Foods that compromise cognition

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Some meals are bad for your brain, affecting your memory and mood and raising your risk of dementia.

According to estimates, dementia would impact more than 65 million individuals worldwide by 2030.

Fortunately, you may minimize your risk of the condition by eliminating certain foods from your diet.

This article will discuss some of the worst foods for your brain.

  1. Sugary Beverages
    Sports drinks, energy drinks, and fruit juice are examples of s drinks loaded with sugar.

Sugary drinks not only lead to an increase in waist size but can also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but they also have a bad effect on your brain (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).

Excessive consumption of sugary drinks raises the chance of acquiring type 2 diabetes, linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease (4Trusted Source).

Animal studies have indicated that a high fructose intake can cause insulin resistance in the brain and a decrease in brain function, memory, learning, and neuron development (6, 7Trusted Source).

One rat study discovered that a high-sugar diet increased brain inflammation and decreased memory. Furthermore, rats fed a diet containing 11% HFCS performed worse than those fed a diet containing 11% normal sugar (8Trusted Source).

Another study discovered that rats on a high-fructose diet gained more weight, had poorer blood sugar management and were more likely to develop metabolic problems and memory deficits (9Trusted Source).

While more research in humans is needed, the findings show that a high intake of fructose from sugary drinks may have extra harmful effects on the brain and the effects of sugar.

Water, vegetable juice, and unsweetened dairy products are all good alternatives to sugary drinks.

In conclusion, a high intake of sugary beverages may raise the risk of dementia. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is particularly dangerous, causing brain inflammation and affecting memory and learning. More research in humans is required.

  1. Refined Carbohydrates
    Sugars plus highly processed grains including white flour, are examples of refined carbohydrates These carbs also have a high glycemic index (GI). This implies that your body digests them fast and quickly, increasing blood sugar and insulin levels.

Furthermore, these foods frequently have a high glycemic load (GL). The GL indicates how much a food elevates blood sugar levels based on the serving size.

High-GI foods aand high-GL foods have been shown to decrease brain function.

According to studies, even a single meal with a high glycemic load might impair memory in both children and adults (10Trusted Source).

Another research of healthy university students discovered that individuals who consumed more fat and refined sugar had lower memory (10Trusted Source).

This can affecteffect on memory could be caused by inflammation of the hippocampus, a portion of the brain that regulates memory and reactivity to hunger and fullness cues (10Trusted Source).

Inflammation is a risk factor for degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia (11).

One study, for example, looked at elderly persons who consumed more than 58 percent of their daily calories as carbohydrates. According to the study, individuals had nearly double the chance of mild mental impairment and dementia (12Trusted Source).

Carbohydrates may have additional impacts on the brain. One study, for example, discovered that toddlers aged six to seven who consumed high-refined-carbohydrate diets also scored lower on nonverbal IQ (13Trusted Source).

However, this study was unable to determine whether the consumption of refined carbohydrates was the Source of these lower results or simply whether the two factors were connected.

Vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains are examples of low-GI carbohydrates. This database can be used to determine the GI and GL of common foods.

High consumption of refined carbohydrates with a high glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) may impair memory and intelligence and raise the risk of dementia. Sugars and highly processed grains, such as white flour, are examples of these.

  1. Trans Fat-Rich Foods
    Trans fats are a form of unsaturated fat that can be harmful to brain function.

While trans fats are naturally present in animal products such as meat and dairy, they are not a big health risk. The problem is industrially generated trans fats, commonly known as hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Sweetening, margarine, icing, snack foods, ready-made cakes, and prepackaged cookies include artificial trans fats.

According to studies, persons who consume more trans fats have a higher chance of Alzheimer’s disease, poorer memory, decreased brain capacity, and cognitive decline (14, 15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).

However, some studies have found no link between trans-fat consumption and brain health. Trans fats, on the other hand, should be avoided. They have a deleterious impact on various other health issues, including heart health and inflammation (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).

The research on saturated fat is conflicting. Three observational studies indicated a link between saturated fat consumption and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, while a fourth study found the reverse impact (14).

One reason for this could be that a minority of the test populations were genetically predisposed to the condition caused by the ApoE4 gene. However, additional research is needed on this subject (14).

In one study of 38 women, those who consumed more saturated fat than unsaturated fat fared worse on memory and recognition tests (15Trusted Source).

Thus, it is possible that the relative ratios of fat in the diet, rather than the type of fat itself, are crucial.

Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids, for example, have been shown to help protect against cognitive deterioration. Omega-3 fatty acids enhance the brain’s release of anti-inflammatory chemicals and may have a protective impact, particularly in older persons (22, 23Trusted Source).

Eating foods like fish, chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts can help you get more omega-3 fats in your diet.

SUMMARY Trans fats may be linked to poor memory and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s; however, the evidence is conflicting. Eliminating trans fats and increasing unsaturated fats in your diet may be a smart technique.

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