encouraging fried food consumption. If you want to eat less meat, simply focus on real vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Don’t resort to foods that people make in a lab.
Highly Processed Foods
To the point above, eating foods that are highly processed increases your consumption of sugar, salt, and added fats. Chips, instant noodles, ready-made meals, sweets, and store bought sauces fall into this category. One study found that people with larger amounts of visceral fat around their organs had a higher risk of brain damage. A different study observed a significant decrease in brain tissue in people going through the early stages of metabolic syndrome. Consuming highly processed foods exposes the body to unhealthy ingredients that can lower sugar metabolism and memory scores, according to several studies.
Sugar-sweetened drinks include sweet tea, energy drinks, diet drinks, or any beverage with high fructose corn syrup. Drinking a lot of sugary beverages can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, which can increase Alzheimer’s development. Several animal studies found that high fructose intake leads to insulin resistance in the brain. Additionally, high fructose intake can reduce overall brain function, which impairs memory and the formation of brain neurons. Drinking sugar beverages can also lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood fats. All of these aspects heighten the risk of metabolic syndrome, which increases the chances of developing dementia.
A 2019 study observed over 3,000 adults over the age of 72. The researchers noticed that people who drank more than 14 alcoholic beverages per week experienced mild cognitive impairment. Those same participants were also 72% more likely to progress to dementia than participants who had one drink or less per week. Some studies found that light drinking may be cognitively protective over time, but the key is the amount that a person drinks. The type of alcohol and what it’s mixed with also influences cognitive function or decline.
Fish High In Mercury
Mercury is a neurological poison and heavy metal contaminant that animal tissues can store for a long time. Predatory fish tend to have the highest mercury concentration, carrying over one million times the concentration of their surrounding water. Fish that contain high levels of mercury include shark, swordfish, orange roughy, and ling. It does exist in other fish, but those species have the highest levels. Ingesting a lot of mercury can negatively affect the brain, liver, kidneys, and more. Mercury toxicity can disrupt the function of the central nervous system and neurotransmitters, increasing the risk of neurotoxicity and brain damage. Wild caught fish contain beneficial nutrients, including iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin B12. Eating two to three servings a week can be beneficial, but steer clear of those high-mercury fish we mentioned.