A healthy diet is a must for the proper functioning of your most vital organ, brain. The brain is the important component that keeps your heart, lungs and other body systems in working order. When we say that you need to feed your brain regularly, it does not mean that all foods are beneficial for your brain. Some foods even have a harsh impact on your brain and can weaken the memory recall capacity, and can also lead to diseases such as dementia.
But you can be smart enough by taking the right step today. You can cut out certain foods from your diet and replace them with brain-health-inducing foods for their effective functioning. Yes, there are also a dozen of habits and lifestyle changes that can hamper your brain, but we will deal with those later.
In this article, we will describe all the foods that are bad for your brain health, and you should avoid them completely. In the beginning, reduce the intake of these foods. Some foods should be wholly curbed from your diet regime. You will thank us later. So, let us get started!
No. #1: Sugary drinks, including Diet Sodas
Sugary drinks are not only connected to an expanded waistline, but these also increase the risks of Alzheimer’s disease. Even people who do not have diabetes are subject to a risk of dementia because of high-sugary beverages.
Let us go into the details. Sugary drinks are made out of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which can lead to hypertension, diabetes, arterial dysfunction, leading to risks of dementia.
Rat studies have shown that a diet loaded with sugars can lead to memory impairment and brain inflammation. While human studies are needed, it is advisable to understand the linkage between fructose in sugary drinks and your brain health.
Suggestions: Well, we would suggest you to stop buying these sugary drinks and switch to water infused with fresh fruits. You can also drink unsweetened iced tea, buttermilk, unsweetened yoghurt for satisfying your sweet tooth. Also, read the label before you purchase a drink that claims of low sugar or no sugar. There might be hidden sugars in the same.
No. #2: Refined Carbohydrates
These include foods made out of white flour, and also refined sugar. We have already discussed some of the adverse effects of sugary drinks at the above point. Since these foods have a high glycemic index, it can damage the brain functioning, as per the scientific research studies were done on children and adults.
In a university study, it was observed that healthy students consuming a diet of refined sugar and fats had weak memory as compared to the others.
Suggestion: We would suggest you reduce the intake of white flour and other processed foods. Cakes, pastries, biscuits, cookies, white bread, bakery products need to be cut down significantly. You can substitute them with whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, salads and whole grains like quinoa and brown rice.
No. #3: Foods containing large quantities of Trans Fat
Trans fat is unsaturated fats that can have an adverse effect on your brain health. The primary examples of these foods are meat and dairy products, however, Trans fat is also produced in industries and added to food products such as margarine, snacks, instant packets, cookies, cakes, and so on.
The proofs of trans fat are mixed, but a research study shows that people consuming more trans-fat foods are subject to poor memory, ineffective cognitive functioning and risks of Alzheimer’s disease.
Suggestion: We will recommend you to cut down trans-fat foods from your routine entirely. You can check the labels of the foods products before making a purchase. Substitute your trans fat with healthy fats such as Omega-3 fats. These can be found in fish, chia seeds and walnuts.
No. #4: Processed Food Items
We can see these anywhere and everywhere. It is likely that you hit a grocery store or a food store, and you will come across the attractive packets of processed foods. But please keep in mind that they might be enticing, but have a damaging effect on your brain and physical health. You could be a huge fan of chips or candies, or you love to munch on the microwave popcorn while watching Netflix. You are risking your health, beware!
In a study constituting 18.080 subjects who consumed a diet full of fatty foods and processed meats, the researchers observed that the subjects have weak memory and learning abilities.
Suggestion: Do your grocery shopping mindfully. Also, when you eat out, be mindful of what you are ordering. Avoid social gatherings so that you do not consume processed foods like French fries and colas. Instead, load your pantry with whole foods like vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish and lean meat.
No. #5: Alcohol
Alcohol is certainly an enjoyable beverage, but its excessive consumption can damage your brain growth and work. Alcoholics and non-alcoholics both can experience adverse effects of over-consumption of alcohol.
Excessive alcohol consumption can damage the brain communication process, reduce brain volume and interfere with the working of your neurotransmitters.
Suggestion: Avoid binge drinking. Avoid social events where you are convinced to drink alcohol. It is fine to have a drink sometimes, but do make it a habit. Pregnant women should avoid alcohol completely.
No. #6: Canned Fish
Though fish is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients, it is essential to note that canned fish is not a recommended dietary food.
Canned fish such as canned tuna contains high amounts of mercury which can damage a person’s brain.
Suggestion: It is recommended to have two or three servings of fresh fish a week. Avoid eating canned fish foods or frozen foods that contain loads of preservatives. It also depends on the country you are living in, and the current season.
No. #7: Foods containing huge amounts of Salt
Excess salt consumption not only tampers with your blood pressure levels but also affects cognitive functioning of your brain negatively.
Salty foods can demand more cravings for salt and hence, you should minimize its intake.
Suggestion: Remember the cliché, ‘Take it with a pinch of salt’ or no salt at all’. Avoid foods sprinkled with salts. Examples are chips and French fries. Substitute common salt with rock salt.
No. #8: Artificial Sweeteners
When we mentioned sugary drinks and sugary foods in the above points, what did you realize? Perhaps, you thought ‘I will use artificial sweeteners. Easy!’ Well, we would like to state artificial sweeteners consumed over a long period of time can cause brain and cognitive damage.
Suggestion: Eat fruits, dates and figs if you have sugar cravings. Also, check the labels of food products that mention artificial sweeteners on the same.
No. #9: Nicotine/ Smoking
Nicotine is often released while smoking and is a secret killer of your health. Though smoking sounds cool, it is creating havoc in your health life.
Nicotine obstructs the blood circulation process, and transmission of glucose, oxygen and other nutrients to the body parts. It malfunctions the functioning of the neurotransmitters and tampers your brain health.
Suggestion: If you smoke because of stress, then we recommend you to try healthy stress-management techniques such as yoga and meditation. You can socialize with people who do not smoke.
No. #10: Soy Sauce
As we said that salty foods are not good for brain health, so is soy sauce because it contains huge quantities of salt in it.
According to a journal study, soy sauce hinders the blood flow to your brain and affects your focus and memory unfavorably. Though a teaspoon of soy sauce might feel negligible amount, the loss done in the long-term cannot be measured. Hence, prevent your soy sauce cravings instead!
Suggestion: If you cannot control the soy sauce cravings while eating spring rolls or sushi, then opt for a less-sodium version of soy sauce. You can also try some other kind of sauce but make sure you check the ingredients in it.
No. #11: White rice
White rice is a high-carb food item and can impact your brain negatively if eaten in excess.
In a journal study, it was found that foods with a high glycemic index, such as white rice can increase the risk of depression in women. It also concluded that women who eat non-juicy fruits, more fibre and vegetables do not notice symptoms of depression.
Suggestion: A simple tip is to switch from white rice to brown rice. You can also try other whole grains such as quinoa and millet.
So, these are the brain-damaging foods that you should avoid. If you are confused with what to eat, then check out our valuable Section of Foods for good brain power backed by science. We have recommended a lot of healthy foods that are great for your brain health. You can check that page, add them to your grocery cart and load them to your pantry.
Also, we suggest you be mindful of what you order or eat next time when you go out. Do not forget the foods that should not be ordered at all.
This is Maria co-founder of the NootropicsOfficial, Dietitian & Medical Writer and you all have rightly bumped onto my review site.
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