Bad foods for your brain
Following a healthy diet is essential to maintaining optimal brain health. Avocados and fatty fish; bone broth, berries and broccoli – they’re all brain-boosting superstars. But there are plenty of foods that have the opposite effect and can sap your smarts, affecting your memory and mood. Therefore, it’s important to cut or reduce the following food from your diet to mitigate their effects.
Fried chicken and French fries won’t just widen your waistline, they are also bad for your brain. In a study published in 2016 in the Journal of Nutritional Science, people who ate diets high in fried foods scored poorly on cognitive tests that evaluated learning, memory and brain function. Conversely, those who ate more plant-based foods scored higher.
“Scientists think it may have something to do with inflammation and reduction in brain tissue size,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, co-author of Skinny Liver. “When you look at aspects of one of the great brain studies – the MIND diet – it clearly shows which foods may cause or reduce inflammation in the brain. Fried foods are on the NO list, while berries, olive oil, whole grains and food containing omega 3 are on the YES list.”
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You probably know to stay away from soft drinks. But you should also beware of fruit juice, energy drinks and sweet tea. Why, you ask? The same reason soft drink is among the bad foods for your brain: sugar.
“High amounts of sugar causes neurological damage” because it triggers inflammation, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Wesley Delbridge. A study published in 2017 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia backs that up. Researchers found that people who regularly consume sugary drinks are more likely to have poorer memory, smaller overall brain volume, and a significantly smaller hippocampus – the part of the brain important for learning and memory – than those who don’t.
Instead of drinking fruit juice or sweet tea high in sugar, try sweetening water or tea with slices of oranges, lemons, or limes.