What you eat can play a big part in your risk of getting certain diseases, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. There are many healthy, brain-enhancing foods to consume to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. But what are some foods that you should definitely avoid? There are foods that may contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and those are the ones we want to stay away from. Here are some foods and drinks to avoid whenever possible:
- Diet sodas – a recent study found that those who drank one diet drink a day were nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed with dementia. Artificial sweeteners haven’t been studied enough to really know the long term effects yet.
- White foods – white flour, white bread, white rice, pasta, and white sugar. All of these white foods spike blood sugar, which leads to inflammation, which increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Processed foods and meat: American cheese, processed cheeses, sausages, processed meats, cold cut meats, and mozzarella sticks.
- Foods containing diacetyl or nitrates: beer, microwave popcorn, and margarine. Diacetyl is a chemical that may increase amyloid plaques in the brain. Research has linked a buildup of amyloid plaques to Alzheimer’s disease.
- MSG: MSG is an excitotoxin, meaning it causes brain cells to fire uncontrollably. This can worsen pre-existing cognitive disabilities, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
- Soy tofu: According to a study published in Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, high tofu consumption was linked to worsening memory, whereas high tempe consumption, a less processed soy product, was shown to improve memory.
So what can you eat?? Well, here are some healthy alternatives which may actually reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s or dementia:
- Leafy green vegetables: kale, lettuce, spinach
- Salmon and other wild-caught fish (and fish oils)
- Olive oil
- Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil
So when reaching for a snack, make sure you are making a brain-healthy choice.